by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© January 2022, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
II. Sources of Phosphorus
III. Functions Of Phosphorus
IV. Phosphorus On A Hair Mineral Analysis
V. Synergists And Antagonists
VI. The Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio
Phosphorus is a fascinating mineral, and a very important one in development science. It is considered a macromineral because our bodies contain a lot of it. Other macrominerals are calcium, magnesium sodium, potassium and sulfur.
Phosphorus may be called the excitatory, fiery or high-energy mineral because it is required for the molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
A fiery mineral. Phosphorus is very fiery. It the only non-radioactive element that is not stable when in an atomic or singular form.
Some readers may recall a high school science experiment in which the teacher gently lifted a piece of pure phosphorus out of a jar filled with water. In a few seconds, it bursts into flame spontaneously. This is how unstable and fiery phosphorus is.
The most anabolic mineral. This means it is needed to synthesize or build up new body tissue.
Let us examine phosphorus in more detail.
II. SOURCES OF PHOSPHORUS
Animal proteins contain excellent quality phosphorus compounds. While plant bodies are made mainly from carbohydrates such as cellulose, animal bodies are built of proteins. Thus, animals and particularly human beings require enough and excellent sources of phosphorus.
The best sources include meats, eggs, milk and cheese. Of these sources, red meats are the highest in these phosphorus compounds.
Those who do not eat red meat suffer from a deficiency of these compounds as a result. Vegetarians, especially vegans, are in even worse nutritional condition in terms of obtaining enough high-quality phosphorus. This may be one reason they often do not live as long as meat-eaters.
Eat animal protein. Some people don’t want to bother eating much animal protein. It may be the cost, or that it requires cooking, or it smells bad, or it sits in the stomach when eaten in a bad food combination.
However, we find that for optimum health and to obtain enough phosphorus, one must eat 4-5 ounces of red meat two or three times weekly, and one must eat animal protein twice daily. Do not eat more than this, however, as one can overdo on it.
Just living on mainly starches and sugars such as breads, rice, pasta and fruit is a huge nutritional mistake, in our experience of over 36 years.
Inferior sources of phosphorus. The phosphorus found in foods such as nuts, seeds, and beans are not as good as the phosphorus found in animal proteins. This is a major reason why we do not recommend low protein diets or vegetarian diets.
Harmful phosphorus compounds. Not all phosphorus compounds are healthful. Here are two examples:
Phytates. Many raw grains are high in phytates. They bind to other minerals in the intestinal tract and interfere with their absorption. Cooking, fermenting, and special methods of food preparation, such as adding yeast to bread dough and adding lime to corn, were developed to reduce the high phytate content of grain foods.
This is an important reason NOT TO EAT RAW GRAINS, EVER. These include granola, most trail mix, and even just soaked grains, which are popular today. Cooking or fermenting the grains gets rid of the phytates. However, cooking is best, in our experience, because ferments have a number of problems that are explained in a separate article, Fermented Foods. Also read Raw Foods for more on why raw food diets do not work well today. An exception is raw dairy products, which are excellent but must be eaten in moderation (up to 4 ounces daily and no more) and are not required foods for development.
Phosphoric acid. Soda pop often contains phosphoric acid. This is used to cut the sweetness of the drink so they can put more sugar in it, and to add a tangy flavor. It is also a stimulant, along with the sugar and caffeine in many soft drinks. This is why these drinks are popular among exhausted people, but horrible for your health.
Phosphoric acid is also very acidic and can erode the teeth, damage the stomach and intestines, helps destroy the bones, and should always be avoided. Avoid all soda pop.
III. FUNCTIONS OF PHOSPHORUS
1. Bone health. About 85% of your body’s phosphorus is in the bone structure, where it interacts with calcium to form the hard part of the bones. This, of course, is a critical body function. The right kind of phosphorus is needed, and the wrong kinds found in raw grains and soda pop, mainly, will tend to destroy the bones faster or cause them to grow in a deformed way.
2. Energy production. This is an important role of phosphorus. Phosphorus is required for the production of ATP or adenosine triphosphate. This high-energy phosphorus compound is your body’s “refined fuel”, like the gasoline that runs the automobiles, which is a refined product made from oil or petroleum.
