THE RECOMMENDED daily allowance
(RDA) of foods and supplements has traditionally been set by
government health bodies in the USA, UK, and Europe. In the USA,
RDA stands for "Recommended Daily Dietary Allowance, which
is established for each vitamin and mineral by the Food and
Nutritional Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The US figures quoted here
are from the FDA. In the UK the Department of Health gave the RDA
for vitamins A, C, and D, three of the B vitamins, and three
minerals in 1979. However, in 1993 the European Union - (EU)
issued a directive on food labelling for its members, which
included RDAs for twelve vitamins and six minerals. As a result,
UK food labels are being revised to include the EU
recommendations, although it may be some time before they appear.
In addition, the government of the UK issued a report in 1991 suggesting new guidelines for daily requirements of vitamins and minerals, which would replace the RDAs. These are called, collectively, Dietary Reference Values (DRVs), and consist of these terms:
Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), which should meet the requirements of half of the population.
Reference Nutrient Intake (KNI), which replaces the former RDA, is meant to represent the nutrient requirements of some 97 percent of the population. The amount recommended is higher than most people actually need. The EAR meets the requirements of half of the population; of the remaining half some need more and some need less than the EAR.
Lower Reference Nutrient Intake
Is the nutritional requirement for those whose needs are low Most people will need more than this amount in order to maintain their health. Anyone who is getting less than the LRNI might be in danger of nutritional deficiency.
The following list describes those vitamins and minerals that should be present in the daily diet. The descriptions include the RDAs P for the USA, UK, and the EU. The amounts given are those that should be taken to prevent a vitamin or mineral deficiency, not those needed to improve health or prevent non-deficiency diseases.
[Vitamin A] [Vitamin B1] [Vitamin
B2] [Vitamin B3] [Vitamin B5] [Vitamin
B6] [Vitamin B9] [Vitamin B12]
[Vitamin BIOTIN] [Vitamin C] [Vitamin D] [Vitamin E] [Mineral CALCIUM] [Mineral IRON]
[Mineral IODINE] [Mineral MAGNESIUM] [Mineral PHOSPHORUS] [Mineral ZINC]
is necessary for healthy skin and the ability to see in poor light conditions. The body manufactures vitamin A (retinol) from plants containing beta-carotene, but vitamin A is directly available from a few animal foods (e.g., liver and some fish). This vitamin is fat-soluble.'
RDA is: 5000 iu2 (US); 750µg3 (UK); 800µg (EU).
thiamine is necessary for healing and maintaining the nervous system and for the metabolism of carbohydrates. This vitamin is water-soluble.
RDA is: .2.1.5mg (US);1.2mg (UK);1.4mg (EU).
riboflavin is required for metabolising foods, manufacturing and repairing tissues, and maintaining healthy mucous membranes. This vitamin is water-soluble.
RDA is: 1.7mg (US); none current (UK); 6mg (EU).
niacin belongs to the vitamin B complex. It is necessary for the efficient functioning of the digestive and nervous systems. It also helps in metabolising foods. This vitamin is water-soluble.
RDA is: 1.3-1.8mg (US); none current(UK); 8mg (EU).
pantothenic acid is needed to release energy from fats and other foods, and to promote normal growth and development. This vitamin is water-soluble.
RDA is: 4.7mg (US) (new figures give 10mg); none current (UK); 6mg (EU).
pyridoxine is necessary for metabolising the amino acids in proteins, the formation of antibodies and red blood cells, and for maintaining a healthy digestive and nervous system. This vitamin is water-soluble.
RDA is: Zmg (US); none current (UK); 2mg (EU).
folic acid is necessary for maintaining the digestive and nervous systems and works with B12 in the formation of red blood cells and genetic material. This vitamin is water-soluble.
RDA is: 4OOµg (US); 200µg (UK); 3OOµg (EU).
is necessary for maintaining the nervous system, red blood formation, cell division during growth, and the development of genetic material. This vitamin is water-soluble.
RDA is: 3µg (US); 1µg (UK); 2µg (EU).
is necessary for energy release from fats. It is water-soluble.
RDA is: 300µg (US); none current (UK); 0.l5mg (EU).
ascorbic acid is required for healthy skin, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. It assists in the absorption of iron, in healing wounds and broken bones, and is necessary for the prevention of scurvy This vitamin is water-soluble. RDA is: 6Omg (US); 3Omg (UK); EOmg (EU).
is required for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. This vitamin is fat-soluble.
RDA is: 4OOiu (US); 2.5µg (UK); 5µg (EU).
helps to protect body tissues and is important for the prevention of anemia, although the precise role that this vitamin plays in the body is not clear. This vitamin is fat-soluble.
RDA is: lOmg (US); none current (UK); lOmg (EU).
is needed for the growth and development of healthy bones and teeth.
RDA is: 8OOmg (US); 5OOmg (UK); SOOmg (EU).
is vital for the formation of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
RDA is: 10-30mg/18mg for pregnant women (US); 12 mg (UK); l4mg (EU).
is necessary for regulating the thyroid gland.
RDA is: 150µg (US); l40µg (UK); 150µg (EU).
is necessary for strong bones, the release of energy from food, and the transmission of nerve impulses and muscular movements.
RDA is: 350mg (US); none current (UK); 3OOmg (EU).
is required for maintaining body functions, the production of energy, and, with calcium and magnesium, the maintenance of healthy teeth and bones.
RDA is: 30D-400mg (US); none current (UK); 800mg (EU).
helps to develop a healthy immune system and is necessary for growth and development, including that of the reproductive system.
The RDA is: l5mg (US); none current (UK); l5mg (EU).
The most palatable way to
get your daily vitamin and mineral requirement is to eat a
balanced nutritious diet.