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What are some key terms on the label for vitamins and minerals?

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Some key terms to understand on the labels of vitamins and minerals:

  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and Adequate Intake (AI) are how much you need to keep healthy. They’re tailored by age and gender.
  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the most amount you can safely take. Taking too much of some nutrients can lead to an overdose or serious side effects.
  • Daily Value (DV) is the only measurement you’ll see on packaged foods and supplements. It’s how much of a vitamin or nutrient should make up a diet of 2,000 calories a day. The DV is sometimes the same as the RDA.

SOURCES:

Institute of Medicine (IOM): "Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D."

Paul M. Coates, PhD, director, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

FamilyDoctor.org: "Vitamins and Minerals: What You Should Know."

International Food Information Council: "Dietary Reference Intakes: An Update."

National Osteoporosis Foundation: "NOF Scientific Statement: National Osteoporosis Foundation's Updated Recommendations for Calcium and Vitamin D3 Intake."

Office of Dietary Supplements: "Dietary Reference Intakes."

Paul R. Thomas, EdD, RD, scientific consultant, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 19, 2018

SOURCES:

Institute of Medicine (IOM): "Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D."

Paul M. Coates, PhD, director, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

FamilyDoctor.org: "Vitamins and Minerals: What You Should Know."

International Food Information Council: "Dietary Reference Intakes: An Update."

National Osteoporosis Foundation: "NOF Scientific Statement: National Osteoporosis Foundation's Updated Recommendations for Calcium and Vitamin D3 Intake."

Office of Dietary Supplements: "Dietary Reference Intakes."

Paul R. Thomas, EdD, RD, scientific consultant, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 19, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

How do you know when it's OK to take more vitamins and minerals than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) or daily value (DV)?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.