Phosphorus constitutes an important constituent in every body tissue next to calcium. In bones, the proportion of calcium to phosphorus is about 2:1, but in body fluids and soft tissues, the proportion of phosphorus is much higher than that of calcium.
Phosphorus is one mineral that perform a number of important functions.
1. It combines with calcium to form calcium phosphate, which gives rigidity to bones and teeth.
2. Like calcium, it is needed not only for growth, but also for maintaining the composition of body fluids, which are responsible for many life processes.
3. Phosphorus is a constituent of the nuclear protein- the substance that controls hereditary.
Phosphorus is widely distributed in both plant and animal foods. Diet rich in protein and calcium, provide sufficient phosphorus. Eggs, milk, meat, poultry, fish and whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, legumes and nuts are good sources as phosphorus.
It is recommended a daily allowance of 1 gm. of phosphorus in the diet.
Phosphorus deficiency is rarely encountered in Indian diets, as the diets consumed by the majority of population are predominantly based on cereals.