What is RDA. The American abbreviation RDA stands for Recommended Dietary Allowance and represents the daily intake of essential nutrients the body requires in order to keep in good health and prevent deficiencies and illness.
More specifically, RDA refers to a minimum everyday intake of vitamins and minerals from food sources. These dietary recommendations are addressed to over 97% of the healthy population. Nevertheless, nutritional needs may differ immensely from one individual to another and there are cases when the RDA system provides insufficient nutrient intake.
Having scientifically researched nutrition references is good because it prevents people from having a dangerously high or life-threatening low intake of vitamins and minerals. Nevertheless, every individual is biologically different and therefore may require higher or lower amounts of certain nutrients.
Even more, when we take into account various genetic dispositions, disease and old age risks, we are faced with the fact that nutritional requirements differ significantly from those of a healthy individual. Some people need to be careful with their iron intake, others with chromium. Older people might sometimes need double doses of some nutrients as so might those living or working in a stressful environment.
Bad lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol also affect dietary needs. For example, smoking and eating a lot of sugar can deplete the body of vitamin B1 (thiamine).
Stress increases some nutrient needs, while taking medication, especially antibiotics, interferes with the absorption of some nutrients. Blood coagulation medication or surgery alter daily vitamin and mineral requirements as well. Any nutrient deficiency requires to increase the intake of the nutrient your body is missing and so on.
Although the RDA is a general reference system for a daily dietary intake of vitamins and minerals, it does not necessarily mean you are getting enough nutrients by sticking to it. Similarly, certain eating habits may supply your with too much of one nutrient or another.
Nevertheless, the RDA is a not so rough guide to how much of what you should be eating to keep healthy and prevent any possible deficiencies. It is good to relate to it, but if you feel your are not meeting you nutritional needs, you can always check with your doctor. DRI is a nutrition reference system known as Dietary Reference Intake.