RDA

The Recommended Daily Allowance


In my readings, I have found that most nutritionists do not like the RDA. Most of their reasons sound valid. After all, people are different in height and weight. I've heard that the RDA is based on a male that is 5'11" and 150 pounds, and a female that is 5'3" and 120 pounds, but I can't substantiate that. I tried reading the Surgeon General's Report but got hopelessly lost. All I know is that while the government is apparently taking a stab at naming a value that people need, most nutritionists consider the RDA to be way too low for most people. In most cases, nutritionists conclude that the RDA is really the absolute minimum that people should consume.

On my pages of vitamins and minerals, I have listed the RDA whenever I could find one. I feel that even though it may not be completely valid for every person, it is at least a starting point. I also have made sure to list values that nutritionists have given as a necessary amount as well as a maximum.

Below is a chart that gives the current standards.


FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

Age

Vitamin A

Retinal equivalents in milligrams.

Vitamin D

(microgram)

Vitamin E

(mg)
Infants birth-1/2 375 300 4
1/2-1 375 400 6
Children 1-3 400 400 9
4-6 500 400 10
7-10 700 400 10
Males 11-14 1000 400 15
15-18 1000 400 15
19-24 1000 400 15
25-50 1000 200 15
51+ 1000 200 15
Females 11-14 800 400 12
15-18 800 400 12
19-24 800 400 12
25-50 800 200 12
51+ 800 200 12
Pregnant Women 800 400 15
Lactating Women 1st 6 months 1300 400 18
2nd 6 months 1200 400 16

WATER-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

Vitamin B(1)

(mg)

Vitamin B(2)

(mg)

Vitamin B(3)

(mg)

Vitamin B(6)

(mg)

Vitamin B(12)

(microgram)

Folic Acid

(microgram)

Vitamin C

(ascorbic acid) (mg)
Infants birth-1/2 0.3 0.4 5 0.3 0.3 25 30
1/2-1 0.4 0.5 6 0.6 0.5 35 35
Children 1-3 0.7 0.8 9 1.0 0.7 50 40
4-6 0.9 1.1 12 1.1 1.0 75 45
7-10 1.0 1.2 13 1.4 1.4 100 45
Males 11-14 1.3 1.5 17 1.7 2.0 150 50
15-18 1.5 1.8 20 2.0 2.0 200 60
19-22 1.5 1.7 19 2.0 2.0 200 60
23-50 1.5 1.7 19 2.0 2.0 200 60
51+ 1.2 1.4 15 2.0 2.0 200 60
Females 11-14 1.1 1.3 15 1.4 2.0 150 50
15-18 1.1 1.3 15 1.5 2.0 180 60
19-22 1.1 1.3 15 1.6 2.0 180 60
23-50 1.1 1.3 15 1.6 2.0 180 60
51+ 1.0 1.2 13 1.6 2.0 180 60
Pregnant Women 1.5 1.6 17 2.2 2.2 400 70
Lactating Women 1st 6 months 1.6 1.8 20 2.1 2.6 280 95
2nd 6 months 1.6 1.7 20 2.1 2.6 260 90

MINERALS

Age

Calcium

(mg)

Phosphorus

(mg)

Iodine

(microgram)

Iron

(mg)

Magnesium

(mg)

Zinc

(mg)
Infants birth-1/2 400 300 40 6 40 5
1/2-1 600 500 50 10 60 5
Children 1-3 800 800 70 10 80 10
4-6 800 800 90 10 120 10
7-10 800 800 120 10 170 10
Males 11-14 1200 1200 150 12 270 15
15-18 1200 1200 150 12 400 15
19-24 800 1200 150 10 350 15
25-50 800 800 150 10 350 15
51+ 800 800 150 10 350 15
Females 11-14 1200 1200 150 15 280 12
15-18 1200 1200 150 15 300 12
19-24 1200 1200 150 15 280 12
25-50 800 800 150 15 280 12
51+ 800 800 150 10 280 12
Pregnant Women 1200 1200 175 30 320 15
Lactating Women 1st 6 months 1200 1200 200 15 355 19
2nd 6 months 1200 1200 200 15 340 16

*These vitamins and minerals are the amounts that should be present in a variety of common foods, which will also contain other nutrients, the requirement of which are less well defined. The amounts given allow for variation between individuals and ordinary environmental stresses.

SOURCE: Table is modified from the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board, Recommended Daily allowances, 10th ed. (Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1989).