The Iguana Den





Understanding Calcium:Phosphorus Ratios

Many different minerals and other nutrients have interactions between them that affect their availability or absorption in the body---for example, between copper and zinc, calcium and vitamin D, iron and manganese. One of the most
important, and often overlooked, of these interactions is between calcium and
phosphorus. A saying in animal science, (who are a not-very-poetic bunch and and pathetically easy to amuse), is "as goes phosphorus, so goes calcium".
What this means is that for every gram of phosphorus ingested in the diet, the body must match that with another gram of calcium before the phosphorus can be absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. If the
required calcium is not available from the diet, the body will obtain it from wherever it can---such as from the storage depots in the bones. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that in any iguana performing stressful exercise (as well as remodeling bone in response to conditioning), you do NOT want calcium being removed from and decreasing bone integrity. This is where the whole idea of calcium-phosphorus ratios comes in. The purpose of
calculating such a ratio is to make sure that for every gram of phosphorus you're feeding, you're feeding AT LEAST an equal amount of calcium (a 1:1 ratio or better), so that calcium isn't being continually mobilized from bones. Most nutritionists recommend that the ideal levels are somewhere between 1.2-2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus.

It would be very easy to have an inverted calcium-phosphorus ratio (less calcium being ingested than phosphorus). Over the lifetime of an iguana, this may contribute to a decrease in bone density, as well as may decrease calcium
availability for muscular contraction during exercise. The result being metabolic bone disease (MBD).

**side note:
This was originally taken off of an equestrian site but explains the same principal as pertains to an iguana. I replaced only the words horse with iguana and took out what would only be suitable for the iguana enthusiast.

**Additional comments:
This is where the Ca:P ratio is so important in the growth chart of an ig who has not yet reached full length. The 2:1 ratio needs to be kept as close as possible in this range. The original author states that at least an equal match of one to the other. This is not sufficient for the growing ig who's bones are growing and lengthening at a tremendous rate ...especially in their first year. They need the broader ratio in
order to grow at the proper density needed to keep them healthy and strong.



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