Papers pointing out problems in RDA and DRI

by Harri Hemilä

Department of Public Health
University of Helsinki, Finland
Oct 30, 2020

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI)-monograph (USA/Canada) states that the estimated average requirement (EAR) of vitamin E for men and women of any age is 12 mg/day.
The EAR value is based on in vitro hemolysis in young males; a surrogate endpoint without any direct validity.
The EAR is then extrapolated to females and older males.
This analysis of the ATBC Study found no support for the ‘estimated average requirement' level of 12 mg/day of vitamin E for older males.

Hemilä H
Vitamin E and Mortality in Male Smokers of the ATBC Study: Implications for Nutritional Recommendations.
Frontiers in Nutrition 2020

Discussions related to the RDA on pages 61 to 69

Do vitamins C and E affect respiratory infections? (2006)

The authors of the RDA (1989) concluded that there was no sound evidence to suggest that vitamin C in amounts greater than the recommended dose, 60 mg/day, decreased elevated plasma cholesterol levels.
However, those authors ignored many published trials.

Hemilä H.
Vitamin C, cholesterol, and the nutritional recommendations.
Am J Cardiol. 1993.

p. 47:
"The RDA (1989) recommendations conclude that vitamin C does not affect plasma cholesterol level.
This is based on the study of Peterson et al., which did not use any kind of control group, but used subjects that had a very high initial vitamin C level (85 uM).
Still, this study is provided as a disproof of one study by Ginter et al., which is the only reference that is mentioned to suggest that vitamin C might decrease elevated plasma cholesterol levels.
This latter study is not placebo controlled either.
However, ten placebo-controlled studies were published before the recommendations (Table 1), and five of these used subjects with elevated cholesterol levels.
Nevertheless, none of these studies is referred to in the RDA (1989) recommendations."

Hemilä H.
Vitamin C and plasma cholesterol.
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1992;32(1):33-57.

The concept "nutrient need" does not have any biochemical justification

Hemilä H
Is there a biochemical basis for 'nutrient need'?
Trends in Food Science and Nutrition 1991

Earlier RDA recommendation were based on preventing overt deficiency diseased.
Optimal intake could be another goal, which was not considered in the early recommendations

H Hemilä
A re-evaluation of nutritional goals--not just deficiency counts
Med Hypotheses 1986 May;20(1):17-27.

Hemilä HO,
A Critique of Nutritional Recommendations
Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry 1985

Hemilä HO.
Nutritional need versus optimal intake.
Med Hypotheses 1984 Jun;14(2):135-9.