Eating well on the Planet Earth

Dietary Reference (Recommended) Intakes





About The RDA, DRI, RDI, AI, EAR and UL.
What numbers should you use to evaluate your diet?



From 1941 to 1989, the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) was the gold standard used to determine if someone from a particular age and gender group was getting the nutrients they needed. In the early 1990's the Food and Nutrition Board decided these benchmarks needed an overhaul. Out of this revision came a whole new way to evaluate nutrients, the DRIs (Dietary Reference Intakes).

Between 1997 and 2004 the values were rewritten for 46 different nutrient substances. These include vitamins, some additional minerals, electrolytes, water and macronutrients such as fiber, carbohydrates, fatty acids, cholesterol and amino acids.

DRIs actually include four different reference values.

  • The RDA, which is the daily intake of a nutrient sufficient to meet the needs of almost all healthy people in an age and gender group.
  • The AI, or Adequate Intake, which is used if the RDA cannot be established. This is based on looking at how much of a nutrient healthy people actually eat.
  • The UL is the Tolerable Upper Intake Level, or the amount of a nutrient that a healthy person can eat without any risk of toxicity.
  • The EAR, or Estimated Average Requirement, is the amount of a nutrient that is estimated to meet the requirement of half of all healthy individuals in the population.

Of these four reference values, the RDA, AI and UL are of most use to individuals who want to know a safe and healthy level of nutrient intake. The EAR is mainly of use to people who are planning diets for large population groups, or developing new foods.

As if things aren't confusing enough, you will also find references to the RDI on food labels. This value is The Reference Daily Intake, established by the Food and Drug Administration for use in nutrition labeling. It was based initially on the highest 1968 Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for each nutrient, to assure that needs were met for all age groups. So when a food label states that it contains 50% of your daily requirement for calcium, they are referring to the RDI.

Values in parentheses represent Adequate Intakes (AIs) instead of Recommended Dietary Allowances. These numbers are used when no RDA is available for that nutrient.

Change in Vitamin D recommendations: The American Academy of Pediatrics doubled the recommended amount for infants, older children and adolescents in 2008. Then in 2010 the FDA tripled the amount recommended for all other age groups. This table reflects those new numbers.


A microgram (µg) is one thousandth of a milligram, and one millionth of a gram.
For comparison with the other charts which measure in IU's (International Units), 1 µg is equal to 40 IU's.

