Vim & Vitality Blog
Are USRDAs Enough to Keep You Healthy?
During World War II, three women with PhDs trained in chemical biochemistry and dietetics were commissioned by the United States National Academy of Sciences to investigate the effects of nutrition on “the national defense.” Most of the testing they did was in a laboratory with animals (not humans) to determine the minimalistic amounts of vitamins and minerals necessary for survival. In 1941, this committee was renamed the Food & Nutrition Board, and a standard daily allowance was established for “energy and eight nutrients.” Referred to as Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs), these guidelines were revised every 5-10 years through 1989 and included 29 nutrients. Currently, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies regulates RDAs.
Not to be confused with RDAs, the United States Food & Drug Administration established the Daily Values (DVs) for the purpose of nutritional labeling for what they consider the 19 essential nutrients. These are what you see on nutrition labels next to the amount of each nutrient. DVs do not take into account age, gender or stage in life, and these values have not been updated by the FDA since 1968 (nearly 50 years ago). And a lot has changed in the last 50 years!
In addition to not being updated in the last 25-50 years, DVs and RDAs fall short in the following areas:
1. Scientific knowledge of nutritional requirements was and is far from complete
"The USRDA for selenium is 20-70mcg per day based on the requirement for production of glutathione peroxidase which is an enzyme that prevents accumulation of hydrogen peroxides and lipid hydroperoxides (oxidized fatty substances) which decompose to form very destructive oxygen radicals (hydroxyls) which will attack proteins, fats, and human DNA. However, there are 23-25 other selenoenzymes in the body such as thioredoxin reductase (small sulfur containing molecules that can be oxidized and reduced and are very important for the transfer of electrons within cells and organs). These selenoenzymes will catalyze the reduction of oxidized thioredoxins back into their active reduced forms. The USRDA only takes into consideration the minimum we need for activation of glutathione peroxidase because the other enzymes had not yet been discovered when standards were established, therefore we need significantly more selenium than what is required for glutathione peroxidase." (1) Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer, one of the top 10 most quoted scientists in the entire world who has submitted with Dr. Joel Wallach over 500 scientific papers on selenium to the FDA for approval to make health claims, recommends 300-400 mcg of selenium daily for protective reserves against various forms of cancer including breast, lung, colon and prostate cancers.
Another example of incomplete knowledge about nutritional requirements for the body is iodine. Current USRDA standards recommend 90-290 mcg per day, while the following amounts of iodine are required by these organs:
|Daily requirement according to Dr. David Brownstein|
|Thyroid||6 mg (2), (3)|
|Breasts||5 mg (and even more for large breasts) (4), (5), (6)|
|Extra-thyroidal tissue||8 mg (and even more if over 110 pounds) (7), (8)|
Total iodine required by the body is around 19 mg per day according to these figures. The USRDA does not even provide enough iodine for the thyroid, the most iodine-rich organ in the body, much less for the rest of the body! And in Japan, the average person consumes 13.8 mg of iodine daily (this is 1,500-4759% of the USRDA). Like selenium, iodine is cancer-protective. No wonder cancer is epidemic in America! We are all nutrient-deficient at the hands of the government and its recommendations for optimal health!
Setting aside the USRDAs, brilliant healthcare professionals and scientists have developed nutritional products that go far beyond what is recommended for nutrition (sometimes even 16,000% or more than the DVs), and they get results with their products! But then again, DVs have not been updated for nearly half a decade, and MUCH has changed since then! I have personally witnessed dozens of people experience the reversal of symptoms, illness, and disease by supplementing with science-based, clinically verified, wholistic medical nutrition that exceeds the USRDAs and DVs!
2. The requirements for many nutrients have not been established even today
To date, RDAs and DVs have been established for only 29 nutrients as opposed to 90 essential nutrients necessary for the prevention and reversal of over 900 diseases. In fact, there are at least 45 minerals, 3 vitamins, 12 amino acids, and 3 essential fatty acids missing from the USRDA recommendations! That means with an average of 10 diseases associated with every nutrient deficiency, over 630 diseases are probable due to the lack of these missing essential nutrients!
3. Several essential nutrients have only recently been discovered
Did you know that it wasn’t until 1912 when the first “vitamine” was discovered by Casimir Funk? Before that, macronutrients were believed to be the whole of nutrition. In the late 1950s, CoQ10 was discovered, and more recently various forms of nutrients have been recognized as more beneficial than others such as folate and folinic acid (both natural forms of B9) vs. folic acid (a synthetic form of B9). And as new metabolic pathways are being discovered within the body, new information is being gleaned about how the body functions. Other nutrients are being found and will continue to be found to be essential in years to come. Additionally, nutrients previously thought to be useless or toxic to the body are being discovered to serve a purpose and a function. For instance, did you know that small amounts of lead in its organic form aid in the duplication of DNA and RNA? (9) Did you know that arsenic is cancer protective, necessary for the growth and survival of newborns, and prevents tendon disorders such as slipped tendon (in combination with choline), TMJ, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.? (10) These trace minerals demonstrate the concept of hormesis: a small is beneficial while a larger amount is detrimental to health and even toxic, for example alcohol.
The DVs and RDAs may not be sufficient to provide you with the health you are seeking because they are based on archaic, outdated standards that do not incorporate the latest knowledge and research about the body and its needs. More importantly, how much are you absorbing and assimilating? Even if you eat the best foods on the planet and take the highest quality supplements, you may still be mineral deficient due to leaky gut, systemic inflammation, stress, the use of pharmaceuticals, toxins, and other factors that affect absorption. A Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is a great way to find out where you stand nutritionally. I incorporate this analysis into my practice and use it to customize each client’s nutritional protocol to optimize the balance and function of:
So, how much of each nutrient are you getting through your diet on a daily basis? And more importantly, how much are your retaining? What is your mineral balance? Order an HTMA today to find out for sure, and let me help you optimize your health and fine tune your current health regimen. Read testimonies and watch this video to learn more about the benefits of Hair Analysis:
L’chaim-- To Life!
1 Schrauzer, Gerhard. The Schrauzer Files: Selenium,
2 Berson, S.A., et al. Quantitative aspects of iodine metabolism. The exchangeable organic iodine pool and the rates of thyroidal secretion, peripheral degradation and fecal excretion of endogenously synthesized organically bound iodine. J. Clin. Ivest, 33:1533-1552. 1954
3 Abraham, G.E., et al. Orthoiodosupplementation: Iodine sufficiency of the whole human body. The original Internist, 9:30-41, 2002.
4 Eskin, B., et al. Mammary Gland Dysplasia in Iodine Deficiency, JAMA, 200: 115-119, 1967.
5 Eskin, B., et al. Iodine metabolism and breast cancer. Tans. New York. Acad. of sciences, 32: 911-947, 1970.
6 Abraham, G. E. IBID. 2002
7 Berson, S.A. et al. IBID 1954
8 Abraham, G. E. IBID. 2002
9 Wallach, Joel & Lan, Ma. Dead Doctors Don’t Lie, 260, 2004.
10 Wallach & Lan. IBID. 281, 2004
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