ATP is the end product of several of the body’s energy cycles including the carboxylic acid or Krebs cycle. This is energy production method number five among the body’s methods of producing energy. For a complete list of the body’s energy production methods, read The Energy Conversion Methods.
In order to release energy, ATP is changed to ADP or adenosine diphosphate, which releases energy. Then the ADP is recycled back into ATP and used in this way over and over. For details, check a biochemistry textbook or look up ATP on the internet.
3. Growth and development. Phosphorus is extremely important for growth of the body. For example, mother’s milk is rather low in phosphorus compared to cows milk. Cows, of course, grow much faster and larger than human beings. This is one of the problems with drinking cows milk. Milk from smaller animals such as goats and sheep tends to be more like human milk in their phosphorus content.
Most of the phosphorus from dairy products ends up in the bones to create a strong and healthy body. Pasteurizing the milk damages some of the calcium and phosphorus compounds it contains. This can cause severe digestive problems for many people, especially those of the Black and Asian races. They may not even tolerate raw cow’s milk very well due to its high lactose content.
Homogenizing the milk also may damage some phosphorus compounds and should never be done. Raw, unpasteurized, and unhomogenized milk is quite safe when produced in a healthy way.
4. The nervous system. The human nervous system is extremely dependent on phosphorus compounds, especially those found in meats and eggs. For example, phospholipids are needed to form the myelin sheath on the nerves. This is like the insulation on wires. If it is not strong, the brain literally short circuits, like two bare wires touching each other. This can cause seizures, multiple sclerosis and dozens of other problems.
Also, the brain uses so much energy (at least one-third of all your energy) that high-energy phosphorus compounds are critical for thinking and higher brain development of a human being. This is one of the reasons vegetarians are prone to fatigue, anxiety and depression much more than meat eaters. Meat is far higher in bioavailable phosphorus compounds than vegetarian proteins like nuts, seeds and beans.
5. Cell membranes. Phospholipids are also needed to maintain the integrity of our cell membranes. This may not seem important, but it is a critical body function. The cell membranes keep the right nutrients inside the cells and keep the bad ones out of the cells. Omega-3 fatty acids, along with others, are incorporated into phosphorus compounds to form cell membrane structures needed for the transfer of nutrients into the cells and to move waste products out of the cells.
6. All biosynthesis. Phosphorus is involved in DNA and RNA metabolism. RNA, in turn, is needed to make all body proteins, enzymes, hormones and trillions of other chemicals in our bodies. We must have enough phosphorus or the process stalls and health declines. Too much lead, mercury or aluminum in the body definitely interferes with the process of protein biosynthesis. This may show up on a hair mineral analysis as a phosphorus level less than about 13 mg%.
7. Buffering the pH of the blood. Phosphorus compounds perform many interesting functions, among which is buffering acids in the body to maintain a steady pH or acid-base balance. While phosphorus is considered an acid-forming mineral, this is only partially true. Phosphorus in certain forms has a neutralizing effect upon lactic acid and other acids that can build up in the body. So phosphorus can be both acid-forming and alkaline-forming in our bodies depending on what it is used for.
8. Maintaining the osmotic balance of the body fluids. This is another very interesting use of phosphorus in our bodies. All the fluids in our bodies such as the lymph, blood and the fluid inside of all of our cells must be maintained in a balance. Otherwise pressures would build up and damage our cell walls, our blood vessels and other pipes or conduits through which the fluids flow. Some phosphorus compounds help to keep all the fluids in balance by conducting small amounts of it back and forth between various body compartments like the cells, the blood stream and the lymph fluid.
9. Ether attraction. An unusual aspect of phosphorus may be an ability to attract ether – the subtle energy that fills the universe.
IV. PHOSPHORUS ON A HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS
The hair phosphorus level is a critical indicator on a properly performed hair mineral test. Dr. Paul Eck found that the hair phosphorus level mainly has to do with biosynthesis.
Without sufficient protein synthesis, healing is definitely impaired. Thus, correcting the phosphorus level on a hair analysis is of primary importance.
