Dietary Reference Intakes: A Risk Assessment Model for Establishing Upper Intake Levels for Nutrients1
The model for risk assessment of nutrients used to develop tolerable upper intake levels (ULs) is one of the key elements of the developing framework for Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). DRIs are dietary reference values for the intake of nutrients and food components by Americans and Canadians. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences recently released two reports in the series (IOM, 1997, 1998). The overall project is a comprehensive effort undertaken by the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI Committee) of the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences in the United States, with active involvement of Health Canada. The DRI project is the result of significant discussion from 1991 to 1996 by the FNB regarding how to approach the growing concern that one set of quantitative estimates of recommended intakes, the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), was scientifically inappropriate to be used as the basis for many of the uses to which it had come to be applied. The lack of specific determinations of maximum or tolerable upper levels of intake was noted (IOM, 1994).
The two DRI reports issued to date provide recommended intakes (see Appendix A) and upper levels of intake for two groups of nutrients and food components: calcium and related nutrients, and folate, B vitamins, and choline. Currently, the DRI Committee and panels of experts are reviewing dietary antioxidants and related compounds, with similar reviews planned for other micronutrients including electrolytes and fluid, macronutrients, and other food