So you’re trying to be an informed consumer and you flip a product over to read the nutrition label. Good for you! But then, how do you make sense of what is there? Is 100% of Recommended Dietary Allowance enough? Is 1677% better or just a waste?
the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97 to 98 percent) healthy individuals in a group.
Let’s unpack the full meaning of this statement a little:
- First off, it is a recommendation for total intake throughout the day, ideally first and foremost from food and then from supplements. For example, the Recommended Dietary Allowance of potassium is 4700 mg. This is nearly 5 grams; if one were to take this wholly as a supplement it would likely require over 6 capsules a day! And that would be for just one nutrient. Fortunately, potassium is found in abundant quantities in many common foods, especially vegetables, so meeting the Recommended Dietary Allowance is usually not a problem for most people. Supplements are intended to fill the gaps, not necessarily fill the whole requirement.
- Second, the definition of “considered sufficient” actually refers to what is needed in order to prevent a disease of deficiency. Something like rickets in Vitamin D deficiency or scurvy for Vitamin C deficiency. The Recommended Dietary Allowance does not incorporate what might be needed for optimal function. This is why many of our custom vitamins have well over 100% Recommended Dietary Allowance of some nutrients. Your unique needs indicate a higher amount is needed for optimal function.
- Third, the Recommended Dietary Allowance assumes it will meet the need of 97.5% of healthy individuals. But this clearly leaves open space for an individual’s needs to fall outside of this framing. Some individuals may have genetically unique needs and many individuals are not fully “healthy” either and thus different amounts of nutrients need to be considered for those cases.
This is why custom vitamins are so helpful. They can be tailored to the needs of the individual and establish uniquely for them which are the best vitamins for weight loss, the best vitamins for women, or the best vitamins for high blood pressure. So keep reading those labels and now understand the true meaning behind the numbers you see.