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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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

Author
item Nielsen, Forrest

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The quality of experimental evidence for nutritional essentiality varies widely for the ultratrace elements. Thus, although differing dietary guidance is appropriate, these elements need increased attention in future Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) because: 1) Increased interest in these elements by the public has been stimulated by the mass media; thus, responsible information about the usefulness of the ultratrace elements for health and well-being is needed. 2) Risk assessments and toxicological standards are influenced by the RDAs. Authorative advice is needed to prevent standards that obstruct the achievement of 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. Six ultratrace elements, iodine, selenium, manganese, molybde- num, chromium and boron (and cobalt as vitamin B12,) merit specific RDAs. The term "estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intakes (ESADDI)" should not be used for any of the other ultratrace elements because of the misleading words "adequate" and "safe." "Apparent beneficial intake (ABI)" seems more appropriate for the elements with beneficial, if not essential, actions in animals that can be extrapolated to humans; these elements include arsenic, fluoride, lithium, nickel, silicon and vanadium. The evidence is too limited or controversial for the remaining ultratrace elements to even provide an ambiguous ABI. The amount found in a healthful diet probably should be value provided for an appropriate intake for aluminum, bromide, cadmium, germanium, lead, rubidium, and tin.

Technical Abstract: The quality of experimental evidence for nutritional essentiality varies widely for the ultratrace elements. Thus, although differing dietary guidance is appropriate, these elements need increased attention in future Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) because: 1) Increased interest in these elements by the public has been stimulated by the mass media; thus, responsible information about the usefulness of the ultratrace elements for health and well-being is needed. 2) Risk assessments and toxicological standards are influenced by the RDAs. Authorative advice is needed to prevent standards that obstruct the achievement of 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. Six ultratrace elements, iodine, selenium, manganese, molybde- num, chromium and boron (and cobalt as vitamin B12,) merit specific RDAs. The term "estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intakes (ESADDI)" should not be used for any of the other ultratrace elements because of the misleading words "adequate" and "safe." "Apparent beneficial intake (ABI)" seems more appropriate for the elements with beneficial, if not essential, actions in animals that can be extrapolated to humans; these elements include arsenic, fluoride, lithium, nickel, silicon and vanadium. The evidence is too limited or controversial for the remaining ultratrace elements to even provide an ambiguous ABI. The amount found in a healthful diet probably should be value provided for an appropriate intake for aluminum, bromide, cadmium, germanium, lead, rubidium, and tin.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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