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The Danger of Excess Phosphorus

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/18/2024

Phosphorus is one of the least discussed minerals the human body uses, so most people have a very limited understanding.

Learn about phosphorus, what it does in the body, and why you want to make sure you do not overconsume this mineral.

The Role of Phosphorus in the Body

Phosphorus, often overshadowed by calcium and iron, is a powerhouse mineral. It plays an essential role in various bodily functions.

Energy Production and Phosphorus

If you often feel drained and without energy, you might need more phosphorus. This mighty mineral takes part in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) creation, which provides your cells with fuel to function optimally.

Nutrients supporting bone health

Phosphorus and Bone Health

About 85% of the body’s phosphorus resides in our bones alongside calcium. Calcium and phosphorus work together to form solid skeletal structures.

So taking calcium isn't enough to ensure strong bones, it is also necessary to have some phosphorus.

The Ubiquity of Phosphorus in Our Diet

Phosphorus is a nutrient that's almost everywhere in our food supply. This omnipresence makes it challenging to be deficient. Let's break down some familiar sources.

Familiar Sources of Dietary Phosphorus

You'll find phosphorus across various foods, both natural and processed. From protein-rich staples like meat and dairy to grains and veggies, it seems there's no escaping this essential mineral.

Foods rich in proteins are typically high in phosphorus, too. Milk, cheese, nuts, and beans contain high levels of phosphorus.

Dark-Colored Soda and Its High Phosphorus Content

Soda, particularly the dark-colored variety, is more than a sweet treat. These popular beverages can pack up to 500 milligrams of phosphorus per serving, which is worrying considering the health risks associated with excess intake.

The Hidden Dangers of Soda Consumption

Soda contributes significantly to our daily phosphate levels. The danger lies not only in how much we consume but also in how regularly this consumption occurs.

A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that regular consumers are at risk for several adverse health effects due to excessive dietary phosphorus intake from sodas and other processed foods - heart problems being one prominent concern.

The Hidden Presence of Phosphorus in Processed Foods

Phosphorus is also commonly found in processed foods, meaning moderation is also key in this area.

Decoding Food Labels for Phosphorus Content

To manage our intake better, we need to get good at identifying phosphorus additives on food labels. You might see them as "phos" or "sodium phosphate."

These ingredients should be avoided because excess phosphorus can have significant consequences.

The Health Risks of Excess Phosphorus

When we think about dietary balance, phosphorus isn't usually the first nutrient that springs to mind. But let's not be fooled by its low-key profile.

Kidney hologram illustration

Phosphorus and Kidney Health

Phosphorus targets your kidneys when consumed in excess. This leads to strain and potential damage, especially in individuals grappling with kidney issues.

The Impact of Excess Phosphorus on Heart Health

An overload of phosphorus also harms heart health. Two possible results of excess phosphorus in this area include ventricle enlargement and arterial calcium deposits.

Both of these conditions can be deadly if left unaddressed.

Phosphorus and Osteoporosis

Phosphorus, an essential mineral in the body, is closely related to calcium and bone health.

While it's crucial for various bodily functions, an excessive intake of phosphorus, often found in processed foods and carbonated beverages, can disrupt the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body.

This imbalance may contribute to decreased calcium absorption and potential harm to bone health. It's beneficial to consider interventions for osteoporosis, like vitamin K2 supplementation.

Vitamin K2 is pivotal in directing calcium to the bones and teeth, preventing accumulation in the arteries or soft tissues. By including vitamin K2 in their nutritional regimen, individuals can help maintain optimal bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially when phosphorus intake is a concern.

Consulting with a healthcare provider for personalized guidance on vitamin K2 supplementation is advisable for those seeking to protect their bone density effectively.


While phosphorus may not always be in the spotlight when it comes to discussions about nutrition, its importance in the body cannot be overstated. From energy production to bone health, phosphorus plays a crucial role in numerous physiological processes.

However, it's essential to be mindful of our phosphorus intake, as excessive consumption can lead to various health risks, including kidney damage, heart problems, and disruptions in bone health.

With phosphorus found abundantly in many foods, particularly processed and carbonated beverages, it's crucial to practice moderation and be mindful of food labels to avoid unnecessary health complications.

Additionally, for individuals concerned about maintaining optimal bone health, incorporating interventions like vitamin K2 supplementation can help counteract the potential negative effects of excessive phosphorus intake. Ultimately, understanding the role of phosphorus in the body and making informed dietary choices is key to supporting overall health and well-being.

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