RDA (recommended daily allowance)

 What do we mean by RDA ?

RDAs – Recommended Dietary Allowances  are recommendations for the average daily amounts of nutrients taht healthy people should consume .


There are several segments of our population that mey not be  “healthy” and that may be considered as “to be at risk” for inadequate nutrient intake.They require special allowances for the deficient nutrient.these groups are listed below-

1.Alcohol drinkers,



4.People with chronic illnesses,

5.People undergoing surgery,

6.People with infections,

7.The elderly,



10.Pregnant and lactating women,

11.Premature infants and toddlers,

12.Low income people,

13.Stressed people and osteoporosis patients

14.Users of medications and oral contraceptives,

15.Children with low IQs


 1.Alcohol drinkers-

Heavy alcohol consumption has been shown to adversely affect levels of beta-carotene,folic acid ,thiamine ,riboflavin, niacin, vit.C, vit.B6, vit.B12 ,magnesium and zinc.Consuming three or more drinks a week can lead to deficiencies of these nutrients.


Studies have shown that plasma level of vitamin C in heavy smokers may be 40 percent lower than in non-smokers.The level of other anti-oxidants,like beta-carotene,vitamin -E,and B6 also get lowered.


Whenever the dieter’s total caloric intake drops below 1400 calories a day,it is almost impossible to obtain most vitamins and minerals in adequate amounts.Your vitamin requirement remains the same despite your caloric intake,even during total fasting.Hence ,dieters not taking supplementary vitamins and minerals are at risk for nutrition deficiency.Dieting in the form of skipped meals or fad diets is common among youngsters,this makes them vulnerable to nutrient deficiency.

4.People with chronic illnesses-

This group is at risk for inadequate nutrient intake because of interactions of medications with micronutrients or because of the effects of various diseases themselves.Diseases increase the nutritional needs,which can precipitate malnutrition and impair the immune system.

5.People undergoing surgery-

Some operations interfere with the ingestion,digestion,and absorption of food.Trauma and wound healing require that you take certain nutrients in amounts exceeding the RDA.

6.People with infections-

The majority of these patients have little or no appetite and marked reduction in food intake.”infections – even mild ones – increase metabolic losses of a number of vitamins and minerals.” Acute or chronic infections of the gastrointestinal tract impair the absorption of nutrients.

7.The elderly-

Nutritional problems in this age group occur mainly as a result of decreased caloric intake,impaired absorption,,poor dentition,drug/nutrient interactions,limited activity or handicap,low income,altered taste perception,lonliness,lack of transportation,or any combination of these.Nutrients most often identified as deficient in the elderly include calcium,vit B6, thiamine,folate,riboflavin,niacin,vit C and vit D.

  1. Teenagers-

The prevalence of nutrient deficiencies in female teenagers may result from constant dieting for weight control.Many teenagers skip meals, snack, and often eat meals away from home. Teenagers report that they are not concerned about nutrition. Many favor junk foods and soft drinks.


Diabetics have low levels of thiamine and other B vitamins, vitamin c, and vitamin D.

10.Pregnant and Lactating Women-

Pregnant and lactating women require nutrients in greater amounts than the  RDA. Unfortunately, these women do not have a sufficient intake. In healthy pregancies, at the time of delivery  25 percent of mothers had at least one nutrient deficiency.

11.Premature Infants and Toddlers-

Babies and toddlers are also at risk for nutrient deficiencies. Premature infants have low levels of vitamins A, C, and E. Iron and  vitamin C were problem nutrients among infants and youngsters.

  1. Low- Income people-

Low – income populations have been shown to have deficiencies of vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and iron.

13.Stressed people and Osteoporosis patients-

As recommended by the RDA you should increase your intake of various nutrients when yor are under stress.

  1. Users of Medications and Oral Contraceptives-

Another segment of the  population at risk for nutrient deficiencies is the millions who use therapeutic drugs that directly interfere with  nutrient levels. Very common drugs such as laxatives and mineral  oil deplete your body of fat-soluble vitamins, aspirin impairs the utilization of vitamin C and folic acid, and oral contraceptives deplete your body of folic acid , vitamins B6,B12, and C, and beta- carotene.

15.Children With Low IQs-

One of the most excting areas of nutrient investigation is that of intelligence quotient. When children’s diets were supplemented with vitamins and minerals, their IQs were raised . The marginal deficiencies seen in some young children are enough to hamper neural function in these children.