The RDA, or Recommended Daily Dietary Allowance, is the amount of some vitamins and minerals established by the United States Food and Nutrition Board and National Research Council as the amount of nutrients to adequately meet the needs of practically all healthy people.
How are the RDAs determined? No set standard or formula is applied. Some of the methods used include short-term human starvation studies, animal studies, and statistical analysis of standard population intakes correlated with the incidence of clinical nutrient-deficiency states. If a nutrient has no known deficiency state, evaluation of the average intake of the particular nutrient by the standard person is calculated. What does this mean? It means that the standard American who consumes the typical diet of low fiber, sugar enriched, highly processed, high-fat food is studied. As an example, since he shows no evidence of scurvy or beriberi, 60 mg of vitamin C or 1.5 mg of vitamin B1 is all that is necessary. The flaws in this scenario are obvious. With our chiropractic background, we see right away that healthy people are not being studied. As a student of nutrition and practicing nutrition, it is also quite apparent that there is a large gap between the amount of a nutrient needed to prevent a frank deficiency and the amount needed to block subclinical or subacute states. Referring to the vitamin C example above, slow wound healing, decreased immune response, easy bruising, and free radical damage are but a few of the many conditions that may occur in a person who only consumes 60 mg of vitamin C a day. In conclusion, do not be afraid to exceed the RDAs when supplementing your patients nutritionally. As chiropractors, our goal is one of optimal health for our patients and the general population. This goal mandates a clinical assessment of our patients' individual biochemical needs, needs the RDA may not, in all cases, supply.
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