Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs)

The growing trade in vitamin and mineral supplements has given rise to a number of medical studies to assess their value. Many of these have concluded that supplements are unnecessary.

A number of national medical authorities have published Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) — or Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI) — for minerals, expressed in milligrams (mg) and micrograms (mcg). The lists all vary slightly, and vary with specifications for age and gender, but typical values include:

Calcium 1200 mg
Chromium 100 mcg
Copper 900 mcg
Iodine 150 mcg
Iron 18 mg
Magnesium 400 mg
Manganese 2 mg
Molybdenum 45 mcg
Phosphorus 1000 mg
Selenium 55 mcg
Zinc 15 mg

The RDAs generally coincide with the minerals that are naturally available through a healthy and balanced diet — and represent the levels needed to avoid mineral deficiency. There are equivalent RDAs for vitamins.

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