Intake recommendations

The latest recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for zinc (Table 13.1) were established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine in 2001 using a factorial approach to estimate the amount of absorbed zinc required to replace endogenous losses and maintain normal growth.10 The RDA of 11 mg/day for adult men and 8 mg/day for adult women is based on data indicating that the bioavailability of zinc from typical US diets is 41% for men and 48% for women. The WHO Expert Committee established recommended nutrient intakes (RNI) for zinc that differ depending on whether a low-, moderate-, or high-bioavailability diet is consumed (Table 13.2). In a high-bioavailability diet with a phytate:zinc molar ratio of less than 5, the bioavailability of zinc is assumed to be about 50%, while in a low-bioavailability diet with a phytate:zinc molar ratio greater than 15, the bioavailability of zinc is assumed to be about 15%.30

Table 13.1 Recommended dietary allowances (RDA) and tolerable upper levels of intake (UL) for zinc10

RDA UL

Table 13.1 Recommended dietary allowances (RDA) and tolerable upper levels of intake (UL) for zinc10

RDA UL

Males

Females

Males and females

Life stage

Age

(mg/day)

(mg/day)

(mg/day)

Infants

0-6 months

2*

2*

4

Infants

7-12 months

3

3

5

Children

1-3 years

3

3

7

Children

4-8 years

5

5

12

Children

9-13 years

8

8

23

Adolescents

14-18 years

11

9

34

Adults

>19 years

11

8

40

Pregnant

<18 years

-

12

34

Pregnant

>19 years

-

11

40

Lactating

<18 years

-

13

34

Lactating

>19 years

-

12

40

Table 13.2 WHO/FAO recommended nutrient intakes (RNIs) for dietary zinc from diets ranging from high zinc bioavailability (assumed 50%) to low zinc bioavailability (assumed 15%)30

Life stage

Age

Males (mg/day)

Females (mg/day)

Infants

0-6 months

1.1-6.6*

1.1-6.6

Infants

7-12 months

2.5-8.4

2.5-8.4

Children

1-3 years

2.4-8.3

2.4-8.3

Children

4-6 years

2.9-9.6

2.9-9.6

Children

7-9 years

3.3-11.2

3.3-11.2

Adolescents

10-18 years

5.1-17.1

4.3-14.4

Adults

>19 years

4.2-14.0

3.0-9.8

Pregnant, 1st trimester

All ages

-

3.4-11.0

Pregnant, 2nd trimester

All ages

-

4.2-14.0

Pregnant, 3rd trimester

All ages

-

6.0-20.0

Lactating, 0-3 months

All ages

-

5.8-19.0

Lactating, 4-6 months

All ages

-

5.3-17.5

Lactating, 6-12 months

All ages

-

4.3-14.4

* The lower number represents recommended zinc intake from high-bioavailability diets (phytate:zinc molar ratio <5). The higher number represents recommended zinc intake from low-bioavailability diets (phytate:zinc molar ratio >15).

* The lower number represents recommended zinc intake from high-bioavailability diets (phytate:zinc molar ratio <5). The higher number represents recommended zinc intake from low-bioavailability diets (phytate:zinc molar ratio >15).

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