PHOSPHATES Calcium and phosphorus, which are minerals, help build strong bones. Healthy kidneys help regulate the level of phosphorus in your blood by removing extra phosphorus. If your kidneys aren't working properly, eventually you'll probably have high phosphorus levels in your blood (hyperphosphatemia). Too much phosphorus decreases the level of calcium in your blood, which can lead to bone disease. Your phosphorus needs may vary, depending on your kidney function. For adults with kidney disease, generally 800 to 1,000 milligrams (mg) of phosphorus a day is the limit. Many healthy adults eat almost double this amount. Nearly every food contains some phosphorus. As a general rule, foods high in protein are also high in phosphorus. If you have an earlier stage of kidney disease, you'll likely be advised to limit your intake of phosphorus and protein. A reduced-protein diet helps limit the amount of waste that builds up in your blood. Manufacturers may add phosphorus when processing foods to thicken, improve taste or prevent discoloration. Check the ingredients to see if phosphorus has been added. If so, choose a similar food item that doesn't have such additives. Dozens of additives contain phosphorus. Look for any ingredient that contains "phos" in the term. Here are some examples: Calcium phosphate Disodium phosphate Phosphoric acid Tricalcium phosphate Monopotassium phosphate Pyrophosphate polyphosphates Food manufacturers often don't list the amount of phosphorus on food labels. In addition, fast foods and convenience foods have potentially large amounts of phosphorus, which may be used as a preservative, among other things. For help creating a meal plan that meets your needs, consult a registered dietitian. A dietitian can help make sure that you get enough nutrition while following your doctor's medical recommendations. Confirm all recommended food substitutes with your dietitian. Because it's difficult to lower phosphorus in your diet, your doctor may recommend a phosphate binder medication to help control the amount of phosphorus your body absorbs from foods. Your doctor may also recommend calcium and other supplements, depending on your nutritional needs. Ask your pharmacist to check your medications and supplements for phosphorus.