DRI (Dietary Reference Intake): Recommended intake for vitamins per day
Age Vitamin A
(µg)
Vitamin C
(mg)
Vitamin D
(µg)
Vitamin E
(mg)
Vitamin K
(µg)
Thiamin
(mg)
Riboflavin
(mg)
Niacin
(mg)
Vitamin B6
(mg)
Folate
(µg)
Vitamin B12
(µg)
Pantothenic Acid
(mg)
Biotin
(µg)
Choline
(mg)
Infants
0-6 months (400) (40) (10) (4) (2.0) (0.2) (0.3) (2) (0.1) (65) (0.4) (1.7) (5) (125)
7-12 months (500) (50) (10) (5) (2.5) (0.3) (0.4) (4) (0.3) (80) (0.5) (1.8) (6) (150)
Children
1-3 300 15 (15) 6 (30) 0.5 0.5 6 0.5 150 0.9 (2) (8) (200)
4-8 400 25 (15) 7 (55) 0.6 0.6 8 0.6 200 1.2 (3) (12) (250)
Males
9-13 600 45 (15) 11 (60) 0.9 0.9 12 1.0 300 1.8 (4) (20) (375)
14-18 900 75 (15) 15 (75) 1.2 1.3 16 1.3 400 2.4 (5) (25) (550)
19-30 900 90 (15) 15 (120) 1.2 1.3 16 1.3 400 2.4 (5) (30) (550)
31-50 900 90 (15) 15 (120) 1.2 1.3 16 1.3 400 2.4 (5) (30) (550)
51-70 900 90 (15) 15 (120) 1.2 1.3 16 1.7 400 2.4 (5) (30) (550)
70+ 900 90 (20) 15 (120) 1.2 1.3 16 1.7 400 2.4 (5) (30) (550)
Females
9-13 600 45 (15) 11 (60) 0.9 0.9 12 1.0 300 1.8 (4) (20) (375)
14-18 700 65 (15) 15 (75) 1.0 1.0 14 1.2 400 2.4 (5) (25) (400)
19-30 700 75 (15) 15 (90) 1.1 1.1 14 1.3 400 2.4 (5) (30) (425)
31-50 700 75 (15) 15 (90) 1.1 1.1 14 1.3 400 2.4 (5) (30) (425)
51-70 700 75 (15) 15 (90) 1.1 1.1 14 1.5 400 2.4 (5) (30) (425)
70+ 700 75 (20) 15 (90) 1.1 1.1 14 1.5 400 2.4 (5) (30) (425)
Pregnant
14-18 750 80 (15) 15 (75) 1.4 1.4 18 1.9 600 2.6 (6) (30) (450)
19-30 770 85 (15) 15 (90) 1.4 1.4 18 1.9 600 2.6 (6) (30) (450)
31-50 770 85 (15) 15 (90) 1.4 1.4 18 1.9 600 2.6 (6) (30) (450)
Lactation
14-18 1200 115 (15) 19 (75) 1.4 1.6 17 2.0 500 2.8 (7) (35) (550)
19-30 1300 120 (15) 19 (90) 1.4 1.6 17 2.0 500 2.8 (7) (35) (550)
31-50 1300 120 (15) 19 (90) 1.4 1.6 17 2.0 500 2.8 (7) (35) (550)
Age Vitamin A
(µg)
Vitamin C
(mg)
Vitamin D
(µg)
Vitamin E
(mg)
Vitamin K
(µg)
Thiamin
(mg)
Riboflavin
(mg)
Niacin
(mg)
Vitamin B6
(mg)
Folate
(µg)
Vitamin B12
(µg)
Pantothenic Acid
(mg)
Biotin
(µg)
Choline
(mg)

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Values in parentheses represent Adequate Intakes (AIs) instead of Recommended Dietary Allowances. These numbers are used when no RDA is available for that nutrient. Get more information.

A microgram (µg) is one thousandth of a milligram, and one millionth of a gram.
For comparison with the other charts which measure in IU's (International Units), 1 µg is equal to 40 IU's.

