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Phosphorus, or phosphates, which are mainly found in nature, are essential for humans and essential components of the diet. They are found in almost all foods, especially in protein-rich foods such as cheese, sausages and meat. In addition, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables may also contain larger amounts of phosphates. Phosphates are also approved as food additives and are added to a large number of foods (e.g., in soft drinks, whipped cream and cream products, dairy drinks, milk powder and coffee whiteners as well as meat products) for various technological purposes, such as acidity regulators.

Phosphorus is a central building block of many molecules in the body and is involved in numerous metabolic processes in the cell. It contributes to the consolidation of bone structure, plays a key role in energy metabolism as a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and is involved in the construction of nucleic acids.

In recent years, increased risks for the development of cardiovascular diseases and for bone health have been discussed in connection with high phosphate intakes or disturbed phosphate homeostasis, especially in people with kidney diseases. However, these correlations have not yet been proven.

Proposed maximum level for the addition of phosphorus to food supplements (per daily dose of an individual product):

Höchstmenge Phosphor

Based on the available data, it can be assumed that (more than) sufficient amounts of phosphorus/phosphate are absorbed through the normal diet, so that a deficiency of phosphorus can be ruled out in healthy people according to the current state of knowledge. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends not to use phosphorus for nutritional purposes in food supplements.




Date Title Size
BfR Opinion No. 009/2021
Updated recommended maximum levels for the addition of vitamins and minerals to food supplements and conventional foods 478.3 KB



Date Title Size
BfR Communication No 022/2019
Intake of Phosphates: Babies, infants and children can exceed the health guidance values 154.6 KB


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