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What is the recommended dietary intake for selenium?

Recommendations for selenium are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes developed by the Institute of Medicine [12]. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) is the general term for a set of reference values used for planning and assessing nutrient intake for healthy people. Three important types of reference values included in the DRIs are Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), Adequate Intakes (AI), and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels(UL). The RDA recommends the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97-98%) healthy individuals in each age and gender group [12]. An AI is set when there is insufficient scientific data available to establish a RDA. AIs meet or exceed the amount needed to maintain a nutritional state of adequacy in nearly all members of a specific age and gender group. The UL, on the other hand, is the maximum daily intake unlikely to result in adverse health effects [12]. Table 2 lists the RDAs for selenium, in micrograms (?g) per day, for children and adults.

Table 2: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Selenium for Children and Adults [12]

Age
(years)
Males and Females
(?g/day)
Pregnancy
(?g/day)
Lactation
(?g/day)
1-3 y 20 N/A N/A
4-8 y 30 N/A N/A
9-13 y 40 N/A N/A
14-18 y 55 60 70
19 y + 55 60 70

There is insufficient information on selenium to establish a RDA for infants. An Adequate Intake (AI) has been established that is based on the amount of selenium consumed by healthy infants who are fed breast milk [12]. Table 3 lists the AIs for selenium, in micrograms (?g) per day, for infants.

Table 3: Adequate Intake for Selenium for Infants [12]

Age
(months)
Males and Females
(?g/day)
0-6 months 15
7-12 months 20

Results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III-1988-94) indicated that diets of most Americans provide recommended amounts of selenium [13]. The INTERMAP study examined nutrient intakes of almost 5,000 middle-aged men and women in four countries in the late 1990s, including the U.S. The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of dietary micronutrients on blood pressure. Each study participant completed four, 24-hour dietary recalls, during which they were asked to record everything consumed (food, beverages, and dietary supplements) over the previous 24 hours. Selenium intake was lowest among residents of China, the country with the highest known rate of selenium deficiency. Mean dietary intake of selenium of U.S. participants was 153 ?g for men and 109 ?g for women. Both values exceed the recommended selenium intake for adults and are further evidence of adequate selenium intakes in the U.S. [14].

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