the estimates on which the calculation is based and the limitations inherent in using such calculations.

If growth were the only consideration, the intake ratio would have to be substantially higher than 2:1 after infancy, because calcium absorption drops more sharply with age than does phosphorus absorption (Abrams et al., 1997b; Fomon and Nelson, 1993). However, as larger fractions of ingested food are used for energy (and a correspondingly smaller proportion for growth), the notion of a dietary Ca:P molar ratio has little meaning or value, particularly since, on a mixed diet, there is likely to be a relative surplus of phosphorus. Under such circumstances it would be inappropriate to conclude, simply on the basis of a departure from some theoretical Ca:P ratio, either that calcium intake should be elevated or, phosphorus intake reduced. In balance studies in human adults, Ca:P molar ratios ranging from 0.08:1 to 2.40:1 (a 30-fold range) had no effect on either calcium balance or calcium absorption (Heaney and Recker, 1982; Spencer et al., 1965, 1978a). Thus, for the reasons cited, there is little or no evidence for relating the two nutrients, one to the other, during most of human life.

Intake of Phosphorus

The USDA Continuing Survey of Food Intake of Individuals (CSFII) in 1994, adjusted by the method of Nusser et al. (1996), indicated that the mean daily phosphorus intake from food in males aged 9 and over was 1,495 mg (48.2 mmol) (fifth percentile = 874 mg [28.2 mmol]; fiftieth percentile = 1,445 mg [46.6 mmol]; ninety-fifth percentile = 2,282 mg [73.6 mmol]) (see Appendix D for data tables). The mean daily intake in females aged 9 and over was 1,024 mg (33 mmol) (fifth percentile = 620 mg [20 mmol]; fiftieth percentile = 1,001 mg [32.3 mmol]; ninety-fifth percentile = 1,510 mg [48.7 mmol]). In both sexes, intakes decreased at ages 51 and over. The NHANES III data show similar median intake values (Alaimo et al., 1994). National survey data for Canada are not available.

Both extent of usage of phosphate salts as additives and the amount per serving have increased substantially over the past 20 years, and the nutrient databases may not reflect these changes (Calvo and Park, 1996). For that reason, phosphorus intake may be underestimated for certain individuals who rely heavily on processed foods. However, one comparison of calculated intakes with analyzed intake data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study found slight overestimates of phosphorus intake (by an



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement