Dipotassium Phosphate – Uses & Side Effects (In Food)

Dipotassium phosphate (DKP), also known as dibasic potassium phosphate, potassium phosphate dibasic, dipotassium hydrogen orthophosphate, dipotassium hydrogen phosphate, is a highly water-soluble salt that is commonly used as a food additive, fertilizer, and buffering agent. It has the chemical formula – K2HPO4.  

Phosphate is a charged particle that contains the mineral phosphorus. The human body requires phosphorus to repair and build teeth and bones, make muscles contract, and help nerves function.

Moreover, phosphate is used as a building block for numerous essential substances, including those utilized by deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or cell membranes.

Also, it plays a major role in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), better known as the “molecular unit of currency,” a high-energy molecule that you need for energy.


It can be utilized in a broad variety of industries, such as – beverage, food production, and many other industries.

Increasing the use of dipotassium phosphates in coffee creamers (recently found in some McDonald’s products) as a soluble buffer is expected to significantly drive the product sales of the phosphate.


It is used mainly by weightlifters and endurance athletes since it helps to build endurance while allowing a faster recovery between training sessions. It is recommended to use it if you plan to train nonstop for minimum of half an hour.

Note – for high energy levels, it is better to eat foods high in phosphorus such as – white beans, sunflower seeds, almonds, mung beans, brown rice, broccoli, sweet potatoes, sesame seeds, potatoes, cauliflower, chia seeds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, soybeans, lentils, adzuki beans, chickpeas, or red kidney beans.

Furthermore, DKP is widely used as an anti-caking agent in numerous beverages. Anticaking agents function either by coating particles and making them water repellent or by absorbing excess moisture. Also, it is used in powdered food products, like – spices, instant soups, and salt.

As an anti-caking agent, this substance is also used in dry powder beverages and imitation dairy creamers to prevent coagulation. Moreover, it is used as a nutrient source during yeast production and other fermentation processes and as a mineral supplement for pharmaceuticals.

Dairy Products

Lastly, it is used in cheese, coffee creamer, meat processing, and evaporated milk. Sometimes, it performs the role of humectants (or moisturizers), hence, preventing food from drying. Usual foods include drinking chocolate, cooked and other cured meats, and cream powders.

This substance can also be found in multivitamins and minerals supplements in various forms to accommodate the recommended and needed dietary value of 700-750 milligrams per day for adults.

Similar to phosphoric acid, this compound is used in the production of detergents and fertilizers, and a few pharmaceutical products.

Is It Vegan-Friendly?

Yes, since it is produced using ingredients suitable for the vegan diet.

Side Effects of Dipotassium Phosphate

It’s “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA – U.S. Food and Drug Administration. GRAS refers to the part of the Food Additives Amendment of 1958.

For a compound to be considered GRAS, the scientific information and data about the use of it should be widely known as well as there must be a consensus among scientists that the information they have about that compound is 100 percent safe under the conditions of its intended use.

Therefore, no significant side effects were reported about DKP. However, there is only concern regarding its prolonged use that may disrupt the balance of phosphates and other chemicals in the human body. Possible side effects when used in large dosage and for a long period of time include:

  • headaches;
  • kidney disease;
  • nausea;
  • dizziness;
  • vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • constipation;
  • arterial stiffening;
  • confusion;
  • heart disease;
  • hyperphosphatemia.

Hyperphosphatemia can occur in people with severe kidney dysfunction because the kidneys are responsible for excreting excess phosphates from the human body.

Therefore, if there is too much phosphate in the body or if the kidneys are not working correctly, phosphate concentrations in the blood will rise. Dialysis, commonly used to treat kidney dysfunction, is not very efficient at removing excess phosphate; hence, this procedure does not lower the risk of hyperphosphatemia.

Individuals prone to this condition are usually those with end-stage renal disease. For example, in the US, around 250,000 individuals are affected by this end-stage renal disease. Excessive intake of phosphate through drink or food is another cause of hyperphosphatemia.

Also, hyperphosphatemia can occur from a transcellular shift of phosphate into the extracellular space which is overwhelmed. This usually happens in crush injuries, diabetic ketoacidosis (despite total body phosphate depletion), systemic infections, non-traumatic rhabdomyolysis, and tumor lysis syndrome.

Signs and symptoms of acute hyperphosphatemia include – pruritus, tetany, bone and joint pain, muscle cramps, a rash, and perioral tingling or numbness.

More importantly, when the human body has very high levels of phosphorus, it can interfere with the body’s use of other minerals, such as – magnesium, iron, and zinc as well as it causes another essential mineral – calcium – to be leached from the bones, leading to a higher risk of osteoporosis (important note – osteoporosis causes over 9 million fractures every year worldwide).

Additionally, too much phosphorus can affect the functionality of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, ultimately leading to an increase in mortality and morbidity of the affected sufferers.

Image credit – Shutterstock

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5 thoughts on “Dipotassium Phosphate – Uses & Side Effects (In Food)”

  1. Very helpful…..just bo’t some “oat milk”. Dairy free…but it has 2% or less of dipotassium phosphate….and I needed to know about it,thanks very much

  2. Thank you for the article. I use milk with tea and with instant decaf coffee in the evening. I keep evaporated milk on hand in case I run out of milk. Recently, I have been using it instead of milk because I prefer the taste. I have about 4 hot drinks with added evaporated milk per day.

    I’m still not sure if this amount of daily dipotassium phosphate should concern me or not.

  3. Thank you for this information. I pride myself knowing what I place in my mouth at all times. I am shocked to find out what the government allows companies to put into products that are purchased from people in the USA. Why can’t we be like the EU and only put natural ingredients in their products??

    • I don’t think the author responds to comments in here. I also am an avid health researcher and work hard to avoid artificial and unhealthy ingredients. So far, I have learned that both Dipotassium phosphate (DKP) and DCP (DiCalcium Phosphate) are the worst of their mineral forms for nutrient ingredients. I learned many years ago that DCP actually impedes the body’s absorption of minerals. Quite ironic. So I try to avoid those 2 chemical ingredients and seek their natural counterparts.


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