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Understanding Phosphorus and Tissue Building Dynamics

Understanding Phosphorus and Tissue Building Dynamics


As we get older, our bodies change in many ways. One significant change is the loss of different tissue types, which can affect how we look, feel, and move. In this blog, we will explore the tissues most affected by aging and what causes this loss in healthy adults.

We'll discuss muscle, bone, skin, connective, fat, and nerve tissues and explain how they change as we age. We will also share tips on how to slow down tissue loss and keep our bodies healthy.

Finally, we'll highlight the critical role nutrients play in maintaining tissue health, focusing on phosphorus homeostasis, a crucial process that regulates phosphorus levels in the body within the normal range.

A deficiency of phosphorus, also known as phosphorus deficiency, can lead to symptoms such as loss of appetite, bone pain, and weakness, as the body relies on this mineral for proper tissue function.

This is especially important for those with low levels of phosphorus in their bodies, as it can be caused by kidney problems or hyperparathyroidism, in which too much parathyroid hormone is released.

Additionally, phosphorus is essential for forming and maintaining soft tissues, making it a crucial nutrient for building and repairing tissues in the body, including maintaining bone mineral density and serum phosphate levels.

With chronic kidney disease (CKD) being a common cause of phosphorus imbalance and deficiency, understanding the role of dietary phosphorus in tissue health is crucial for those with the condition, as it can help prevent or slow down the progression of renal disease.

Incorporating foods high in phosphorus, such as dairy products, lean meats, and whole grains, into one's diet can help maintain healthy body weight and support tissue health, potentially reducing the risk of adverse effects and cardiovascular disease.

Types of Tissue Affected by Aging

Muscle Tissue: Changes as We Get Older

As we age, our muscles don't stay as strong or big. This usually starts at around 30 and happens faster after we reach 60. A few reasons for this are:

  • Moving Less: Our muscles get smaller and weaker when we don't exercise much.
  • Hormonal Changes: Our bodies make less of some hormones that help our muscles grow.
  • Not Eating Right: Eating enough protein is essential to keep our muscles strong.
  • Inflammation: Sometimes, our bodies can have a kind of swelling inside that isn't good for our muscles.

Bone Tissue: Keeping Bones Healthy

Our bones are most robust in our 20s, but as we get older, they can weaken. This can make it easier for them to break. Here are a few reasons why this happens:

  • Hormonal Changes: Especially in women after menopause, when the body makes less estrogen, a hormone that helps keep bones strong.
  • Not Getting Enough Calcium and Vitamin D: Both are important to keep our bones healthy.
  • Not Enough Exercise: Activities where you're on your feet help keep bones strong.

Skin Tissue: Taking Care of Your Skin

Our skin changes, too! It might not be as stretchy or thick because:

  • Less Collagen and Elastin are like the skin's building blocks that keep it strong and stretchy.
  • Not Enough Oil: Our skin makes less oil, making it dry.
  • Sun Damage: Too much sun can make our skin age faster.

Connective Tissue: Keeping Joints Happy

The tissues connecting parts of our body, like ligaments and tendons, can also weaken. This might make our joints feel less stable or flexible. This happens because:

  • Less Collagen: Like in our skin, less collagen means these tissues aren't as strong.
  • Wearing Out of Cartilage: This can make our joints hurt and not work as well.

Fat Tissue: Changes in Body Fat

As we age, the fat in our body moves around:

  • Less Fat Under the Skin: This can make our skin look saggy or wrinkly.
  • More Fat Inside: Fat can build up around our organs, which isn't good for our health.

Neural Tissue: Brain and Nerve Changes

Our brain and nerves change, too:

  • Losing Neurons: This can make it harder to think quickly or remember things.
  • Less Neurotransmitters: These are chemicals that help our brain and body communicate. With fewer of them, we might feel different mentally or physically.

Strategies to Mitigate Tissue Loss

Here are some great tips to help you stay strong and healthy, even as you get older:

Exercise Keeps You Strong:

  • Mix it Up: Lifting weights and doing exercises that get your heart pumping are both excellent for keeping muscles and bones strong.
  • Keep Moving: Try to exercise often; it's good for your whole body.

Eat Well to Stay Healthy:

  • Protein Power: Foods with protein help keep your muscles in shape.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D: These help keep your bones challenging like a superhero's!
  • Eat the Rainbow: Eating all sorts of fruits and vegetables can give you the necessary nutrients.

Good Habits for a Healthy Life:

  • No Smoking: It's super bad for you, so stay away from cigarettes.
  • Go Easy on Junk Food and Soda: Too much can be unhealthy.
  • Chill Out: Learn ways to relax and not get too stressed out.

Protect Your Skin:

  • Sunscreen is Your Friend: It stops the sun from hurting your skin.

Sometimes Doctors Can Help Too:

  • Medicine for Strong Bones: If you need it, there's a medicine that can help keep your bones from getting weak.
  • Check with Your Doctor: If you're a girl, when you grow up, you might need special care after you stop having periods (that's what "postmenopausal" means). Your doctor can tell you all about it.

