Phosphate supplementation can be used to treat low phosphate levels in the blood and levels of calcium that test too high. It may prevent kidney stones in some people and is sometimes used to treat urinary tract infections. Phosphate is commonly used as an antacid for gastroesophageal reflux disease and as a laxative. It can be administered rectally to clean out the bowel before surgery.
Many phosphate products also contain aluminum, sodium, calcium, and potassium. These medicines are considered safe if used for a short time. Long-term use might disrupt the normal balance of phosphate and other chemicals essential for good health. People with certain medical conditions should not use phosphate supplementation unless a doctor prescribes it.
Any condition that causes edema, which is swelling from fluid retention, might get worse with phosphate supplementation, especially if swelling occurs in the feet or legs. Supplements of this mineral combined with sodium should not be used by patients with heart disease, an inflamed pancreas, liver disease, or high blood pressure. Patients with underactive adrenal glands might create too much potassium in the blood if they use phosphate supplementation.
This caution also applies to underactive parathyroid gland function, which might worsen with phosphate supplementation. Too much phosphate in the human body could provoke calcium deposits in areas that might be harmful, such as kidney stones. Doctors typically advise getting vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet.
Phosphate is present in dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and nuts. It is also added to some fortified cereal foods. Meat and dairy products generally allow easy absorption of phosphate by the body. Phosphate is routinely added to cola beverages, which might disrupt normal levels in the blood in people who frequently drink these products.
This mineral is important for proper cell functioning and vitamin absorption. It helps the body store and transport energy for normal activities. Some people use phosphate supplementation to increase their exercise performance, but not enough evidence exists to show phosphate increases aerobic ability.
Phosphate supplementation does prevent rickets, a disease that affects children by causing soft bones. If a pregnant woman lacks the mineral in her blood, her unborn fetus does not receive adequate amounts via the placenta. Researchers found pregnant women who tested low in phosphate could reverse the condition through supplements, protecting unborn children. Intravenous phosphate supplementation is used to treat rickets and patients on feeding tubes who may lack essential minerals.