MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: How does our body use phophorous?

Area: Medicine
Posted By: kathi clement, faculty md, family practice, Univ. of Wyoming
Date: Thu Oct 16 11:54:05 1997
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 876534946.Me
Phosphorus is found in all cells, vital to human life, and is the sixth
most abundant element in the body.  The primary tissue storage sites are
bone (85%) and skeletal muscle (14%).  Our body needs phosphate for DNA and
RNA which are polymers based on phosphate esters, also the high-energy
phosphate bond of ATP is the major energy currency of living organisms.  So
it is VITAL.
     Dietary needs, RDAs are similar to calcium RDAs  with birth to
6mo.300mg, infants 6mo. to 12mo.500mg, children 1-10yr 800mg, 11-24yr
1200mg..  The average daily intake for males is about 48mmol (1500mg) and
32mmol(1000mg) for females.  High protein foods such as meats, milk, eggs,
and cereal provide also high amounts of phosphorus.
     Deficiency in humans is rare due to availability in food.  Symptoms 
include loss of appetite, development of stiff joints, fragile bones and a
marked increase in susceptibility to infections.Too much phosphorus is even
rarer than deficiency with symptoms of hypocalcemia and muscle twitches.
     If you'd like more information on phosphorus, nutrition textbooks give
a good overview of body needs and phosphorus.  Thanks for your interesting
questions!  Kathi Clement MD

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