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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: How Should Dietary Guidance Be Given for Mineral Elements with Beneficial Actions Or Suspected of Being Essential?

item Nielsen, Forrest

Submitted to: Recommended Dietary Allowances Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Ultratrace elements need increased attention in future editions of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs); among the reasons for this need are the following: 1) Increased interest in these elements by the public has been stimulated by the mass media. Responsible information about useful- ness of the ultratrace elements for health and well-being is needed. 2) Risk assessments and toxicological standards are influenced by the RDAs. Information is needed to prevent standards that obstruct the ability to achieve beneficial intakes of ultratrace elements. 3) An emerging new paradigm is that the determination of nutritional requirements should include consideration of the total health effects of nutrients, not just their roles in preventing deficiency pathology; some of the ultratrace elements have identified health benefits. The evidence for the essentiality of four elements, I, Se, Mn and Mo is substantial and noncontroversial. The circumstantial evidence for the nutritional essentiality of B and Cr is strong. This evidence includes beneficial, if not essential, actions of physiological amounts in humans. These elements merit specific RDAs. A term such as "Apparent Beneficial Intake" (ABI) seems more appropriate for ultratrace elements with characterized bene- ficial, if not essential, actions in animals that can be extrapolated to humans; these elements include As, F, Li, Ni, Si, and V. The data for the remaining ultratrace elements is so limited or controversial that even an ambiguous ABI would be inappropriate to set for them. Perhaps they should have a "Healthful Diet Intake" (HDI) set for them; that is, the amount of the element found in diets based on the USDA food pyramid. Elements that would fit in this category include Al, Br, Cd, Ge, Pb, Rb and Sn.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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