DRI (Dietary Reference Intake): Recommended intake for elements per day
Age Calcium
(mg)
Chromium
(µg)
Copper
(µg)
Fluoride
(mg)
Iodine
(µg)
Iron
(mg)
Magnesium
(mg)
Manganese
(mg)
Molybdenum
(µg)
Phosphorus
(mg)
Selenium
(µg)
Zinc
(mg)
Potassium
(g)
Sodium
(g)
Chloride
(g)
Infants
0-6 months (210) (0.2) (200) (0.01) (110) (0.27) (30) (0.003) (2) (100) (15) (2) (0.4) (0.12) (0.18)
7-12 months (270) (5.5) (220) (0.5) (130) 11 (75) (0.6) (3) (275) (20) 3 (0.7) (0.37) (0.57)
Children
1-3 (500) (11) 340 (0.7) 90 7 80 (1.2) 17 460 20 3 (3.0) (1.0) (1.5)
4-8 (800) (15) 440 (1) 90 10 130 (1.5) 22 500 30 5 (3.8) (1.2) (1.9)
Males
9-13 (1300) (25) 700 (2) 120 8 240 (1.9) 34 1250 40 8 (4.5) (1.5) (2.3)
14-18 (1300) (35) 800 (3) 150 11 410 (2.2) 43 1250 55 11 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
19-30 (1000) (35) 900 (4) 150 8 400 (2.3) 45 700 55 11 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
31-50 (1000) (35) 900 (4) 150 8 420 (2.3) 45 700 55 11 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
51-70 (1200) (30) 900 (4) 150 8 420 (2.3) 45 700 55 11 (4.7) (1.3) (2.0)
70+ (1200) (30) 900 (4) 150 8 420 (2.3) 45 700 55 11 (4.7) (1.2) (1.8)
Females
9-13 (1300) (21) 700 (2) 120 8 240 (1.6) 34 1250 40 8 (4.5) (1.5) (2.3)
14-18 (1300) (24) 890 (3) 150 15 360 (1.6) 43 1250 55 9 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
19-30 (1000) (25) 900 (3) 150 18 310 (1.8) 45 700 55 8 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
31-50 (1000) (25) 900 (3) 150 18 320 (1.8) 45 700 55 8 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
51-70 (1200) (20) 900 (3) 150 8 320 (1.8) 45 700 55 8 (4.7) (1.3) (2.0)
70+ (1200) (20) 900 (3) 150 8 320 (1.8) 45 700 55 8 (4.7) (1.2) (1.8)
Pregnant
14-18 (1300) (29) 1000 (3) 220 27 400 (2.0) 50 1250 60 12 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
19-30 (1000) (30) 1000 (3) 220 27 350 (2.0) 50 700 60 11 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
31-50 (1000) (30) 1000 (3) 220 27 360 (2.0) 50 700 60 11 (4.7) (1.5) (2.3)
Lactation
14-18 (1300) (44) 1300 (3) 290 10 360 (2.6) 50 1250 70 13 (5.1) (1.5) (2.3)
19-30 (1000) (45) 1300 (3) 290 9 310 (2.6) 50 700 70 12 (5.1) (1.5) (2.3)
31-50 (1000) (45) 1300 (3) 290 9 320 (2.6) 50 700 70 12 (5.1) (1.5) (2.3)
Age Calcium
(mg)
Chromium
(µg)
Copper
(µg)
Fluoride
(mg)
Iodine
(µg)
Iron
(mg)
Magnesium
(mg)
Manganese
(mg)
Molybdenum
(µg)
Phosphorus
(mg)
Selenium
(µg)
Zinc
(mg)
Potassium
(g)
Sodium
(g)
Chloride
(g)
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Values in parentheses represent Adequate Intakes (AIs) instead of Recommended Dietary Allowances. These numbers are used when no RDA is available for that nutrient. See top of page for more information on these numbers.

DRI (Dietary Reference Intake): Recommended intake for macronutrients per day
Age Total Water
(liters)
Carbohydrate
(grams)
Total Fiber
(grams)
Fat
(grams)
Linoleic Acid
(grams)
α-Linolenic Acid
(grams)
Protein
(grams)
Infants
0-6 months (.7) (60) ND (31) (4.4) (0.5) (9.1)
7-12 months (0.8) (95) ND (30) (4.6) (0.5) 11
Children
1-3 (1.3) 130 (19) ND (7) (0.7) 13
4-8 (1.7) 130 (25) ND (10) (0.9) 19
Males
9-13 (2.4) 130 (31) ND (12) (1.2) 34
14-18 (3.3) 130 (38) ND (16) (1.6) 52
19-30 (3.7) 130 (38) ND (17) (1.6) 56
31-50 (3.7) 130 (38) ND (17) (1.6) 56
51-70 (3.7) 130 (30) ND (14) (1.6) 56
70+ (3.7) 130 (30) ND (14) (1.6) 56
Females
9-13 (2.1) 130 (26) ND (10) (1.0) 34
14-18 (2.3) 130 (26) ND (11) (1.1) 46
19-30 (2.7) 130 (25) ND (12) (1.1) 46
31-50 (2.7) 130 (25) ND (12) (1.1) 46
51-70 (2.7) 130 (21) ND (11) (1.1) 46
70+ (2.7) 130 (21) ND (11) (1.1) 46
Pregnant
14-18 (3.0) 175 (28) ND (13) (1.4) 71
19-30 (3.0) 175 (28) ND (13) (1.4) 71
31-50 (3.0) 175 (28) ND (13) (1.4) 71
Lactation
14-18 (3.8) 210 (29) ND (13) (1.3) 71
19-30 (3.8) 210 (29) ND (13) (1.3) 71
31-50 (3.8) 210 (29) ND (13) (1.3) 71
Age Total Water
(liters)
Carbohydrate
(grams)
Total Fiber
(grams)
Fat
(grams)
Linoleic Acid
(grams)
α-Linolenic Acid
(grams)
Protein
(grams)

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