Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids


Report at a Glance

  • Elements Table (PDF)
  • Vitamins Table (PDF)
  • Press Release (HTML)

This volume is one of the authoritative series of quantitative estimates of nutrient intakes to be used for planning and assessing diets for healthy people. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) is the newest framework for an expanded approach developed by U.S. and Canadian scientists.

This book discusses in detail the role of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and the carotenoids in human physiology and health. For each nutrient the committee presents what is known about how it functions in the human body, which factors may affect how it works, and how the nutrient may be related to chronic disease.

Dietary Reference Intakes provides reference intakes, such as Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), for use in planning nutritionally adequate diets for different groups based on age and gender, along with a new reference intake, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), designed to assist an individual in knowing how much is "too much" of a nutrient.

Specifically, major new recommendations in this report include the following:

  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E and selenium is the same for adult men and women regardless of age, representing the lack of specificity in data available.
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is different for adult men and women due to women's smaller lean body mass.
  • Alpha-tocopherol alone is used for estimating vitamin E requirements and recommending daily vitamin E intake, since the other naturally occurring forms of vitamin E are not converted to alpha-tocopherol in the human and are recognized poorly by the alpha-tocopherol transfer protein in the liver.
  • Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium are established.
  • Research recommendations for full-scale intervention trials to test the preventive potential of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and beta-carotene and other carotenoids for chronic disease are outlined. At the present time, there is no resolution of the possible impact of these nutrients or food components on chronic disease.