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Phosphorus is a mineral that helps keep bones healthy. It also plays an important role to maintain function in our blood vessels and muscles. It is naturally found in food rich in protein such as meat, fish, nuts and dairy products.

The normal phosphorous level in your blood should be between 1.13-1.78mmol/L. Normally, phosphorus works with calcium to maintain healthy bones, but in people with kidney disease, phosphorous levels tend to be elevated. This is called hyperphosphatemia. When this occurs, patients may experience itchiness, joint and muscle pains, and calcium loss from the bones.

To prevent this harmful effect, patients with kidney disease will require vitamin D, calcium supplementation, and phosphate binders that assist in the excretion of excess phosphorous. Additionally, patients may need to limit the amount of high-phosphorous containing foods. Dietary phosphorous should be restricted to approximately 800 to 1000 mg/ day. Patients should read food labels carefully for hidden sources of phosphate additives such as "phosphoric acid" or "sodium phosphate". Chronic kidney disease patients need to maintain adequate protein intake. However, most foods containing protein are also high in phosphorous. Talking to your Registered Dietitian will help ensure your nutritional status is maintained when dietary phosphorus is restricted.

Foods higher in phosphorus:

Foods lower in phosphorus:


Here are some helpful documents that can help you make informed choices about including phosphorus into your diet!