Are You Getting Your Recommended Amount of Phosphorus?

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Yes, the stuff that sets things on fire.

Phosphorus is another one of those mysterious minerals that sound like they don’t have any business in a human body. The first thing you probably think of when you think phosphorus is “fire,” since phosphorus is a common component in commercial-grade matches as well as military-grade incendiary devices. Even so, this spicy mineral is an absolutely vital component of your body chemistry, at least in the proper amounts.

Phosphorus, much like calcium, is found primarily in your bones. Phosphorus tag-teams with calcium to build up your bones nice and thick, preventing severe breakage and fractures. This also extends to your teeth, keeping them strong and durable and staving off cavities. Phosphorus is, in fact, the second most commonly-occurring mineral in the human body, with an average person’s phosphorus content making up about 1% of their total body weight.

However, that frequent occurrence isn’t an absolute good. If your body has an overabundance of phosphorus in its systems, it’ll siphon out the calcium from your bones, leaving them weak and brittle. Not only that, but the phosphorus and calcium can clump up where it isn’t supposed to, leading to calcium deposits in sensitive tissues like the lungs, eyes, and heart. Your kidneys work to filter the excess phosphorus out of your system, though an overindulgence in certain foods can cause more to slip through.

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Your phosphorus levels need to be kept in a very particular range to ensure your ideal health. If you’re low on phosphorus, you should eat protein-heavy foods like meat, fish, and dairy. If your phosphorus levels are too high, you need to abstain from those foods, and especially from heavily processed stuff like you’d get at a fast food joint. Fast food has higher phosphorus levels for preservation purposes.

If you’re not sure about your current phosphorus levels, visit your local medical lab for a blood test.