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TABLE 3-3 Qualitative Interpretation of Intakes Relative to the Adequate Intake (AI)

Intake Relative to AI

Suggested Qualitative Interpretation

Greater than or equal to the AI

Mean intake is likely adequate if observed over a large number of days

Less than the AI

Adequacy of intake cannot be determined

Any nutrient for which the CV of daily intakes exceeds about 60 to 70 percent has a skewed daily intake distribution and therefore the test described here cannot be applied. In those cases, a qualitative interpretation of the observed mean intake may be all that is available. Table 3-3 gives some guidance on to how to interpret mean observed intake relative to the AI qualitatively.

Using the UL

If a nutrient has a UL, that value can be used to assess the likelihood that an individual may be at risk of adverse affects from high intake of the nutrient. Doing so requires a good understanding of the definition of the UL and the type of intake (e.g., foods, fortified foods, and/or supplements) that should be considered during the assessment.

The UL is a level of chronic daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals in the general population, including sensitive individuals. For many nutrients, the UL reflects intake from all sources, including food, water, nutrient supplements, and pharmacological agents. However, in some cases the UL applies only to intakes from fortified foods and supplements or intakes from supplements only. As stated previously (see Chapter 1), ULs do not represent optimal or desirable intakes but instead are intakes that should generally not be exceeded by healthy individuals. An occasional intake above the UL by a small margin is not a reason for major concern. However, because it is not possible to know who is most susceptible to adverse effects of intakes above the UL, such intakes should be avoided.



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