Serum phosphorus levels stay relatively constant through the influence of multiple factors-such as parathyroid hormone, fibroblast growth factor 23, and vitamin D-on the kidney, bone, and digestive system. Whereas normal serum phosphorus ranges between 3 mg/dL to 4.5 mg/dL, large cross-sectional studies have shown that even people with normal kidney function are sometimes found to have levels ranging between 1.6 mg/dL and 6.2 mg/dL. While this may partially be due to diet and the factors mentioned above, total understanding of these atypical ranges of serum phosphorus remains uncertain. Risks for bone disease are high in people aged 50 and older, and this group comprises a large proportion of people who also have chronic kidney disease. Consuming diets low in calcium and high in phosphorus, especially foods with phosphate additives, further exacerbates bone turnover. Existing bone disease increases the risk for high serum phosphorus, and higher serum phosphorus has been associated with increased adverse events and cardiovascular-related mortality both in people with chronic kidney disease and in those with no evidence of disease. Once kidney function has deteriorated to end-stage disease (Stage 5), maintaining normal serum phosphorus requires dietary restrictions, phosphate-binding medications, and dialysis. Even so, normal serum phosphorus remains elusive in many patients with Stage 5 kidney disease, and researchers are testing novel targets that may inhibit intestinal transport of phosphorus to achieve better phosphate control. Protecting and monitoring bone health should also aid in controlling serum phosphorus as kidney disease advances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-9
Number of pages4
JournalMethodist DeBakey cardiovascular journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • chronic kidney disease
  • glomerular filtration rate
  • hyperphosphatemia/drug therapy
  • osteoporosis
  • phosphates
  • serum phosphorus
  • sodium-phosphate cotransporter proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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