The ideal hair phosphorus level. This is about 16 mg% or about 160 parts per million. The hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate hair readings.
False phosphorus readings with pubic hair. Pubic hair samples often produce very high phosphorus readings – up to 50 mg%! Pubic hair seems to pick up phosphorus to balance an elevated tissue calcium level.
This is just one reason why the use of pubic hair for hair mineral analysis is not as reliable as head or body hair.
Hair testing laboratories often allow practitioners to submit pubic hair samples, but we do not allow clients to do this unless there are no alternatives. (Fingernails or toenails are more reliable indicators of the soft tissue phosphorus level.) For more details, read Pubic Hair For Mineral Testing.
False phosphorus readings due to lead, mercury, aluminum or possibly other toxic metals in the body. The presence of excessive toxic metals can raise the hair phosphorus level, making it appear higher than it really is.
If this is the case, as a person remains with the development program, the hair phosphorus level will decrease at some point when the toxic metals are eliminated. Then the phosphorus level will rise again slowly as one keeps improving one’s health with the development program.
WHAT DOES THE HAIR PHOSPHORUS LEVEL INDICATE?
A speed indicator. Phosphorus on a hair mineral test indicates the rate of protein synthesis. This is an important sign.
A catabolic indicator. When the hair phosphorus level is less than 14 mg%, a person is not synthesizing protein fast enough. This reflects a more catabolic state. This means one is tearing the body down faster than it is being built up. This is a simple, useful indicator for assessing a person’s health status and perhaps understanding why a person is not improving very fast.
An important vitality indicator. We also use phosphorus as a general vitality indicator, although Dr. Eck did not mention this too often. The ideal is about 16 mg%. When the level is lower than about 14 mg%, it indicates impaired vitality.
When the hair phosphorus is less than 12 mg%, vitality is usually even lower. A level less than 10 mg% is even more extreme. We see the low levels in those people who:
- do not eat enough animal protein
- have impaired digestion
- yeast infections
- extreme stress
- inhalers that contain antimony (Flovent).
A yang indicator. Phosphorus is a fairly yang mineral. When it is low, it often indicates a more yin condition of the body.
An important “male” mineral. Another way to analyze phosphorus metabolism is by understanding that phosphorus is a “male” mineral because of its fiery nature. Trauma or anything that makes the body yin, including too many “female” toxic metals such as mercury and copper, can interfere with its functioning.
Lifestyle and phosphorus. Those with low hair phosphorus can be high strung. It is helpful for them to relax to help normalize their hair phosphorus level.
Impaired digestion and low phosphorus. Low hair phosphorus may indicate impaired digestion of protein if a person is eating sufficient high-quality protein.
Many people do not digest protein very well. The reasons can be deficient digestive enzymes, poor food combinations, improper eating habits such as eating on the run, yeast infections, or other intestinal infections or improper gut flora.
To compensate for this, we recommend that everyone take a powerful digestive aid that contains ox bile and pancreatin. We use one called GB-3 from Endomet Labs.
Zinc deficiency or copper toxicity and low phosphorus. Often, a low phosphorus on a hair test indicates a low zinc level and/or hidden or overt copper toxicity. This may be due to copper’s antagonistic effects on other critical nutrients such as zinc, vitamin C, manganese and others.
Too much biounavailable copper in the body is associated with yeast overgrowth in the intestines, low digestive enzyme production due to low zinc, improper gut flora and intestinal infections.
A protein deficiency indicator. A low phosphorus reading, either on a first test or on a retest, can indicate low protein in the diet.
A development indicator. A hair phosphorus level above 16 mg% when one is following the development program usually indicates a mild form of protein breakdown or catabolism that is associated with reaching the second or later stage of development. This is wonderful and indicates progress on a development program.
The elevated phosphorus may result from the lysis or breakdown of some glial cells in the brain, and perhaps other changes associated with early development.
This is exciting because the end result is an increase in neurons that replace the glial cells. This causes greater thinking capacity and thus better mental functioning. This is an important step in the process of development. For more details, read Introduction To Development. Thus, a slightly elevated phosphorus when one is following the development program is a very positive indicator on a properly performed hair mineral analysis.
