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Vitamins, minerals and nutrition RDAs

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) that have been published since 1941 by the National Academy of Sciences are outdated and have been revised.  National Label Act of 1990 required labeling of these RDAs that were published in 1969.  New data have been published and are called the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).  These  are nutrient-based reference values for use in planning and assessing diets.  You will not see these values on labels since the manufacturer is not required to put them on the labels until a new law is passed.

The DRIs reflect a shift in emphasis from preventing deficiency to decreasing the risk of chronic disease through nutrition. The RDAs were based on the amounts needed to protect against deficiency diseases. Where adequate scientific data exist, the DRIs will include levels that can help prevent cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, certain cancers, and other diseases that are diet-related. Instead of a single category, the DRIs will encompass at least four:  (Sorry about the alphabet soup!)

1. Estimated Average Requirement (EAR): The intake that meets the estimated nutrient need of 50% the individuals in a specific group.

2. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): The intake that meets the nutrient need of almost all (97 to 98%) of the healthy individuals in a specific age and gender group. The RDA should be used in guiding individuals to achieve adequate nutrient intake aimed at decreasing the risk of chronic disease. It is based on estimating an average requirement plus an increase to account for the variation within a particular group.  If sufficient data are not available, the RDA is set at 1.2 x EAR.

3. Adequate Intake (AI): When sufficient scientific evidence is not available to estimate an average requirement, Adequate Intakes (AIs) will be set. These are derived though experimental or observational data that show a mean intake which appears to sustain a desired indicator of health, such as calcium retention in bone. The DRI committee set AIs for calcium, vitamin D, and fluoride.

4. Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): The maximum intake by an individual that is unlikely to pose risks of adverse health effects in almost all healthy individuals in a specified group. The UL is not intended to be a recommended level of intake, and there is no established benefit for individuals to consume nutrients at levels above the RDA or AI. The term "tolerable upper intake level" was chosen to avoid implying a possible beneficial effect. For most nutrients, it refers to total intake from food, fortified food, and supplements.  It is not advised to take more than this level of nutrient.

I recommend liquid Polyvisol with Iron for strictly breast fed infants... starting the first month of life.  Then I recommend chewable vitamins for 1 yr olds through adults (and pills for 10yr and older who can swallow pills) that contain iron and zinc .  The only place we get iron and zinc is from red meat.  We tend to eat less of that and the 1-4 yr olds don't like meat.  liquid vitamins do not have the zinc and gummy vitamins do not have iron plus too much sugar.  Most kids use Flintstone but it does not matter what brand as long as there is iron and zinc.

Happy Nutrition.

Dr. Knapp