Nutrients Essential for Tissue Building

Our bodies are like machines that need the right fuel to grow, fix themselves, and work well. To do this, we must eat different healthy foods because they give us nutrients - special helpers for our cells.

Let's learn about some essential nutrients that help our bodies build and fix tissues, including protein intake, which is necessary for tissue building and repair, as well as the role of phosphorus absorption, both from animal sources and in supplement form, in meeting our nutritional needs through good sources of food in the United States.

Phosphorus is found in various foods, particularly in protein-rich sources such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole-grain breads and cereals. It is also available as a dietary supplement, plays a crucial role in cell membranes and energy levels, and is a critical component of extracellular fluid.

However, it is vital to be aware of potential side effects and interactions with other medications when taking phosphorus supplements, and it is recommended to only do so under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Additionally, it is essential to consume a diet that includes the right amounts of calcium and protein, as these food sources also provide enough phosphorus for tissue building and total phosphorus intake levels.

However, because human intestines lack the phytase enzyme, much phosphorus in the form of phytic acid from seeds and unleavened breads is unavailable for absorption.

Recommendations for nutrient intakes of healthy people, including the recommended amount of phosphorus, can be found in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. These values, which vary by age and sex, include the national health guidelines for phosphorus intake, including limiting foods with phosphate additives such as food additives and potentially using phosphate binders as prescribed by healthcare providers to lower phosphorus levels.

Additionally, individuals taking these and other medications regularly should discuss their phosphorus status with their healthcare providers and pay attention to food labels for phosphorus content, as well as calcium carbonate, as shown in a recent randomized controlled trial.


Proteins are like the Lego blocks of our body parts. They help our bodies grow and fix any damage.

Where to find them: Chicken, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are parts of proteins. Our bodies need them to use proteins properly. There are some amino acids that we can only get from food.

Where to find them: Foods like meat or a mix of beans and rice provide all the amino acids we need.


Vitamin A helps our skin and helps us fight off germs.

  • Found in: Carrots, sweet potatoes, greens, and liver.

Vitamin C helps our body make a particular collagen protein, which helps wounds heal and keeps our skin healthy.

  • Found in: Oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli.

Vitamin D helps our bones stay strong.

  • Found in: Sunlight, fish, and milk.

Vitamin E keeps our cells safe from damage.

  • Found in: Nuts, seeds, and spinach.

Vitamin K helps our blood clot when we get a cut.

  • Found in: Greens like kale and spinach.


Calcium keeps our bones strong.

  • Found in: Milk, leafy greens, and almonds.

Magnesium helps with lots of body activities, including muscle movement.

  • Found in: Nuts, seeds, and spinach.

Zinc helps our body make proteins, fight off germs, and heal wounds.

  • Found in: Meat, beans, and nuts.

Iron is essential for our blood to carry oxygen.

  • Found in: Red meat, fish, lentils, and beans.


Collagen is a protein that's good for our skin and joints.

  • Found in: Bone soup and gelatin snacks.

Other Nutrients

B Vitamins help our cells work right and make blood.

  • Found in: Whole grains, meat, eggs, and green veggies.


Water is super important because it helps every part of our body work smoothly.

  • Found in: Drinking water and juicy fruits and veggies.

Eating various healthy foods gives our body what it needs to stay strong and healthy!

The Critical Role of Phosphorus in Tissue Building

Let's learn about some ways nutrients help our body work better, especially for things like bones and cells:

  1. Bone Health
    • Nutrients play a big part in making bones and reshaping them as we grow.
  2. Cellular Function
    • They are essential for the outer border of cells, and the stuff inside that helps make new cells.
  3. Energy Metabolism
    • Nutrients help produce energy inside our cells. This energy lets us run, play, and do all our activities.
  4. pH Regulation
    • Nutrients help balance the acidity in our blood, which is essential to keep everything working right.
  5. Protein Synthesis
    • They help in making proteins, which are necessary for building muscles and other body parts.
  6. Cell Signaling
    • Nutrients help cells communicate with each other, which is essential for them to work together and keep us healthy.

Understanding these roles helps us see how eating various healthy foods keeps our body in tip-top shape!


In conclusion, phosphorus is like a superhero nutrient vital to keeping our tissues strong, especially as we grow up. Just like building a Lego tower needs strong bricks, our bodies need phosphorus and other nutrients to make and keep strong muscles, bones, skin, and all the different tissues that help us move, play, and stay healthy.

Eating foods rich in phosphorus and other good stuff, like proteins and vitamins, is like giving our body the best building blocks to repair itself and fight the changes that come with aging. So, remember to eat healthy foods to keep your body's tissues solid and ready for action!

Phosphorus is super important because it helps build the structure of our bodies, like how bricks build a house. But how do we know if we have enough phosphorus? You can check this by doing a unique Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) test. Schedule yours today! After you take the test, you can talk to one of our nutritionists to understand more about your phosphorus levels. They'll help you figure out if your levels are too high too low, or if there's another reason why your body might not be building tissues properly.

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