Suppression

Phosphorus

Category: Natural chemicals

Type

Voluntary

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.

Food sources

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:

plus others

How it works

see observations.

Overdose and deficiency create illnesses which are covered in their own sections.  Healing effects are described here.

Related observations