Did you know that phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the human body?
Don’t worry if you didn’t, it’s not something we hear too much about it. That’s because it’s easy to obtain from a varied diet, and is never found hanging out in the body on its own.
In fact, straight ‘phosphorus’ is extremely unstable, so it’s always paired with other elements such as calcium, potassium or sodium.
But here’s something to remember: Phosphorus is absolutely essential for your existence!
Think of it as a building block.
Phosphorus works with calcium to build healthy bones and teeth. It also makes up cell membranes (as ‘phospholipids’) and forms the backbone of DNA.
And as if that wasn’t enough, phosphorus powers cells (as ATP: adenosine tri-phosphate), helps them talk to each other and allows your nervous system to send and receive electrical impulses.
See what I mean? It really is essential.
Phosphorus is found in all foods, but most abundantly in protein-rich meats, eggs and dairy.
Fun fact: The name ‘phosphorus’ comes from the Greek words ‘light’ and ‘carry’, loosely translating as ‘light-bringer’. Why? When solid or liquid phosphorus reacts with oxygen, light is emitted for a short time. You might have witnessed this in action - as phosphorescence - tiny, glowing creatures in the sea - or in flares and matches.
So where does potassium phosphate belong in all this?
It’s not too much of a stretch: Potassium phosphate is the combination of potassium and phosphorus.
To help you get the full range of benefits of phosphorus, we include it in Athletic Greens as potassium phosphate, a phosphorus-containing supplement.
What About The Potassium Part?
That’s a good question!
Potassium is another essential mineral which works hard in the body. Potassium is needed for proper fluid balance, to transmit nerve impulses, to contract muscles and even to digest food!
Here’s an amazing thing: potassium is also an unstable element in its pure state. In fact it’s highly reactive! If it comes near water, it catches fire in dramatic purple flames.
So two wrongs make a right, right?
Ingested in the right amounts, both potassium and phosphate keep your nerves and muscles functioning well. And both of them will help you build and keep healthy bones.
Potassium phosphate is as safe as you like. There’ll be no inter-body explosions happening, don’t worry.
Potassium Phosphate: Benefits And Features
It’s not easy to summarise phosphorus’s therapeutic benefits, because it’s implicated in nearly every bodily process - from the DNA, up.
As well as that - as you now know - phosphorus is never supplemented on its own. It needs to be taken in a balance with other minerals; especially calcium.
Specific clinical applications of phosphorus-containing supplements include:
✔ For treating hypophosphatemia (low levels of phosphorus in the body)
✔ For treating hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels)
✔ For dissolving calcium-based kidney stones
Potassium phosphate benefits are spearheaded by treating and preventing kidney stones. Potassium phosphate has the ability to increase the acidity of urine, lowering pH and helping to dissolve calcium kidney stones. Extra acidity may also prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria, too.
Besides these medical uses, supplemental phosphorus is associated with:
→ Healthy bones and teeth
Your bones need more than just calcium; they require complementary minerals, too. Phosphorus works closely with calcium to build strong bones and teeth.
→ Improved cognitive function
Lower levels of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorus are strongly associated with cognitive decline in the elderly.
→ Maintenance of the body’s acid/alkaline balance
Phosphorus acts as a ‘buffer’, helping maintain an incredibly narrow pH range in the blood and the correct pH levels in the rest of the body (which changes, depending on location).
→ Healthy metabolism
Phosphorus is important for activating B group vitamins such as riboflavin and niacin, which in turn metabolise fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
→ Kidney health
Not too much, not too little! The kidneys require precise levels of electrolytes such as phosphorus, potassium and magnesium to balance uric acid, sodium, fluids and fats.
→ For energy and oxygenation
One type of phosphorus molecule binds to haemoglobin (the iron-transporting protein) and helps it do its job, delivering iron to cells and tissues.
→ Reducing colon cancer risk
Some research shows that optimal phosphorus levels are associated with a reduced risk of cancer; specifically, colon.
The consequences of not enough phosphorus
We’ve talked a lot about how important phosphorus is in the body. So what happens if you don’t get enough?
Phosphorus is the second most important element when it comes to maintaining bone health (behind calcium).
So it makes sense that insufficient phosphorus can lead to bone-related issues, such as weakness, tooth decay, and rickets. There’s also a chance that people may experience a loss of appetite and energy.
So needless to say, getting enough phosphorus is a no brainer!
How To Receive The Full Range Of Potassium Phosphate Benefits
For adults, a dosage of 700 mg of phosphorus can be taken daily, with slightly higher intakes for young pregnant women.
Excess phosphate intake can result in hyperphosphatemia (problematically high blood phosphate levels). This is linked to cardiovascular disease in individuals with impaired kidney function.
Caution is also advised for people taking antacids, diuretics or heart medications.
Summing up the full range of potassium phosphate benefits
Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of phosphorus, it’s theoretically required for everything from growth, development, muscle contraction, the use of other vitamins and minerals, nerve function, healing and repair to digestion - the works!
As phosphorus is readily obtained from food, studies are so far limited to prove specific benefits for humans. However, some research supports phosphorus supplementation - alongside other minerals - for bone health, cognitive function and cancer prevention.