6

votes

Are the Conventional Wisdoms Vitamin Recommendations just as wrong?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 31, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Im concerned with trying to force certain foods and hit levels of certain vitamins thru diet.

I dont want to take any supplements.

alt text

However, I've begun to wonder, how the studies were performed that determined how much of X and Y we need.

  • Were they done in a similar manner to the Fat Mistake?

  • Did they take into account whole food or extracted quantities?

  • Do they account the absorption rate, both of those little pills and food intake?

  • Do they account for Synergy?

  • Are the numbers skewed by imbalances caused by Standard American Diet.

  • Are they trying to overcome issues related to Poor Diet?

  • Are they trying to overcome issues related to Diseases caused by Poor Diet?

  • Is poor diet stealing away from certain minerals/vitamins that the body would need much less of?

In short, How accurate are the RDA's?

Are they as bad off in some as they were in Vitamin D?

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on July 30, 2010
at 12:27 PM

Apologize for anyone who took my statements of "throw them out" too literally. Throw them out, aka, do not worry about RDAs/MDRs if you are eating paleo/primal.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 28, 2010
at 05:56 PM

RDAs used to be called MDRs. Funny how minimum daily requirement became recommended daily allowance - totally different meaning in my view. Minimum doesn't connotate optimum, but recommended sort of implies that it is.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on July 28, 2010
at 01:08 PM

The RDAs were NOT established to optimize nutrition. They were established as safe minimum levels to AVOID diseases of malnutrition. The RDA for Vit D, for instance, looks crazy-low to us, but if you hit it you'll avoid rickets. Exceed them when appropriate, but "throw them out" at society's peril.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 11:56 AM

Well reasoned and spoken answer

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 11:56 AM

RDA was established in the 1940's and it's debatable how SAD the American diet was then.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 11:52 AM

No evidence provided to substantiate "throwing out" the RDA's, lots of tall claims.

58a55f0986b8f49a8bc5666e10492569

on June 01, 2010
at 03:04 AM

And Big Dairy probably pulled strings to get the calcium RDA way up. Even though most arterial plaque, kidney stones, etc. is calcium, not cholesterol.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 01, 2010
at 02:46 AM

I would only note that "flawed" might be too strong a word. "Not necessary applicable" is probably more accurate. Vitamin/mineral requirements probably change based on how a diet loads your body's metabolism and the RDA is a generalized recommendation that is tuned to SAD eaters, for whom it's probably not a terrible way of knowing what the minimum requirement is for survival.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 01, 2010
at 02:44 AM

@thor: A more important question would be what someone considered "correct". If you're eating SAD than the RDA probably does apply in many cases, at least as a lower bound. If you're not, then it might not apply at all. So what you have is a basic problem: trying to generate generalized recommendations to a diverse population who has diverse individual requirements. Not an easy task.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on May 31, 2010
at 08:41 PM

Anyone know of any studies done correctly?

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on May 31, 2010
at 07:28 PM

Interesting questions! I had the same a while ago, and still have them now. But I don't really care that much. An evolutionary diet is easy: evolution has done most of the thinking.

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5 Answers

5
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on June 09, 2010
at 12:03 PM

It may help to understand what exactly the recommended intakes for vitamins actually mean.

Due to normal variability the level of a vitamin needed in a population usually follows a normal distribution or bell curve. The recommended intakes are usually set at 2 standard deviations about the average so as to meet the needs of 97% of the population. So the average person needs less than the recommended and a smaller percentage would get away with much less.

The recommended intakes for a vitamin is simply a level that can be given to everyone without risk and will ensure an adequate intake for everyone. It is not meant to suggest that everyone needs exactly that amount. Also the adequate level is usually some way above that needed to prevent obvious deficiency. For example a dose of 10 mg of Vitamin C per day is enough to prevent obvious scurvy occurring http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/35/3/556 however if this is enough for optimum long-term health is a different question.

Just because someone can consume much less than the rda of a vitamin and not show any deficiency does not invalidate the science behind the recommendations and it does not mean that everyone can consume a low level and be healthy.

Were they done in a similar manner to the Fat Mistake? No.

Did they take into account whole food or extracted quantities? They are worked out from dietary food.

Do they account the absorption rate, both of those little pills and food intake? They do account for absorption rates from food when this can be measured.

It is certainly possible that major changes in diet will alter the need for certain vitamins, however this is beyond the scope of population wide recommendations and the need is unlikely to increase.

