How important is the calcium to phosphorus ratio?

by 3512 · June 05, 2012 at 02:24 PM

I just came across Denise Minger's article on tooth problems and she mentions that the calcium to phosphorus ratio should be 2:1 in favor of calcium, but mine is currently at a 3 to one in favor of phosphorus. I just don't see how it could be possible to get the ratio she proclaims. Does this seem very unrealistic to many of you? If not, how would I go about fixing my skewed ratio? I don't want any bone problems in the future.


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4 Replies

18 · February 13, 2012 at 06:32 PM

True, dairy has a good calcium-phosphorus ratio of about 1.3/1, but the problem with dairy is that cow milk is so high in absolute amounts of phosphorus. When your phosphorus intake gets too high, say over 1000-1200 mg or so, it produces a toxic effect inspite of the calcium in dairy. The DRI for phosphorus for an adult is 700 mg. Three 8-oz. servings of milk is about that amount. Add up all of the rest of the phosphorus from your diet along with dairy, and you can see that dairy can cause a problem. Green vegetables like kale and collards, on the other hand, have a calcium-phosphorus ratio between 2-14/1! Dairy can't come close to that! By the way, human breast milk has over 2/1 ratio. When infants are fed too much cow milk, the high absolute amount of phosphorus causes tetany...muscle cramping. Also, the calcium in greens has twice the bioavailability in humans as the calcium in pasteurized cow milk. Dark leafy greens twice a day (in a green smoothie and a big salad) are essential to build and maintain bones, blood, and overall health.

0 · June 05, 2012 at 02:24 PM

K is the symbol for potassium. The symbol for phosphorus is P. They are two different minerals.

18 · January 18, 2012 at 02:11 PM

Shah78 said, "That's quite a first impression you made there Ron.!As my high school Latin teacher used to say, Ph.D+ piled higher and deeper."

A friend of mine had another way of describing a Ph.D.; as you gain more knowledge within a more narrow field, you soon reach the point of knowing everything about nothing!

The take home message is: eat plenty of dark leafy greens to maintain a proper calcium:phosphorus ratio. And control your flesh, grain, dairy, and nut intake as those foods usually have a very low calcium:phosphorus ratio. Also, the primary source of most vitamins found in animal-based foods is from plants. The animals we rely on for food usually don't eat other animals...they eat plants for their nutrients. So should you.

18 · December 16, 2011 at 07:16 PM

I disagree. Excess phosphorus in a diet with a low calcium-phosphorus ratio (less than 1:1) is associated with hyperphosphatemia, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and bone loss, regardless how much calcium, vitamins D, A, K2, is in the diet. Since the intestines absorb phosphorus more than twice as efficiently as calcium, a higher calcium-phosphorus ratio is desirable in the diet (1.5:1, 1.7:1, and 2:1, which has been found optimal for bone formation in many animal studies). By the way, the best food sources of K2 just happen to be green vegetables with a high calcium-phosphorus ratio!

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