Dicalcium phosphate is a calcium supplement generally found in pharmaceuticals as an inert ingredient to bind tablets, in prepared breakfast cereals, and in toothpaste. It is also known as E341.
Phosphate is a mineral commonly derived from rocks, however, occasionally from bones and whey (from cheese-making). To find out the exact source of Dicalcium Phosphate, please check with the manufacturer.
In cooking, it has the following uses:
- stabilizer – it is a substance which maintains the uniform dispersal of substances in a food;
- sequestrant – it is a substance that controls the availability of a cation;
- acidity regulator – it is a substance that regulates the alkalinity or acidity of a food;
- raising agent – it is a substance that increases dough volume by producing gas;
- firming agent – it is a substance which interacts with gelling agents to strengthen food structure or helps maintain the firmness of vegetables and fruits;
- emulsifier – it is a substance which preserves or forms a mixture of substances typically incapable of being mixed eg. water and oil.
Dicalcium phosphate also shows up in some foods as a calcium supplement. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is used as a tableting agent in some preparations, especially some products meant to eliminate body odor. Moreover, E341 is used in numerous toothpaste formulations as an abrasive.
Health Benefits of E341
It is typically used as a food additive as well as a supplement for phosphorous and calcium.
It is A Source Of Calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. This mineral is stored mostly in the teeth and bones.
According to research, calcium from supplements and dairy products may lower the risk of colon cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the US.
People with a chronic periodontal disease (an inflammatory process which affects the supportive and protective tissues around the tooth) who took both calcium supplements and vitamin D for 12 months (1,000 mg/day of calcium and 400 IU/day of vitamin D) had a better dental health than people who didn’t take those supplements, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Periodontology.
Studies have also linked low calcium intake with a high body fat percentage as well as with a high BMI (body mass index – a measure of body fat based on height and weight).
Moreover, calcium is essential for healthy blood pressure as it helps blood vessels – veins, arteries, and capillaries – relax and tighten when they must.
Calcium also prevents osteoporosis (a type of bone disease which occurs when bones become weak and brittle) and arthritis, that could be extremely painful and hamper your freedom of movement. In addition, this mineral helps alleviate the presence of back pain, strengthens the backbone, and keeps the bones in their proper shape.
Recognizing a deficiency of this essential mineral in the human body is quite easy. It has some very obvious signs and symptoms, including:
- muscles ache and twitch;
- tetany (a disorder of increased neuronal excitability);
- cramps and spasms;
- premenstrual cramps;
- high blood pressure;
- gum diseases;
- loose teeth;
Note – individuals at the highest risk for experiencing a deficiency in calcium are adolescent girls, children, and postmenopausal women.
It Is A Good Source Of Phosphorus
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that is typically found in nature combined with oxygen as phosphate.
It is needed for regulation of calcium, proper cell functioning, making adenosine triphosphate (a molecule that provides energy to your cells), and for strong teeth and bones.
Also, this mineral is required to create new hormones, enzymes, and molecules involved in cell signaling. Additionally, it is essential for the creation of nucleic acids, the building blocks of DNA.
In addition, phosphorus helps to:
- reduce muscle pain after physical exercise;
- filter out waste in the kidneys;
- facilitate nerve conduction;
- manage how your body stores energy;
- maintain a normal and regular heartbeat;
- manage muscle contractions;
- balance minerals like magnesium, iodine, and zinc as well as vitamins like vitamins D and V-complex vitamins;
- produce RNA (ribonucleic acid).
A deficiency of this essential mineral can lead to:
- reduced fertility;
- a weakened immune system;
- bone fragility leading to bone breakages;
- improper bone formation (rickets);
- reduced milk production;
- muscle pain;
- reduced food intake;
- lowered appetite.
E413 can make it harder for the human body to absorb some medications you take by mouth. It is recommended to tell your healthcare professional if you are taking:
- tetracycline (Panmycin, Brodspec, Tetracap, and Sumycin);
- minocycline (Minocin, Dynacin, Vectrin, and Solodyn);
- doxycycline (Doryx, Adoxa, Vibramycin, and Oracea);
- calcitriol (Rocaltrol);
- digoxin (Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin).
Side Effects Of Dicalcium Phosphate
Common side effects may include the following:
- increased urination;
- increased thirst;
- dry mouth;
- decreased appetite.
Hyperphosphatemia means having a high level of phosphates in the blood. Too much phosphate can be toxic. Hyperphosphatemia can interfere with the body’s capacity to use calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It can also cause calcification of organs and soft tissue and diarrhea.
Too much phosphorus can also cause calcium to be leached from the bones, leading to a substantially higher risk of osteoporosis.
Note – hyperphosphatemia can usually get too high when the kidneys are not working properly.
Too Much Calcium
Hypercalcemia is a medical condition in which the calcium level in the blood is above normal.
According to the Institute of Medicine, consuming over 2 grams of calcium per day from supplement or diet is strongly associated with an increased risk of kidney stones.
In the majority of cases, excess calcium in the blood was leached from the bones, that actually weakens them. This can cause muscle weakness, bone pain, and depression.
In observational studies, scientists established that high intakes of calcium may be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (the most common non-skin cancer among men in the United States).
The condition can also interfere with the way your brain works, ultimately leading to lethargy, depression, confusion, and fatigue.
Individuals with hypercalcemia may have the following symptoms:
- loss of appetite;
- difficulty thinking;
- irregular heartbeat;
- abdominal pain;
- kidney stones;
- muscle pain;
- frequent urination;
- increased thirst.