Category: Natural chemicals
Introduction and description
Phosphorus is a nonmetallic chemical element with symbol P. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms—white phosphorus and red phosphorus—but due to its high reactivity, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth.
Organic compounds of phosphorus form a wide class of materials, and some are extremely toxic. Fluorophosphate esters are among the most potent neurotoxins known. A wide range of organophosphorus compounds are used for their toxicity to certain organisms as pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.) and weaponised as nerve agents. Chronic white phosphorus poisoning leads to necrosis of the jaw called "phossy jaw". Ingestion of white phosphorus may cause a medical condition known as "Smoking Stool Syndrome" [sic].
Commercially, the vast majority of phosphorus compounds are found in fertilisers, detergents, pesticides, nerve agents, and matches!
Most inorganic phosphates are relatively nontoxic and essential nutrients.
Phosphorus is essential for life. As phosphate, it is a component of DNA, RNA, and also the phospholipids that form all cell membranes. Calcium phosphate salts assist in stiffening bones. The main component of bone is hydroxyapatite as well as amorphous forms of calcium phosphate. Hydroxyapatite is the main component of tooth enamel.
Living cells also use phosphate to transport cellular energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Nearly every cellular process that uses energy obtains it in the form of ATP. ATP is also important for phosphorylation, a key regulatory event in cells.
An average adult human contains about 0.7 kg of phosphorus, about 85–90% of which is present in bones and teeth in the form of apatite, and the remainder in soft tissues and extracellular fluids (~1%). The phosphorus content increases from about 0.5 weight% in infancy to 0.65–1.1 weight% in adults. Average phosphorus concentration in the blood is about 0.4 g/L, about 70% of that is organic and 30% inorganic phosphates. Only about 0.1% of body phosphate circulates in the blood, and this amount reflects the amount of phosphate available to soft tissue cells.
Illnesses and diseases of Phosphorus
It is possible to suffer from Phosphorus deficiency and Phosphorus overload, the illnesses and diseases caused are described in the overload section under the heading Phosphorus imbalance.
A complete list of the foods that contain phosporus can be found in the USDA nutrients list, however, a brief list of the main food sources for phosphorus are as follows:
- Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, mustard, sesame, lotus etc
- Nuts – almonds, peanuts, butternuts, hazelnuts
- Fish – salmon, fish roe, trout, flounder, sole, swordfish, mackerel, bluefish, tuna, pike, cod, herring, lobster, haddock, mussels, oysters, octopus, crab, perch
- Egg yolk
- Herbs – tarragon, marjoram, thyme
- Red meat – Beef, Pork, Lamb, veal
- Egg – whole
- Portabella mushrooms
- Dried fruit – currants etc
- Bay leaf
How it works
Overdose and deficiency create illnesses which are covered in their own sections. Healing effects are described here.
- Adzuki beans Nutrient content from USDA 006997
- Broad bean Nutrients from USDA 006996
- Broccoli Nutrients from USDA database 007164
- Brussel sprouts Nutrients 007162
- Cabbage nutrients from USDA database 007160
- Cauliflower Nutrients from USDA database 007161
- Cheese and tooth decay 007250
- Chickpea Nutrient content from USDA 006992
- Dairy products and osteoporosis 005634
- Dairy products vitamins and mineral 005906
- Dr Duke's list of chemicals and activity for the Shallot 017969
- Dr Duke's List of Chemicals and their Biological Activities in: Cola acuminata (P. BEAUV.) SCHOTT & ENDL. (Sterculiaceae) -- Abata Cola 027647
- Dr Duke's list of Chemicals and their Biological Activities in: Morus alba L. (Moraceae) -- Sang-Pai-Pi, White Mulberry 027433
- Dr Duke’s list of Chemicals and their Biological Activities in: Cucurbita pepo L. (Cucurbitaceae) -- Zucchini 027494
- Goodheart, George - On the Acid-Alkaline balance 011173
- Kale Nutrient value from USDA 007035
- Kohlrabi Nutrients from USDA database 007163
- Lentils Nutrient content from USDA 006995
- Lion cubs, rickets and cod liver oil 012186
- Peas Nutrients according to USDA 006994
- Sheffield's answer to the wart problem 006962
- USDA Nutrients - Fish, anchovy, european, raw 012452
- USDA Nutrients - Fish, Cod 012455
- USDA Nutrients - Fish, Herring 012459
- USDA Nutrients - Fish, Mackerel 012472
- USDA Nutrients - Fish, Oysters 012458
- USDA Nutrients - Fish, Salmon 012487
- USDA Nutrients - Fish, Sardines 012453
- USDA Nutrients - Fish, Scallops 012457
- Using phosphate to tackle P. aeruginosa 020260
- White beans Nutrients from USDA 006998