Recommended intakes for vitamins are studied in countries around the world not just the USA. They are a best estimate of requirements based on current science however there are still uncertainties as they are very complex questions to answer. This is why the recommendations are often updated They are only meant to be a useful guide not something to obsess over in detail.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 11:56 AM

Well reasoned and spoken answer

4
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 31, 2010
at 06:53 PM

@Thor Says

Think about it this way ---- I would go as far as to say, that all studies on vitamins' effects on humans have been done with humans eating SAD. Meaning that the very basis underpinning the study is flawed.

Ergo, any results, no matter how stat. sig or not are likely flawed.

PS Same goes for cholesterol etc etc

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on June 01, 2010
at 02:46 AM

I would only note that "flawed" might be too strong a word. "Not necessary applicable" is probably more accurate. Vitamin/mineral requirements probably change based on how a diet loads your body's metabolism and the RDA is a generalized recommendation that is tuned to SAD eaters, for whom it's probably not a terrible way of knowing what the minimum requirement is for survival.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 11:56 AM

RDA was established in the 1940's and it's debatable how SAD the American diet was then.

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on May 31, 2010
at 07:17 PM

Group Wiki of Controversial RDAs: (this is a community wiki, so click to edit, also if you see a paper in a journal that's not free, if you post it I can send it to you)

Factors that could influence paleo differences:

  • High amount of sugar or antinutrients could leach nutrients away, leading to recommendations that are too high
  • But often recommendations calculated from a norm based on people on SAD, so might be too low
  • Our diet includes more bioavailable forms of certain nutrients like retinol vs. beta carotene or ALA vs. DHA, zinc
  • Genetic differences: known variability includes DHA and retinol synthesis

3
1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

on May 31, 2010
at 04:39 PM

I think its safe to assume you can throw out any and all RDAs for vitamins that were established by the FDA. The FDA has had their time in the sun, let it pass, and riddled it with bad science, poor funding, and border line corruption from Big Agriculture, and Big Pharm.

As Paleo/Primal types, I think we need not initially concern ourselves with what % of vitamins we are consuming. If we are eating whole foods of high quality, that should take care of any percentages and/or deficiencies.

What we should be concerning ourselves with is systemic inflammation, which is behind damn near every disease we are fighting now a days. And which is VERY hard to control when switching over to Paleo/Primal.

I've noticed when people initially go Paleo/Primal, they begin eating too many nuts, too much CAFO meat, allowing seed oils to still remain in the diet, too much fructose, etc. They dont realize how important systemic inflammation is, and how it is truly the silent killer of all of us.

Sorry for the bit of off-topic rant, but I think everyone needs to concentrate more on the massive O3:O6 in balances that we ALL have to some degree, instead of % of Vitamins.

58a55f0986b8f49a8bc5666e10492569

on June 01, 2010
at 03:04 AM

And Big Dairy probably pulled strings to get the calcium RDA way up. Even though most arterial plaque, kidney stones, etc. is calcium, not cholesterol.

1a8020e101199de55c1b3b726f342321

(1973)

on July 28, 2010
at 11:52 AM

No evidence provided to substantiate "throwing out" the RDA's, lots of tall claims.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on July 28, 2010
at 01:08 PM

The RDAs were NOT established to optimize nutrition. They were established as safe minimum levels to AVOID diseases of malnutrition. The RDA for Vit D, for instance, looks crazy-low to us, but if you hit it you'll avoid rickets. Exceed them when appropriate, but "throw them out" at society's peril.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 28, 2010
at 05:56 PM

RDAs used to be called MDRs. Funny how minimum daily requirement became recommended daily allowance - totally different meaning in my view. Minimum doesn't connotate optimum, but recommended sort of implies that it is.

1340fe0b7e7b01683ea33042092e05d6

(1693)

on July 30, 2010
at 12:27 PM

Apologize for anyone who took my statements of "throw them out" too literally. Throw them out, aka, do not worry about RDAs/MDRs if you are eating paleo/primal.

0
A3bb2c70384b0664a933b45739bac32c

on June 10, 2010
at 09:25 PM

RDAs are a lowball average for the general population. Everybody is a little different, so RDA could be a starting point, but the final word. Also, science is continually finding out more information about proper nutrition. In other words, the "experts" who come up with the RDA standards are only guessing a lot of the time. Part of the reason I started the Primal way is it makes sense. Following the evolutionary path, you should be getting most of your vitamins, in proper proportions from your food.

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