What is the role of phosphorus in the body?
Phosphorus plays an important role in maintaining the good health of kidneys, bones, blood vessels, muscles, and the cells in the body. Some of the health benefits of phosphorus include:
- Keeps the bones and teeth strong
- Production of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA, genetic material)
- Managing the body’s energy production and storage (energy packets in the cell called the adenosine triphosphate or ATP and adenosine diphosphate or ADP)
- Helps muscle contraction
- Reduces muscle pain after exercise
- Regulates heartbeat
- Maintains normal pH level in the blood
- Filters and eliminates waste from the kidneys
- Supports nerve conduction throughout the body
- Helps in the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues
What happens if phosphorus is low in the body?
Hypophosphatemia is low levels of phosphorus in the body. Certain health conditions (such as diabetes, alcoholism, eating disorder, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease) and certain medications decrease the absorption and cause lower levels of phosphorus in the body.
Medications that may lower phosphorus levels include antacids, anti-seizure drugs, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (blood pressure medication), corticosteroids, cyclosporine (used to suppress the immune system), diuretics, heparins (blood thinners), Insulin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen.
Signs and symptoms of low phosphorus levels include:
- Bone pain
- Fragile bones
- Stiff joints
- Weakness, numbness, tingling in limbs
- Breathing problems
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Anxiety, confusion, irritability
- Loss of appetite and weight change
- In children, reduced growth and poor bone and tooth development may occur.