approaches that, when considered alone, do not permit a reasonably confident estimate of an EAR.

Comparison of Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes

There is much less certainty about an AI value than about an RDA value. Because AIs depend on a greater degree of judgment than is applied in estimating an EAR and subsequently an RDA, an AI may deviate significantly from, and be numerically higher than, an RDA. For this reason AIs must be used with greater care than is the case for RDAs. Also, an RDA is usually calculated from an EAR by using a formula that takes into account the expected variation in the requirement for the nutrient.

Both the AI and the RDA are to be used as goals for individual intake. In general the values are intended to cover the needs of nearly all apparently healthy persons in a life stage group. (For infants the AI is the mean intake when infants in the age group are consuming human milk. Larger infants may have greater needs, which they meet by consuming more milk.) The AI for a nutrient is expected to exceed the RDA for that nutrient, and thus it should cover the needs of more than 97 to 98 percent of individuals in the life stage group. The degree to which the AI exceeds the RDA is likely to differ among nutrients and population groups. As with RDAs, AIs for children and adolescents may be extrapolated from adult values if no other usable data are available.

For people who have diseases that increase specific nutrient requirements or who have other special health needs, the RDA and AI each may serve as the basis for adjusting individual recommendations. Qualified health professionals should adapt the recommended intake to cover higher or lower needs.

Tolerable Upper Intake Level

The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the highest level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals in the specified life stage group (see Figure 4-2). As intake increases above the UL, there is the potential for an increased risk of adverse effects. The term tolerable was chosen to avoid implying a possible beneficial effect. Instead the term is intended to connote a level of intake that can, with high probability, be tolerated biologically. The UL is not intended to be a recommended level of intake as there is no established benefit for healthy



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