Merck Manual

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Overview of Phosphate's Role in the Body

By

James L. Lewis III

, MD, Brookwood Baptist Health and Saint Vincent’s Ascension Health, Birmingham

Medically Reviewed Sep 2021 | Modified Sep 2022
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Bone contains about 85% of the body’s phosphate. The rest is located primarily inside cells, where it is involved in energy production.

Phosphate is necessary for the formation of bone and teeth. Phosphate is also used as a building block for several important substances, including those used by the cell for energy, cell membranes, and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

The body obtains phosphate from foods and excretes it in urine and sometimes stool. How much phosphate is in stool varies, depending on how much is not absorbed from food. Foods that are high in phosphate include milk, egg yolks, chocolate, and soft drinks.

The level of phosphate in the blood may be

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