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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Consequences of Changes in the Us Dietary Reference Intakes for Us Nutrient Databases

Authors
item Gebhardt, Susan
item Holden, Joanne

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 2, 2005
Publication Date: May 31, 2006
Citation: Gebhardt, S.E., Holden, J.M. 2005. Consequences of changes in the us dietary reference intakes for us nutrient databases. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 19:S91-95.

Interpretive Summary: The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) issued by the Institute of Medicine are the basis for determining the adequacy of diets. Since the first update to the DRIs was released in 1997, there have been changes made in the units and forms for reporting vitamin intakes. Nutrient databases must conform with the DRIs to facilitate accurate monitoring of the adequacy of diets. Specificity of forms as well as the units of expression for folate, vitamins A and E were changed in USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference in response to the DRIs. The units for reporting folate were changed to Dietary Folate Equivalents. Folic acid is listed separately in the database because that is the form that is used to assess intake at the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). The units for reporting Vitamin A activity were changed to Retinol Activity Equivalents instead of Retinol Equivalents and are calculated on the basis of new bioactivity factors for provitamin A carotenoids. Retinol is listed separately because that is the form that is used to assess intake at the UL. Units for reporting Vitamin E were changed to mg of alpha-tocopherol instead of mg alpha-tocopherol equivalents since alpha-tocopherol is the only tocopherol now recognized as having vitamin E activity. The activity of vitamin E in fortified foods was recalculated based on the form of the vitamin added. Procedures for calculating the new units and forms of the vitamins are described. These changes impact the acquisition of new data from USDA-initiated contracts as well as data from other government labs and the food industry.

Technical Abstract: The release of the new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for the US and Canada has necessitated changes in the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR). Scientists in the Nutrient Data Laboratory reviewed the DRIs and revised nutrient definitions for vitamin A, vitamin E and folate to reflect the recent changes in these nutrients based on the DRIs. Folate is now reported in Dietary Folate Equivalents to take into account the greater bioavailabilty of folic acid compared to food folate. Folic acid is listed in the database because this is the form that is used to assess intake at the UL. Vitamin A is reported in Retinol Activity Equivalents instead of Retinol Equivalents and reflects reduced bioactivity of the provitamin-A-carotenoids. Retinol is listed in the database because it is the form that is used to assess intake at the UL. Vitamin E is reported as mg of alpha-tocopherol instead of mg alpha alpha-TE. Milligrams of alpha-tocopherol in fortified foods were recalculated from IU values based on the form of the vitamin added, either RRR-alpha tocopherol or all rac-alpha-tocopherol. Additional changes are being made to the database for niacin and vitamin B12. The DRIs are the basis for determining the adequacy of diets. Therefore it is necessary for nutrient databases to conform with the DRIs to facilitate accurate monitoring of the adequacy of diets.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014