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Phosphorus Requirements and Dietary Sources

Mineral Guide


Updated February 05, 2014

Meat, eggs, protein sources.

Foods high in protein contain the most phosphorus.

Morgan Lane Photography/iStockphoto

Phosphorus is a major mineral and most of it is stored in your bones. Lesser amounts are found in your teeth, DNA, and cell membranes throughout your body. Phosphorus is necessary for many biochemical reactions to take place, such as converting the foods you eat into energy. 

Phosphorus also helps with muscle contraction, nerve conduction and normal kidney function -- plus it helps build strong bones.

Daily Requirements

1 to 3 years 460 milligrams per day
4 to 8 years: 500 milligrams per day
9 to 18 years: 1,250 milligrams per day
19+ years: 700 milligrams per day

Phosphorus deficiency does not occur under normal circumstances. However, low levels can occur with the use of certain medications, calcium carbonate supplements, or some antacids.

Dietary sources include foods that are also high in protein such as meat, nuts, seeds, legumes and dairy products, and to a lesser extent, in fruits and vegetables. Whole grains also contain phosphorus, but, it's in a form that's difficult for the body to digest.


Nutrition Fact Sheet: Phosphorus. Northwestern University. July 13, 2009. http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/nutrition/factsheets/phosphorus.html.

Dietary Reference Intakes. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Accessed July 13, 2009. http://www.iom.edu/Object.File/Master/21/372/0.pdf.r Information Sheet. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed: July 13, 2009. http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/druginfo/mobic.htm


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