Phosphorus is the second most abundant element in the body. Mostly, phosphorus can be found in the skeleton however, small amounts are seen in the blood, body fluids, and soft tissue. Phosphorus is very important to human life. The skeleton, or bone structure, is built mostly on phosphorus, as it is important to skeletal tissue development and bone mineralization depends on it. Phosphorus makes the structure for nucleic acids and nucleotides as well. In the form of phospholipids, phosphorus creates the structure for cell membranes. Phosphorus is also involved in the intermediary metabolism of energy nutrients. Phosphorus can be seen throughout the body, aiding many important body functions, in many different forms. High concentrations of phosphorus can be found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and milk products. Phosphorus is absorbed into the body by the small intestine and then goes into the blood.
Phosphorus may inhibit the absorption of zinc, iron, and copper. Aluminum-containing antacids may cause a deficiency in phosphorus as the drugs decrease the absorption of phosphorus by the body.
The most common side effect associated with phosphorus is diarrhea. Although most people tolerate phosphorus very well, some gastrointestinal effects may occur such as nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. It is not recommended that people with liver disease take phosphorus. As with all drugs or supplements, consult a health care professional before use.
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