Contamnation. A few hair products can also cause an elevated hair phosphorus. These are products that make the hair shiny.
An indicator for other toxic metals. A low hair phosphorus may be an indicator for the presence of aluminum, mercury, and perhaps nickel or lead, as well.
TMG may help raise a low hair phosphorus reading. TMG enhances methylation, and this can enhance protein biosynthesis, in some cases.
VERY HIGH PHOSPHORUS READINGS (P > 25 MG%)
At times, one will see a hair phosphorus level of 26 mg% or higher. In this case, first make sure the person did not submit a pubic hair sample. Also, rule out certain hair products that contain phosphorus. This will almost always explain the very high reading. It is not a development pattern.
SUBSTANCES THAT MAY IMPEDE NORMALIZATION OF THE HAIR PHOSPHORUS READING
Propranolol. This drug is used to lower blood pressure, reduce thyroid activity and to calm the heart. It may interfere with the fiery quality of phosphorus.
Antimony. This is found in the inhaler, Flovent. It poisons protein synthesis and is associated with a low phosphorus level. Avoid this inhaler.
SUMMARY OF CAUSES FOR A LOW HAIR PHOSPHORUS (IMPAIRED PROTEIN SYNTHESIS) INCLUDE:
1. Not enough dietary protein, or perhaps not enough high quality protein such a meat and eggs. For example, living on soy products such as tofu, nuts, seeds or beans can cause this reading as these are all lower quality proteins. Other examples are vegan diets, and vegetarian diets.
2. Incorrect eating habits. These include eating in the car, eating too fast, eating in noisy restaurants, eating when not at peace. Others are eating standing up, eating when upset, not chewing your food thoroughly or eating at your desk while you are working.
3. Possibly eating a less well utilized, incomplete, poorly absorbed, overcooked or spoiled protein food. For example, overcooked meat and all hard-cooked and hard-boiled eggs are harder to digest.
Protein powders, no matter how nutritious, should ideally be eaten alone. When they are mixed with fruit, vegetables, water, juice and some vitamins in a blender they are often very bad food combinations that are poorly utilized by the body.
4. Problems in the digestive tract or liver that interfere with the absorption or utilization of amino acids. A common one is a chronic candida albicans infection, for example. Others might be leaky gut syndrome, an inflamed intestinal tract or an irritated bowel due to a parasitic or other infection. These problems are extremely common and plague most people to some degree.
5. Deficiencies of some nutrient or an excess of toxins in the mitochondria that impair energy production and biosynthesis. Many people suffer from what is today called mitochondrial defects for these reasons. Many minerals in the correct forms including zinc, iron, copper, manganese and magnesium, among others, are needed in the correct proportions and the correct forms for biosynthesis and energy production.
6. The presence of toxic metals. Examples are too much copper, mercury, or aluminum. The presence of the amigos or irritant forms of minerals may inflict oxidant and other types of damage on proteins in the body.
7. A hidden zinc deficiency. A low hair phosphorus level frequently indicates a need for zinc, or the presence of excess copper in the body, regardless of the hair zinc or copper levels. This was one of Dr. Eck’s brilliant insights about the body and about hair mineral analysis.
Zinc is required for several important enzymes involved in biosynthesis such as RNA transferase. Without adequate available zinc, protein synthesis is severely impaired.
Skin, hair and nail problems and phosphorus. If zinc becomes deficient, the body prioritizes its zinc reserves and may reduce the synthesis less essential proteins such as the skin, hair and nails. This is one cause for baldness, skin diseases and “zinc spots”, small whitish spots on the fingernails and toenails.
One can even calculate when stress or another condition reduced the available zinc by the location of the spots relative to the distal end of the fingernails. The fingernails usually grow about one-fourth to one-third of an inch per month. The closer a white spot is to the nail bed, the more recent was the low zinc present.
Impaired biosynthesis due to low zinc or high copper is also why some women develop stretch marks, baldness at times, spider veins, varicose veins, digestive problems and many, many other telltale signs of low zinc. These indicate stress and copper imbalance, at the very least, and may indicate other problems with protein synthesis.
