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Question:
What is the difference between the RDA and the DV for vitamins and minerals?

Answer:
The RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for vitamins and minerals are set by the set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences and for each nutrient, may vary depending on age, gender, and for women who are pregnant or lactating. The RDAs do not typically appear on food and supplement labels.

The DVs (Daily Values) are set by the FDA. On food and supplement labels, you will find the "%DV" listed for vitamins and minerals which are required by law to be listed. Until the FDA updated the DVs in 2016, many DVs (which were originally set in 1968) did not necessarily reflect the latest intake recommendations from the IOM, and did not carefully distinguish needs by age and gender -- there was just one DV established for each vitamin and mineral for all healthy adults and children age 4 and over. The new DVs more closely reflect the RDAs and include separate DVs specifically for infants, children 1 to 3 years of age, and pregnant/lactating women, in addition to the original category of all healthy adults and children age 4 and over. The new DVs for this last category of people are now generally based on the highest RDA for this population.

However, large companies are not required to update labels with the new DVs until January 2020, and smaller companies, until January 2021 — so labels that you currently see on supplements may very well still show the "%DV" for the old DVs.

For more details about the updated DVs, and a summary of the most significant changes, see ConsumerLab.com Helps Consumers Make Sense of the FDA's Updated Daily Values (DV) for Vitamins and Minerals >>

For the most current RDAs and DVs, as well as Upper Limits, for vitamins and minerals, see ConsumerLab.com's Recommended Daily Intakes and Upper Limits for Nutrients page >>

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How can the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium be higher than the Upper Tolerable Intake Level (UL)? That is, how can an amount which is healthful also put you at risk for harm? >>

Are the "% DV" numbers on vitamin supplement labels really based on what I need? >>



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This CL Answer initially posted on 10/21/2017.

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