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Consensus Study Report


Since 1941, Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) has been recognized as the most authoritative source of information on nutrient levels for healthy people. Since publication of the 10th edition in 1989, there has been rising awareness of the impact of nutrition on chronic disease. In light of new research findings and a growing public focus on nutrition and health, the expert panel responsible for formulation RDAs reviewed and expanded its approach—the result: Dietary Reference Intakes.

This new series of references greatly extends the scope and application of previous nutrient guidelines. For each nutrient the book presents what is known about how the nutrient functions in the human body, what the best method is to determine its requirements, which factors (caffeine or exercise, for example) may affect how it works, and how the nutrient may be related to chronic disease.

This volume of the series presents information about thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, biotin, and choline.

Based on analysis of nutrient metabolism in humans and data on intakes in the U.S. population, the committee recommends intakes for each age group—from the first days of life through childhood, sexual maturity, midlife, and the later years. Recommendations for pregnancy and lactation also are made, and the book identifies when intake of a nutrient may be too much. Representing a new paradigm for the nutrition community, Dietary Reference Intakes encompasses:

  • Estimated Average Requirements (EARs). These are used to set Recommended Dietary Allowances.
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). Intakes that meet the RDA are likely to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all individuals in a life-stage and gender group.
  • Adequate Intakes (AIs). These are used instead of RDAs when an EAR cannot be calculated. Both the RDA and the AI may be used as goals for individual intake.
  • Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs). Intakes below the UL are unlikely to pose risks of adverse health effects in healthy people.

This new framework encompasses both essential nutrients and other food components thought to pay a role in health, such as dietary fiber. It incorporates functional endpoints and examines the relationship between dose and response in determining adequacy and the hazards of excess intake for each nutrient.


Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 1998. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

592 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-06554-2
  • Hardcover:  978-0-309-06411-8
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-13269-5
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xxiv
Summary 1-16
1 Introduction to Dietary Reference Intakes 17-26
2 The B Vitamins and Choline: Overview and Methods 27-40
3 A Model for the Development of Tolerable Upper Intake Levels 41-57
4 Thiamin 58-86
5 Riboflavin 87-122
6 Niacin 123-149
7 Vitamin B6 150-195
8 Folate 196-305
9 Vitamin B12 306-356
10 Pantothenic Acid 357-373
11 Biotin 374-389
12 Choline 390-422
13 Uses of Dietary Reference Intakes 423-436
14 A Research Agenda 437-442
A Origin and Framework of the Development of Dietary Reference Intakes 443-447
B Acknowledgments 448-450
C Système International d'Unités 451-452
D Search Strategies 453-455
E Methodological Problems Associated with Laboratory Values and Food Composition Data for B Vitamins 456-459
F Dietary Intake Data from the Boston Nutritional Status Survey, 1981–1984 460-465
G Dietary Intake Data from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), 1994–1995 466-477
H Dietary Intake Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), 1988–1994 478-501
I Daily Intakes of B Vitamins by Canadian Men and Women, 1990, 1993 502-506
J Options for Dealing with Uncertainties in Developing Tolerable Upper Intake Levels 507-511
K Blood Concentrations of Folate and Vitamin B12 from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), 1988–1994 512-519
L Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase 520-522
M Evidence from Animal Studies on the Etiology of Neural Tube Defects 523-526
N Estimation of the Period Covered by Vitamin B12 Stores 527-530
O Biographical Sketches 531-536
P Glossary and Abbreviations 537-540
Index 541-567

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