Q:

Do you have to limit the intake of phosphorus if you have kidney problems?

A:

Quick Answer

People with kidney problems should limit their intake of phosphorus, according to Mayo Clinic. Their kidneys are unable to remove unneeded amounts of the mineral from the blood. Adult kidney patients should restrict their intake of phosphorus to 800 to 1,000 milligrams daily.

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Full Answer

Too much phosphorous creates conditions that allow calcium to be removed from bones, the National Kidney Foundation reports. Bones become more fragile. Also, calcium deposits sometimes form and interfere with the work of blood vessels, lungs, eyes and the heart, NKF and Healthline reveal.

Patients with kidney problems often regulate their phosphorus levels through diet, states NKF. They avoid high-phosphorus foods, such as milk, hard cheeses, beer, organ meats, nuts and whole-grain products. Other foods make good substitutes, including rice milk, cream cheese, lean cuts of beef and pork, popcorn and refined grains, such as white bread, Mayo Clinic advises.

Phosphorus is often used in food processing to change the taste, color or texture of a product, the University of Florida says. This adds about 500 milligrams of the mineral to the average diet each day. Additives with phosphorus found in ingredient lists include calcium phosphate, phosphoric acid and pyrophosphate polyphosphates.

Sometimes doctors recommend that kidney patients take phosphate binders, notes NKF. These are pills, chewable tablets or powders that limit how much phosphorus the body is able to absorb from food. Phosphate binders are only used with medical supervision.

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