How Much of the Essential Nutrients Do We Need

If our diet fails to consistently provide adequate amounts of an essential nutrient, over time signs of deficiency will result. To address this notion, the first Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) were developed by the United States government in the early 1940s. Other countries

Table 3.1 Essential Nutrients for Humans

Energy Nutrients Vitamins

Protein/essential amino acids Carbohydrates Fat

Minerals Other

Calcium, zinc, copper, Water sodium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, chromium, chloride, molybdenum, fluoride, selenium manganese, iodide, chromium

Vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B6, B12j thiamin, folate, biotin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline have similar recommendations. Recently, US and Canadian scientists pooled their resources to develop a more detailed set of nutrition recommendations collectively called the Dietary Reference Intakes or DRIs (Tables 3.2a-e). The DRIs include the RDAs, which speak more to preventing deficiency and promoting normal growth, development, and normal health for most people, as well as other applications such as average requirements and toxicity levels.

The DRIs are periodically scrutinized and revised based on the most current research findings. If an essential nutrient has enough research to allow for more specific recommendations to be made, then the recommendation level is called an RDA. Simply put, an RDA is the average daily level of nutrient needed to prevent deficiency and to promote general well-being for about 98 percent of a specific gender, age, and condition. On the other hand, for some nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium, an Adequate Intake (AI) level is listed instead of RDA.

Table 3.2a Recommended Dietary Allowance: Median Heights and Weights

Age (years) Weight Height Average Energy Allowance or Condition (kcal)

Table 3.2a Recommended Dietary Allowance: Median Heights and Weights

Age (years) Weight Height Average Energy Allowance or Condition (kcal)

(kg)

(lb)

(cm)

(in)

(kg)

Per Day

Infants

0.0-0.5

6

13

60

24

108

650

0.5-1.0

9

20

71

28

98

850

Children

1.0-3.0

13

29

90

35

102

1300

4.0-6.0

20

44

112

44

90

1800

7.0-10

28

62

132

52

70

2000

Males

11.0-14

45

99

157

62

55

2500

15-18

66

145

176

69

45

3000

19-24

72

160

177

70

40

2900

25-50

79

174

176

70

37

2900

51 +

77

170

173

68

30

2300

Females

11.0-14

46

101

157

62

47

2200

15-18

55

120

163

64

40

2200

19-24

58

128

164

65

38

2200

25-50

63

138

163

64

36

2200

51+

65

143

160

63

30

1900

Pregnant

1st semester

plus 0

2nd semester

plus 300

3rd semester

plus 300

Lactating

1st 6 months

plus 500

2nd

plus 500

6 months

Table 3.2b Recommended Dietary Allowance: Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Age (years) or Vitamin A Vitamin D Vitamin E Vitamin K

Age (years) or Vitamin A Vitamin D Vitamin E Vitamin K

Table 3.2b Recommended Dietary Allowance: Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Condition

(ßg)*

(ßg)

(mg)

(ßg)

Infants

0-0.5

400

5

4

2

0.5-1.0

500

5

5

2.5

Children

1-3

300

5

6

30

4-8

400

5

7

55

Males

9-13

600

5

11

60

14-18

900

5

15

75

19-30

900

5

15

120

31-50

900

5

15

120

50-70

900

10

15

120

>70

900

15

15

120

Females

9-13

600

5

11

60

14-18

700

5

15

75

19-30

700

5

15

90

31-50

700

5

15

90

50-70

700

10

15

90

>70

700

15

15

90

Pregnant

<18

750

5

15

75

19-30

770

5

15

90

31-50

770

5

15

90

Lactating

<18

1,200

10

19

75

19-30

1,300

10

19

90

31-50

1,300

19

90

Some of the values listed as RDA are Adequate Intake (AI) Values set by the Nutrition and Food Board. AI are similar to RDA, but lack the same knowledge base. * Vitamin A recommendations can be expressed as Retinol Equivalents (RE) where 1 RE = |ig retinal, 12 |ig a-carotene, 24 |ig a-carotene or a-cryptoxanthin 1 |ig of vitamin D = 40 IU Vitamin D.

Some of the values listed as RDA are Adequate Intake (AI) Values set by the Nutrition and Food Board. AI are similar to RDA, but lack the same knowledge base. * Vitamin A recommendations can be expressed as Retinol Equivalents (RE) where 1 RE = |ig retinal, 12 |ig a-carotene, 24 |ig a-carotene or a-cryptoxanthin 1 |ig of vitamin D = 40 IU Vitamin D.

An RDA is the level of an essential nutrient determined to be adequate for most people to prevent deficiency and to support well-being.

Like RDAs, Als are also recommendations for a given nutrient, however there is not enough of a certain type of scientific information to designate a RDA quantity. Thus difference between a RDA and an AI is mostly the type and level of research studies that can be applied to the nutritional needs of a particular nutrient. An RDA is set when research allows for a more detailed understanding of how much of a particular nutrient is needed to prevent deficiency and promote general health. Meanwhile, Als tend to be based more on studies of large populations of people and an observed level of intake of that nutrient that is associated with general health and no deficiency.

