In humans, the proportion of phosphorous in mass that is fat-free is about 1 to 1.4%. It is a vital mineral nutrient and is available in many foods as a dietary supplement.In the composition of bones, teeth, DNA, and RNA, phosphorous plays an important role.In the structure of the cell membrane,phosphorous is present in the form of phospholipids. Phosphorous is also present in the bodyâ€™s main energy source, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).It alsoplaysa key role in the regulation of the transcription process,enzyme activation, and maintenance of normal pH in the bodyâ€™s extracellular fluid and intracellular storage of energy. In our body,there are some proteins and sugars which get phosphorylated. 85% of phosphorous in our body is present in bones and teeth, while the remaining 15% is distributed throughout soft tissues and blood.Phosphorous in the form of phosphates and phosphate esters are present in many types of food. Phytic acid is the storage form of phosphorous in seeds and unleavened bread. The human intestinehas no phytase enzyme, as a result of which much phosphorous in this form is unavailable for absorption. In the small intestine, phosphorous undergoes passive absorption although some are absorbed by active transport. The metabolism of calcium and phosphorous mineralsare regulated by vitamin D and parathyroid hormone and that is the reason, calcium and phosphorous are related to each other.The main structural material in the bones and enamel of our teeth is hydroxyapatite, which is also made of calcium and phosphorous.When the phosphorous intakeis high and calcium intake is low, it increases the level of Parathyroid hormone (PTH).
Phosphorous in Human Body
In mammals,the regulation of phosphorous occurs in the intestine and kidney respectively. Deficiency of phosphorous from the diet is rare as phosphate is found in many foods like dairy products, meat, and cereal grains. Around 800 to 1500 mg of phosphorous enters our body through food.In humans, organs such as the duodenum and jejunumdigest around 65% of phosphate but it is not constant and keeps changing as per the food we intake.In the presence of vitamin D, phosphorous transportation occurs in the small intestine through active and passive components. To transport phosphorous from the intestine to blood,it has to be transported across the luminal membrane of the intestine and also through the cytoplasm and plasma membrane of the epithelium tissue.The polyvalent cation present in the food binds to the phosphate present in the intestine, leads to the decrease of absorption of phosphorous. The patients suffering from kidney failure are advised to take phosphate binder with meals because of the decreased absorption in the intestine. In digestive juices,phosphate is present in the quantity of 3 mg/kg/day amount. This absorbed, phosphate in the extracellular fluid may exchange with the pool of phosphorous present in bone.Nearly 200 mg of phosphate is considered to be transported daily through the skeletal system, as it is kept on remodeling daily. Around 700-900 mg per day of phosphorous is excreted by the kidney. The extracellular phosphate balance is retained principally by renal (kidney) phosphate excretion.
Phosphorous- A superglue in DNA structure
In DNA and RNA, phosphorous is an important structural element. Phosphorous forms the sugar-phosphate backbone of these two genetic molecules.The phosphate group (PO43-) has three oxygen atoms that will carry charges in solution and therefore it acts as super glue. Two of the oxygen atoms out of three, forms the ionic bond with two neighboring sugars, while the third oxygen is with a negative charge that makes the whole DNA or RNA molecule negatively charged. Therefore, the molecule is prevented from drifting out of its prescribed location. Besides DNA, phosphate plays other roles in the cell. It appears three times in adenosine triphosphate or ATP, which is an integral form of energy storage in cells. Many biological functions are carried out from the breakdown (or burning) of ATP.Thus, phosphorous in the form of phosphate is the most important part of the basic unit of life and gives a literal meaning.
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