Calcium-Phosphorous Balance Affects Bone Health
and phosphorus are "co-dependent" nutrients affecting the health
of bones and soft tissues.
recently completed a detailed study on the co-dependence of calcium
and phosphorus on growth and bone development, which they presented
at the National Osteoporosis Foundation Fifth International Symposium
held March 9. Presenters included Dr. Robert Heaney of Creighton
University, a principal scientist at Creighton's Osteoporosis Research
Center; Dr. Ralph Shapiro of Product Safety Laboratories in Dayton
NH; and Dr. John Anderson of the University of North Carolina in
Chapel Hill NC.
research could affect the formulation of many multi-vitamin and
calcium supplement products, which sometimes use calcium phosphates
as an excipient. (An excipient is used to shape medication into
disease can develop when calcium and phosphorus are not balanced
and within good levels. When phosphorus is too high, the body takes
calcium out of the bones to bind with the phosphorus and remove
it from the blood. Bones become brittle as a result.
Heaney recommends that patients use a source with both calcium and
phosphorus, "such as dairy products and/or a calcium phosphate supplement."
balance of calcium and phosphorus can especially impact women over
60 whose diets often contain less than the recommended dietary allowance
of 700 mg of phosphorus. Dr. Heaney states, "For these women, the
usual calcium supplement, calcium carbonate, may block most of the
absorption of phosphorus. If this happens, the calcium won't do
much good because bone mineral consists of both calcium and phosphorus."
makes up more than half the mass of bone mineral. Thus, the diet
needs to have sufficient phosphorus in order to have healthy bones.
Inadequate levels of phosphorus in the diet may be more widespread
than previously thought.
levels of phosphorus in the diet can also cause problems, especially
if the kidneys are not removing excess phosphorus from the bloodstream.
High phosphorus food sources include milk and milk products (such
as yogurt, cheese and ice cream), asparagus, biscuits, bran, cola
drinks, corn, dried beans, oatmeal, nuts, sardines, spinach, and
Shapiro says, "Both calcium and phosphorus are needed to support
an increase in bone mass. If the diet is low in phosphorus, calcium
supplementation alone will be inadequate, and may aggravate a phosphorus
deficiency. A phosphorus-containing calcium source would seem to
be preferable to one providing calcium alone."
to Dr. Anderson, "Individuals with low phosphorus intakes are at
increased risk of low bone mass and fractures."