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Tricalcium Phosphate: side effects

Tricalcium Phosphate: side effects


Tricalcium phosphate (TCP), also known as bone phosphate of lime (BPL), E341, or tribasic calcium phosphate, is a calcium salt of phosphoric acid.

It has the chemical formula Ca3(PO4)2. It is generally recognized as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Uses of E341

This substance is used in the following applications:

  • as an antacid and pharmaceutical filler in tablets;
  • as a buffer in food;
  • in ceramics, it is used as a substitute for bone ash in glazes and bodies;
  • as a baking agent, meat tenderizer, and clarifying syrups;
  • dental powders;
  • luminescent materials;
  • textiles;
  • pottery;
  • in the manufacture of fertilizers.


It is used in extruded and dry cereals to modify the cereal color and help in the cereal’s flow through the extruder.


Some people take supplements containing E341 to supplement their daily calcium intake if they are not getting the recommended daily intake of calcium from their diet alone.

The human body absorbs this form of calcium effectively. Also, some of the supplements contain vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium better.

However, as a dietary calcium supplement, E341 is no more effective than calcium carbonate (formula CaCO3) or calcium citrate.

Note – to make sure you can safely take this calcium supplement, tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these other conditions:

  • a parathyroid gland disorder;
  • a history of kidney stones.

Is It Vegan?

No, it is typically made from ground animal bones.

Side Effects of Tricalcium Phosphate

Less serious side effects of tribasic calcium phosphate may include:

  • increased urination;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • increased thirst;
  • decreased appetite;
  • dry mouth;
  • dizziness;
  • constipation.

Allergic Reactions

Get emergency medical help if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • swelling of your face, tongue, lips, or throat;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • hives.


According to a recent meta-analysis, calcium supplements without co-administered vitamin D did not alter total cancer risk.


Phosphorus is a mineral found in bones.

Along with calcium, this mineral is required to build healthy bones and to keep other parts of the body functioning properly. About 80 percent of total phosphate is present in the teeth and bone in the form of apatite.

The kidneys control the balance between phosphate and calcium in the human body. It is essential that the levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood remain normal.

However, if you intake too much or have chronic kidney disease or other diseases that makes it harder for your body to eliminate extra phosphorus, hyperphosphatemia can occur.

Too much phosphate in the body can cause health problems, like – osteoporosis and kidney damage.

More importantly, high dietary phosphorus intake (over 1,400 mg per day) was linked with increased mortality in healthy people without kidney disease, according to a paper that was issued in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Calcium is an essential mineral for the normal and healthy function of cells, organs, nerves, and muscles. In addition, calcium is important in bone health and blood clotting.

Almost all calcium is stored in teeth and bones, where it supports their hardness and structure.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

The amount of calcium you need every day depends on your age. Here are the average daily recommended amounts (according to the US FDA):

  • pregnant and breastfeeding adults – 1,000 mg;
  • pregnant and breastfeeding teens – 1,300 mg;
  • adults 71 years and older – 1,200 mg;
  • adult women 51–70 years – 1,200 mg;
  • adult men 51–70 years – 1,000 mg;
  • adults 19–50 years – 1,000 mg;
  • teens 14–18 years – 1,300 mg;
  • children 9–13 years – 1,300 mg;
  • children 4–8 years – 1,000 mg;
  • children 1–3 years – 700 mg;
  • infants 7–12 months – 260 mg;
  • birth to 6 months – 200 mg.

Important Note

It has been documented that the countries with the highest calcium (diet + supplements) intake have the highest hip fracture incidence. Therefore, more calcium doesn’t automatically equal stronger bones. This happens due to the consumption of animal protein, which leads to the elimination of calcium in the urine.

Back To Hypercalcemia

Too much calcium in the physical body manifests in:

  • diarrhea;
  • dangerously low blood pressure;
  • vomiting;
  • irregular heartbeat;
  • nausea;
  • depression;
  • severe fatigue.

Moreover, pain in the area of the kidney would suggest the formation and passing of kidney stones.

Occasionally, severe hypercalcemia can interfere with heart function, causing palpitations, indications of cardiac arrhythmia, and other serious heart problems.

Too much calcium can also interfere in a negative way with the way the brain works, resulting in lethargy, confusion, fatigue as well as depression, memory loss, and irritability. Severe cases of hypercalcemia can even cause coma.

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How To Avoid Hypercalcemia?

It is recommended to get your calcium from food. Foods rich in calcium include:

  • Carrots – 33mg/100g (3%DV);
  • Tangerines – 37mg/100g (4%DV);
  • Elderberries – 38mg/100g (4%DV);
  • Sapotes – 39mg/100g (4%DV);
  • Mulberries – 39mg/100g (4%DV);
  • Cabbage – 40mg/100g (4%DV);
  • Oranges – 43mg/100g (4%DV);
  • Broccoli – 47mg/100g (5%DV);
  • Chickpeas – 49mg/100g (5%DV);
  • Raisins – 53mg/100g (5%DV);
  • Currants – 55mg/100g (6%DV);
  • Swiss Chard – 58mg/100g (6%DV);
  • Kumquats – 62mg/100g (6%DV);
  • Dates, medjool – 64mg/100g (6%DV);
  • Prunes – 72mg/100g (7%DV);
  • Tamarinds – 74mg/100g (7%DV);
  • Jujube – 79mg/100g (8%DV);
  • Olives – 94mg/100g (9%DV);
  • Spinach – 99mg/100g (10%DV);
  • Broccoli raab – 108mg/100g (11%DV);
  • Beet greens – 117mg/100g (12%DV);
  • Kale – 135mg/100g (14%DV);
  • Figs – 162mg/100g (16%DV);
  • Dandelion greens – 187mg/100g (19%DV).

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Reduce Phosphate

Because hypercalcemia is commonly caused by overactive parathyroid glands, decreasing the amount of phosphate in the body is important to restore a proper level of calcium.

Foods that are rich in phosphate, and thus essential to reduce or avoid, include:

  • carbonated beverages;
  • most dairy products (cheese, butter, milk, yogurt);
  • soy products;
  • milk chocolate;
  • lentils;
  • chicken;
  • eggs;
  • seeds;
  • nuts;
  • cereals.

Legumes & Grains

Introduce more grains and legumes into your diet. Their phytic acid content (and lectins) prevents you from absorbing calcium from your diet, which helps keep calcium out of your system.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, red kidney beans, navy beans, mung beans, wheat germ, and adzuki beans offer the most phytic acid.

Drink Water

One of the most important steps to keep your calcium at a normal level is to hydrate. Aim to drink at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This will help flush the kidneys and eliminate the excess calcium from the physical body.


Be careful with the calcium supplements you take as well as how many vitamins you take at the same time. For instance, if you mix different minerals and pills, then you can easily overdose on calcium.

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