Recommended Daily Allowance

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

For almost all vitamins and minerals the EU has issued recommendations on the daily amount needed for normal healthy people. These recommendations are known as the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and are based on the average need of the population.

The RDA is the amount of daily vitamins and minerals needed to be taken via the daily diet for optimal performance of all processes within the body.

RDA of vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and mineral requirements vary from individual to individual, due to a series of factors such as weight, height, age, sex, and hereditary factors related to the metabolism. In addition, different lifestyles affect our need for vitamins and minerals, such as smoking, alcohol and diet choices.

So, RDA provides a wide margin of requirements so as to include as many people as possible, taking into account differing recommended levels for infants, children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. RDA also takes into account differences in age and sex. Pregnant women and lactating mothers also have established RDA specifications.

Where it is tricky to establish an accepted RDA, an AI (Adequate Intake) is instead established, or an estimate of the minimum quantity of vitamins and minerals that the body usually needs is stated.

In addition to RDA and AI for all major vitamins and minerals an upper limit, or toleration limit, has been established so that safe use of supplements can be encouraged. This upper limit of intake is higher than the RDA or AI.

RDA and food supplements

Labels of dietary supplements will indicate the degree to which the product meets the requirements of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals. However, labels such as these do not take into account gender and age, and therefore represent only an indication of the amount of vitamins and minerals needed by the body.

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