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Hypophosphatemia (Low Phosphate Blood Level)

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Testing Thigh Strength. Courtesy Charlie Goldberg, M.D., UCSD School of Medicine

Testing Thigh Strength. Courtesy Charlie Goldberg, M.D., UCSD School of Medicine

What Is Hypophosphatemia?

Hypophosphatemia means the level of phosphates in the bloodstream is too low to meet metabolic needs of the body for this mineral.

Q: How important is phosphorus in metabolism?

A: Phosphorus is crucial to  life, being present in every cell of the body and constitutes 45% of skeletal bone weight along with 40% calcium needed to support the body as a framework.

A low blood phosphate level is characterized by alterations in blood acid-alkaline balance and serious neuromuscular, hematologic, renal, skeletal, and dental abnormalities.

Symptoms result primarily from decreased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy source in cells, and phosphocreatine, a secondary energy source for muscle contraction.

  • Acute phosphorus deficiency may precipitate rhabdomyolysis which is destruction of muscle.
  • Nervous system dysfunction is observed in severe hypophosphatemia.
  • Chronic phosphorus deficiency causes proximal myopathy (upper arms and thighs).1
  • Severe phosphorus deficiency has widespread and ultimately fatal consequences.

What Is Hypophosphatemia In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Takeda E, Ikeda S, Nakahashi O. Lack of phosphorus intake and nutrition. Clin Calcium. 2012 Oct;22(10):1487-91. []