Table 3.2c Recommended Dietary Allowance: Water-Soluble Vitamins

Age (years)

Vitamin C

Thiamin

Riboflavin

Niacin

Vitamin B6

Folate

Vitamin Bn

Biotin

Fantothenic

Choline

or Condition

Acid

mg/day

mg/day

mg/day

mg/day *

mg/day

fig/day

ßg/day

ßg/day

mg/day

mg/day

Infants

0-0.5

40

0.2

0.3

2

0.1

65

0.4

5

1.7

125

0.5-1.0

50

0.3

0.4

4

0.3

80

0.5

6

1.8

150

Children

1-3

15

0.5

0.5

6

0.5

150

0.9

8

2

200

4-8

25

0.6

0.6

8

0.6

200

1.2

12

3

250

Males

9-13

45

0.9

0.9

12

1.0

300

1.8

20

4

375

14-18

75

1.2

1.3

16

1.3

400

2.4

25

5

550

19-30

90

1.2

1.3

16

1.3

400

2.4

30

5

550

31-50

90

1.2

1.3

16

1.3

400

2.4

30

5

550

50-70

90

1.2

1.3

16

1.7

400

2.4

30

5

550

>70

90

1.2

1.3

16

1.7

400

2.4

30

5

550

Females

9-13

45

0.9

0.9

12

1.0

300

1.8

20

4

375

14-18

65

1.0

1.0

14

1.2

400

2.4

25

5

400

19-30

75

1.1

1.1

14

1.3

400

2.4

30

5

425

31-50

75

1.1

1.1

14

1.3

400

2.4

30

5

425

50-70

75

1.1

1.1

14

1.5

400

2.4

30

5

425

>70

75

1.1

1.1

14

1.5

400

2.4

30

5

425

Pregnant

<18

80

1.4

1.4

18

1.9

600

2.6

30

6

450

19-30

85

1.4

1.4

18

1.9

600

2.6

30

6

450

31-50

85

1.4

1.4

18

1.9

600

2.6

30

6

450

<18

115

1.4

1.6

17

2

500

2.8

35

7

550

19-30

120

1.4

1.6

17

2

500

2.8

35

7

550

31-50

120

1.4

1.6

17

2

500

2.8

35

7

550

Some of the values listed as RDA are Adequate Intake (AI) Values set by the Nutrition and Food Board. AI are similar to RDA, but lack the same knowledge base.

* Niacin recommendations can be expressed as Niacin Equivalents (NE) where 1 NE = 1 mg niacin = 60 mg of tryptophan.

Some of the values listed as RDA are Adequate Intake (AI) Values set by the Nutrition and Food Board. AI are similar to RDA, but lack the same knowledge base.

* Niacin recommendations can be expressed as Niacin Equivalents (NE) where 1 NE = 1 mg niacin = 60 mg of tryptophan.

Table 3.2d Recommended Dietary Allowance: Minerals

Age (years) or Condition

Calcium mg/day

Phosphorus mg/day

Magnesium mg/day

Iron mg/day

Zi«c mg/day

Selenium ßg/day

Copper ßg/day

Infants

0-0.5

210

100

30

0.27

2

15

200

0.5-1.0

270

275

75

11

3

20

220

Children

1-3

500

460

80

7

3

20

340

4-8

1300

500

130

10

5

30

440

Males

9-13

1300

1250

240

8

8

40

700

14-18

1300

1250

410

11

11

55

890

19-30

1000

700

400

8

11

55

900

31-50

1000

700

420

8

11

55

900

50-70

1200

700

420

8

11

55

900

>70

1200

700

420

8

11

55

900

Females

9-13

1300

1250

240

8

8

40

700

14-18

1300

1250

360

15

9

55

890

19-30

1000

1200

310

18

8

55

900

31-50

1000

700

320

18

8

55

900

50-70

1200

700

320

8

8

55

900

>70

1200

700

320

8

8

55

900

Pregnant

<18

1300

1250

400

27

12

60

1000

19-30

1000

700

350

27

11

60

1000

31-50

1000

700

360

27

11

60

1000

<18

1300

1250

360

10

13

70

1300

19-30

1000

700

310

9

12

70

1300

31-50

1000

700

320

9

12

70

1300

Some of the values listed as RDA are Adequate Intake (AI) Values set by the Nutrition and Food Board. AI are similar to RDA, but lack the same knowledge base.

Some of the values listed as RDA are Adequate Intake (AI) Values set by the Nutrition and Food Board. AI are similar to RDA, but lack the same knowledge base.

Table 3.2e Recommended Dietary Allowance: Minerals (continued)

Age

Iodine

Chromium

Fluoride

Manganese

Molybdenum

(years) or

ßg/day

Hg/day

mg/day

mg/day

ßg/day

Condition

Infants 0-0.5

110

0.2

0.01

0.003

2

0.5-1.0

130

5.5

0.5

0.6

3

Children 1-3

90

11

0.7

1.2

17

4-8

90

15

1

1.5

22

Males 9-13

120

25

2

1.9

34

14-18

150

35

3

2.2

43

19-30

150

35

4

2.3

45

31-50

150

35

4

2.3

45

50-70

150

30

4

2.3

45

>70

150

30

4

2.3

45

Females 9-13

120

21

2

1.6

34

14-18

150

24

3

1.6

43

19-30

150

25

3

1.8

45

31-50

150

25

3

1.8

45

50-70

150

20

3

1.8

45

>70

150

20

3

1.8

45

Pregnant <18

220

29

3

2

50

19-30

220

30

3

2

50

31-50

220

30

3

2

50

Lactating <18

290

44

3

2.6

50

19-30

290

45

3

2.6

50

31-50

290

45

3

2.6

50

Some of the values listed as RDA are Adequate Intake (AI) Values set by the Nutrition and Food Board. AI are similar to RDA, but lack the same knowledge base.

Some of the values listed as RDA are Adequate Intake (AI) Values set by the Nutrition and Food Board. AI are similar to RDA, but lack the same knowledge base.

Currently there are RDAs and/or AI for vitamins A, D, E, K and C, thiamin (Bx), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, fluoride, chromium, and molybdenum. Sodium, potassium, and chloride also have AI levels. These elements are found in most foods, either naturally or after processing, and are extremely well absorbed into the body after we eat them. Therefore, a deficiency in any of these essential nutrients is unlikely, providing there are no confounding factors.

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