Recommended Dietary Allowances


Vitamins are organic micronutrients that are essential to human health; inadequate vitamin intakes lead to deficiency disorders. There is virtually no disagreement about this basic precept. Most of us know, for example, that vitamin C prevents scurvy.

As more and more vitamin research studies are reported in both the scientific and consumer press, however, there is considerable argument over vitamin amounts that will do more than prevent the diseases of extreme deficiency and actually promote optimum health.

Countering those who advise that a well-balanced diet will satisfy such health goals are those who maintain that American eating habits have changed so much in recent years that most people, even when they mean to, do not consume an adequate diet on a regular basis.

Aware that their eating habits may not be providing all of the nutrients they require, many people rely on nutritional supplements to make up the difference.

Takeda is a leading supplier of the bulk vitamins used in the manufacture of dietary supplements, including a comprehensive line of directly compressible bulk vitamins that enable efficient and economical tablet production of vitamin C, B-complex, and multivitamin products.

Dietary Guidelines

 Grain foods (bread, rice, cereal, pasta)  6-11 servings
 Vegetables  3-5 servings
 Fruits  2-3 servings
 Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)  2-3 servings
 Meat, fish, poultry, dry beans, nuts  2-3 servings
 Fats, oils, sweets Use sparingly

The number of recommended servings is based on caloric intake, with the low numbers for those consuming 1,600 calories/day and the higher number for those consuming 2,800 calories/day.

  A well-balanced diet drawn from the food groups in the Food Pyramid -- grains, vegetables, fruits, protein, dairy products, and limited amounts of fats, oils and sugars -- will provide the nutrients needed to maintain health. Green leafy vegetables, for instance, are excellent sources for beta carotene, vitamins C and E, folic acid, and calcium.

Yet according to the 1994 Department of Agriculture Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, a significant number of people consume diets that are nutritionally inadequate. Only one in five people eats five fresh fruits and vegetables daily, and about one in five eats none at all.

Children are more likely to drink carbonated soft drinks than milk, and many adult woman fall short in their daily diets of the Recommended Daily Allowances for iron, zinc, vitamin B-6, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. It's been estimated that as many as one in six Americans is attempting to lose weight by dieting. Those pursuing fad diets are unlikely to consume adequate nutrients.

Recommended Amounts

Recently, the Food and Nutrition Board, which recommends vitamin and mineral intake amounts, revised the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) upwards. The Board also created Dietary Reference Intakes, which to some extent take into account emerging knowledge about vitamins and minerals in disease prevention. These amounts are not the same as the Board's Reference Daily Intakes, which are the amounts that must be shown on nutritional supplement labels.

Confused? You're not alone.

Recommended Dietary Allowances

(National Academy of Sciences)

 Vitamin Women Men Function


800 mcg

1,000 mcg

Essential to the immune system, aids normal vision, helps keep red blood cells healthy

Beta carotene

None established; included in vitamin A An antioxidant; protects against cell oxidation that can lead to cancer

(ascorbic acid)

60 mg

60 mg

Important to normal bone development, the healing of wounds, iron absorption.Protects cells from cancer-causing damage.


5 mcg

5 mcg

Promotes calcium absorption


8 mg

10 mg

Antioxidant, protects cells from cancer-causing damage. Essential for healthy blood cells and tissues


1.1 mg

1.5 mg

Essential to the growth and normal functioning of nerve tissue; important to carbohydrate metabolism; helps to maintain a good appetite and normal digestion.


1.3 mg

1.7 mg

Helps to keep eyes and mouth tissue healthy. Aids absorption of carbohydrates.


1.6 mg

2 mg

Needed for protein metabolism, the synthesis of hormones and red blood, proper function of the nervous system, and immune function.


2 mcg

2 mcg

Necessary to RNA and DNA synthesis, and the building of red blood cells and nerve cell maintenance.

*Folic Acid (folate)

180 mcg

200 mcg

Protects fetus from neural tube defects like spina bifida; aids formation of DA, RNA, and protein; by metabolizing homocysteine, an amino acid, my reduce risk of heart disease


15 mg

19 mg

Necessary for healthy skin, digestive tract, nervous system, essential to carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism.

*Water soluble vitamins that are not stored in the body; must be replenished daily.

The RDAs reflect the vitamin amounts you need to prevent deficiency diseases, but there is a growing body of evidence that increased intake of certain vitamins has additional health benefits. Furthermore, it has long been accepted that smoking, alcohol consumption, use of oral contraceptives, gastrointestinal disorders, and pregnancy are just some of the habits and conditions that affect one's vitamin needs.

VitaminNews, a newsletter which is published quarterly by Takeda, reports on recent vitamin research as it affects human health. Refer to the Vitamin Newsletter for a listing of recent issues and articles; the Winter 1998 issue contains an index. for Volumes III and IV (1997 and 1998).



Minerals are naturally-occurring inorganic elements (containing no carbons) that are essential to good health. They have a role in many of the body's biochemical and physiological processes.

Because our bodies cannot synthesize any minerals, we must get them from plant and animal foods; from water, which may contain dissolved minerals, or from dietary supplements. Minerals are required in very small amounts, and most needs will be met by a well-balanced diet. Minerals required in amounts greater than 100 mg a day are considered essential, and those required in lesser amounts are known as trace minerals -- every bit as important to good health, even though the amounts required seem minute.

Recommended Dietary Allowances
(National Academy of Sciences)

 Mineral Women Men Function


1 gram

1 gram

Essential for healthy bones, normal muscle contraction, blood clotting

 320 mgs

 420 mgs Needed for nerve signaling, bone building, muscle contraction


 15 mgs

 10 mgs

A key component of hemoglobin; carries oxygen in the blood


 12 mgs

10 mgs

Needed for proper functioning of many enzymes involved in body chemistry; a component of insulin; involved in sense of taste


55 mcg

70 mcg

Essential component of an important antioxidant enzyme; deficiency has been linked to heart disease

Amino Acids

Amino acids are organic compounds that function in our bodies as the building blocks of proteins. They may be essential, nonessential, or conditionally essential, depending on whether body synthesis is able to meet the metabolic need.

  • If body synthesis is inadequate, then an amino acid is classified as essential and must be supplied as part of the diet. Essential amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, valine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, lysine, histidine and possibly arginine.
  • The amino acids that our bodies can synthesize in adequate amounts are nonessential; they include alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline and serine. Conditionally essential amino acids become essential under certain clinical conditions.

Contact us for information on amino acids offered by Takeda.

Useful Links

There are countless Web sites offering nutritional information and advice. Many of them are reliable but others, unfortunately, reflect undocumented opinions and factual inaccuracies. To the best of our knowledge, the links given here will connect you to sites and further links that are unlikely to mislead you.

Nutrition Navigator

The Tufts University Nutrition Navigator provides links to dozens of Web sites, with brief descriptions of each and a rating system to evaluate sites by such criteria as accuracy and usefulness.

American Society for Nutritional Sciences

Information of food sources, diet recommendations, deficiencies, toxicity, clinical uses, recent research and references for further information is provided for many micro- and macronutrients .

Council for Responsible Nutrition

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) is a trade association representing more than 80 companies in the nutritional supplements, ingredients and other nutritional supplements industry.

Food and Nutrition Information Center

The Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) is one of several information centers at the National Agricultural Library (NAL), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It's a useful place to start your Internet search for nutrition information; there are many publications on nutrition and also links to other information resources.

Institute of Food Technologists

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society whose 28,000 members work in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia and government. Its mission is to support improvement of the food supply and its use through science, technology, and education.