Phosphorus Deficiency

The symptoms of phosphorus deficiency, according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, are arthritis, fatigue, fragile bones, stunted growth, reproductive problems, muscle weakness, tooth decay and rickets (1). Fairly serious symptoms caused by the lack of one mineral!

Low phosphorus reading in the ARL Labs' analysis indicates that phosphorus is not being utilized properly by the body. I take this to be the same as being deficient in phosphorus. The reasons why this deficiency occurs, however, may be complicated, and not necessarily fixed as easily as supplementing with phosphorus. The bigger picture of what being deficient in phosphorus means, and how to correct it, is discussed below, based on the Nutritional Balancing Science and the related Hair Mineral Analysis report.

phosphorus deficiency
My test results show only slightly too low levels of phosphorus but nevertheless the nutritionist reported that this indicates "lowered vitality".

Low phosphorus reading according to Dr. Lawrence Wilson means the following (1):

  • Catabolic state of body chemistry (breakdown), instead of anabolic state (building up). The catabolic and anabolic aspects are out of balance. This is equal to impaired protein synthesis, either due to protein deficiency, not good enough protein sources, or impaired protein digestion, impaired absorption of amino acids and peptides, and/or impaired protein synthesis in the liver, etc.
  • Copper imbalance, intestinal infections such as candida, etc. can be a causative factor.
  • A low phosphorus level is associated with zinc deficiency and low zinc reading in the hair mineral tissue analysis. When the zinc deficiency is corrected, the phosphorus level usually improves.
  • Digestive enzyme deficiency, low hydrochloric acid in the stomach, etc. may be the root causes.
  • A phosphorus level lower than 12mg% often indicates lowered vitality [my case].

Impaired Digestion/ Phosphorus Deficiency

From an email from Will Houghton, my first Hair Mineral Analysis nutritionist:

"Your low phosphorous shows a lack of digestive function, indicating that mold, fungus and possibly parasites are present..."

From my hair mineral analysis report by ARL Labs (2):

"Excellent digestion is key to improving one's health. If digestion is impaired, even the best diet will not supply the body with needed nutrients. Additionally, improperly digested food will ferment or putrefy in the intestines and produce extremely toxic chemicals that are then absorbed into the body. Proper digestion depends on one's diet, eating habits, energy levels, digestive enzymes, bowel flora and the condition of the intestines.

"Your hair tissue mineral analysis indicates impaired digestion."

Phosphorus in Foods

Phosphorus is found in all protein foods. Meat, according to Dr. Wilson, is far higher in bioavailable phosphorus compounds than other foods. "This is one of the reasons vegetarians may be prone to fatigue, anxiety and depression more than meat eaters." (1)

Cow's milk is very high in phosphorus. But calves need more energy to grow faster than human babies, and mother's milk is quite low in phosphorus in comparison to cow's milk. Milk from smaller animals such as goats and sheep may thus be more suitable for humans, and are also lower in phosphorus. (1)

Soda pop contains phosphoric acid, which is used to cut the sweetness. This can be absorbed to some degree, Dr. Wilson says. However, phosphoric acid is very acidic and can erode the teeth, as well as causing other problems. (1)

Raw grains contain phytates, which are a different type of phosphorus compound. The problem with phytates, however, is that they bind vital minerals and remove them from the body. Some ancient methods of food preparation, such as adding yeast to bread dough or adding lime to corn, were developed to reduce the phytate content of grain foods. Raw or soaked grains instead of baked bread, thus, may deplete you of minerals. (1)

Functions of Phosphorus

Ideal phosphorus levels are crucial to ensure the correct functioning of the following aspects of health. Keep in mind that all phosphorus in the body exists as phosphates (PO4) (1):

  • Energy production. ATP or adenosine triphosphate is the main form of energy used by our body and it's produced from foods. The phosphate molecule of ATP has a phosphorus atom at its center.
  • Phosphates are extremely important for growth of the body.
  • The nervous system is extremely dependent on phosphorus compounds for two reasons: 1) the myelin sheath, which is an electrically insulating layer around a neuron, and 2) the high-energy need of the brain.
  • Cell membrane function. Phospholipids are another type of phosphorus compound that are absolutely essential for health. Omega 3 and other fatty acids are incorporated into phosphorus compounds to form cell membrane structures.
  • All protein synthesis by the body requires phosphorus, including the making of proteins, enzymes, hormones, and millions of other chemicals.
  • Bone formation.
  • Buffering the pH of blood.
  • Maintaining the osmotic balance of body fluids.

Phosphorus Deficiency - Conclusion

Dr. Lawrence Wilson writes that phosphorus mainly has to do with protein synthesis and is a critical indicator in the hair mineral analysis. "Without sufficient protein synthesis, healing is definitely impaired." (1)

Low hair phosphorus may be caused by the following (1):

  • Not enough or poor quality protein in the diet.
  • Eating too fast and under stress.
  • Eating overcooked or too processed protein foods, or otherwise spoiled foods.
  • Digestive problems interfering with utilization, e.g. candida, leaky gut syndrome, inflamed intestinal tract, irritated bowel syndrome, parasitic infections.
  • Mineral deficiencies, e.g. zinc and magnesium.
  • Excess of toxic metals, which can inflict oxidant damage on proteins in the body.
  • Stress.


(1) Dr Lawrence Wilson: Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis
(2) My hair mineral analysis report by ARL Labs

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