INTERESTING PHOSPHORUS READINGS DURING DEVELOMENT PROGRAMS
“Gathering firewood” pattern. Phosphorus may decrease on a retest if the body eliminates lead, mercury or perhaps some other toxic metal. This occurs commonly during the development program. It is not a problem.
In these cases, toxic metals, especially lead, had been displacing the phosphorus level upwards. As the toxic metal is eliminated from the body, the hair phosphorus decreases to where it should be. This phenomenon is called displacement.
Another possibility is that as certain toxic metals are removed from the body, they may temporarily interfere with biosynthesis and cause a lower phosphorus reading.
Another possibility is that phosphorus is being retained in the body due to inadequate intake of high-quality phosphorus in the diet.
”On fire” or “perking up” pattern. This is defined as an increase in the hair phosphorus of 2 mg% or more on a retest. This is an excellent sign, indicating better vitality and improved speed of protein biosynthesis.
“Moving fast” pattern. This is an excellent development pattern. It is not common, but occasionally occurs on a retest hair analysis pattern when a person is following a nutritional balancing program. It consists of:
1. A hair phosphorus level greater than 16 mg%.
2. An “amigo dump” (elimination of several of the so-called amigos).
3. A double or greater positive “flip” pattern (flips are when a key ratio, or the oxidation rate, or another pattern flips or changes rapidly to become much more positive).
This is a very positive combination of patterns on a hair analysis retest, for which reason it is called the Moving Fast pattern.
V. PHOSPHORUS SYNERGISTS AND ANTAGONISTS
Synergists. Minerals and other substances that are essential for the action of phosphorus include:
- Most of the trace minerals because these are needed for energy production, cell membrane formation, protein synthesis, the nervous system and fluid balance.
- Calcium is absorbed with phosphorus and is a synergist in bone formation, nervous system activity and in other ways. Calcium can also be a phosphorus antagonist.
- Magnesium is a synergist in energy production and protein synthesis.
- Vitamin D assists phosphorus absorption, along with calcium absorption and utilization.
- B-complex vitamins require phosphorus for their activity, in many cases.
- TMG or trimethylglycine, is often synergistic with phosphorus.
Phosphorus antagonists. These substances block or interfere with the action of phosphorus in the body in some manner.
- Aluminum, mercury and lead are powerful antagonists for phosphorus.
- Cortisone therapies, and steroid-containing drugs and medicines such as nasal sprays, pain remedies, cortisone shots and other steroid-containing products. In part, the devastating effects of these common remedies may be their detrimental effect on phosphorus metabolism in the body. This can help explain common side effects of these drugs such as bone loss, cataract formation, thinning of the skin, exhaustion, adrenal damage and others.
- Propranolol may be antagonistic to phosphorus. More research is needed on this, however.
VI. THE HAIR CALCIUM/PHOSPHORUS RATIO
Some people use this ratio to assess the oxidation rate. Dr. Eck rejected this idea completely. We find the CA/P ratio does not work well and is simply incorrect.
The oxidation rate depends upon adrenal and thyroid activity, which the calcium and phosphorus levels and their ratio do not assess.
Dr. Melvin Page, DDS used the Ca/P ratio in the blood serum to assess the sympathetic and parasympathetic balance. However, this is entirely different from the hair mineral biopsy concept.
Also, many factors can influence the hair levels of calcium and phosphorus, making it unreliable. For example, the hair Ca/P ratio can be impacted by:
1. Three highs/four highs pattern. In this case, a person could be in fast oxidation, but the hair Ca/P ratio will indicate slow oxidation. This is common and very confusing if one uses the hair Ca/P to assess the oxidation rate.
2. Four lows pattern. In this case, a person can be in slow oxidation, but the hair Ca/P ratio will often indicate fast oxidation. This is also terribly confusing and untrue.
3. Pubic hair samples. If pubic hair is used for testing, (which we do not allow), the phosphorus level is often elevated. This will also skew the hair Ca/P ratio.
Much more can be written about phosphorus. For more technical information about phosphorus, see the Mineral Reference Guide in the back of the text, Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis (2010, 2014, 2016) or under its new title, Development science and Development Programs (2019).