Phosphorus is an essential mineral. Good food sources of phosphorus include: soda beverages, milk, cheese, beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, lentils, almonds, and peanuts.1 The 100% Daily Value of Phosphorus (based on a 2000 kcal diet) is 1,000 mg,but it has been revised to 1,250 mg as of May 27, 2016.11The 100% Daily Value for pregnant or lactating women is also 1,250 mg, effective as of July 26, 2018.11


Major Health Benefits

Phosphorous plays an important structural role for cell membranes as a component of phospholipids (e.g., phosphatidylcholine) and nucleic acids (e.g., genetic materials, such as DNA and RNA).3 Phosphorus also helps in the development and maintenance of normal bones and teeth.4 Phosphorus is involved in cell signaling, regulation of acid/base (pH) balance, and energy production (as a component of ATP – the body’s energy currency).3,4 Adequate consumption of phosphorus has been found to prevent rickets in children.5


The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for Phosphorus per day is 4 grams.6 Many individuals in the United States and other countries consume more than the 100% Daily Value because soda beverages contain high amounts of phosphorus.7 Excessive intake of phosphorus may lead to higher risk of bone fractures, impaired peak bone mass, and bone resorption (removing important minerals, such as calcium, from the bone to the blood) due to the imbalance of phosphorus level to the level of calcium and vitamin D.8


It is good to maintain a ratio between 1.5:1 and 2:1 of Calcium to Phosphorus because excessive intake of phosphorus can negatively impact bone mineralization and health by excreting more calcium through urine.8-10



  1. Higdon, J. Phosphorus. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed by Calvo, MS in 2014) (Food Sources). Accessed 7/2015.
  2. US Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients). US Department of Health and Human Services. 2013 January.
  3. Higdon, J. Phosphorus. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed by Calvo, MS in 2014) (Function)
  4. European Food Safety Authority. Scientific Opinion on Phosphorus Health Benefits. EFSA Journal 2009; 7(9): 1219.
  5. Higdon, J. Phosphorus. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed by Calvo, MS in 2014) (Deficiency)
  6. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, Elements. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies. (PDF available)6.
  7. Kemi VE, Kärkkäinen MU, Rita HJ, Laaksonen MM, Outila TA, Lamberg-Allardt CJ. Low calcium:phosphorus ratio in habitual diets affects serum parathyroid hormone concentration and calcium metabolism in healthy women with adequate calcium intake. Br J Nutr. 2010 Feb;103(4):561-8. PMID: 19781123.
  8. Calvo MS, Tucker KL. Is phosphorus intake that exceeds dietary requirements a risk factor in bone health? Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013 Oct;1301:29-35. PMID: 24472074.
  9. Takeda E, Yamamoto H, Yamanaka-Okumura H, Taketani Y. Increasing dietary phosphorus intake from food additives: potential for negative impact on bone health. Adv Nutr. 2014 Jan 1;5(1):92-7. PubMed PMID: 24425727; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3884105.
  10. National Research Council. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1989. (pp. 178, pp. 186)
  11. US Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels. US Department of Health and Human Services. Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 103, p. 33982 / May 27, 2016.