Calcium to phosphorus ratio

“Of the eighteen elements of which the human body is composed, all of which are presumably essential, several are needed in very small quantities. A few are required in liberal quantities. The normal adult needs to receive from the foods eaten one-half to one gram of calcium or lime per day. Few people receive more than one-half of the minerals present in the food. The requirements of phosphorus are approximately twice this amount. Of iron we need from one-seventh to one-third of a gram per day. Smaller amounts than these are required of several other elements. In order to utilize these minerals, and to build and maintain the functions of various organs, definite quantities of various organic catalysts which act as activating substances are needed. These include the known and unknown vitamins.”

Interesting that Price observed calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:2 in healthy traditional tribes. Undoubtedly it would be hard to flip this ratio unless you were a dairy herding tribe.


Price, W. A. (2008). Nutrition and physical degeneration. La Mesa, CA: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.


4 Comments Calcium to phosphorus ratio

  1. Tanya

    Whenever I use cronometer to check my diet I pretty much always have a 1:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorous (I know it’s probably not that accurate but it’s a guide). So I’m guessing that to have a Price ratio of 1:2 you would have to eat very little dairy.

    The amount of iron is more fascinating. Far, far higher than what is recommended today. I know I feel better with higher levels of iron from my food and felt like absolutely awful when I was having coffee with meals.

  2. Edward

    Although the Maasai consumed a lot of dairy they also ate enough meat to skew the ratio towards phosphorus. Which wouldn’t be too difficult to achieve considering milk is pretty close to a 1:1 calcium/phosphorus ratio anyhow.

    Iron is important. In my opinion it is non-heme iron which is problematic not heme. Somebody wrote on the Peatarian forum that it heme was not regulated “tightly” I disagree.

    Although sometimes things can go wrong with iron metabolism usually erythroferrone and hepcidin which are hormones do a fine job of regulating iron.

  3. Zach

    This is one of many things that I did not understand, how is it possible to get a 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio without supplements. I guess one could knaw on bone or shells, eat egg shells, etc and Im sure this was a routine thing. Still though, meat was much easier to come by and ratios of even 1:1 if not skewed in phosphorus’ favor must have been common. Dairy is only a 5000 year old practice or so and like Edward said, milk is only slightly in calcium favor.

  4. Isaac

    Is that recommended amount of iron a typo? Because a pound of sirloin has 6.4 Mg of iron…. and if my math is correct 1/7 of a gram is around 143 Mg. There’s no way to eat that much. O_O

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