The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences just announced increases to the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for these antioxidant vitamins. The revised RDAs have been sent for Americans and Canadians. The report also released safe upper limits for the vitamins and the mineral selenium. The RDA for vitamin C was raised to 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men and the safe upper limit was set at 2000 mg to avoid side effects such as diarrhea. Vitamin E daily requirements were set at 15 mg from food. This is equivalent to 22 IU of natural-source vitamin E or 33 IU of synthetic vitamin E (the body uses natural vitamin E more efficiently). The upper limit for vitamin E is 1000 IU per day. The RDAs for selenium were set at 55 mcg for women and 70 mcg for men and the upper limit for the mineral was set at 400 mcg. Higher doses of selenium can cause hair loss, nail loss and other toxic effects. These new RDAs reflect current scientific understanding about amounts of dietary antioxidants needed for disease prevention. For a detailed story, read my Eat Write column in the Toronto Star on Wednesday April 26th.
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