Many studies of micronutrient supplementation in developing countries have used single-nutrient supplements with either vitamins or minerals. However, people in these countries often suffer from multiple, rather than single, micronutrient deficiencies. The objective of this paper is
to discuss the factors that go into determining the adequate dosing of vitamins and/or minerals for people of different ages. To elaborate on the adequacy of micronutrient doses in supplements, a model described by the US FNB was used, which calculates the difference between the mean observed
intake for an individual and the estimated average requirement for a life stage and gender group. This model allows estimating the degree of confidence that a certain nutrient intake (from supplements and diet) is adequate. The US/Canadian DRI values have been used as the basis for these calculations,
from which it can be concluded that a daily supplement of one RDA of each micronutrient is adequate to cover the personal requirements of all individuals in each respective age and gender group of the population, provided that 20 to 40% of an RDA is supplied by the diet—likely a realistic
value for developing countries. DRI values vary significantly between different age groups, reflecting changing needs over a life cycle. With the objective of a supplement to be adequate and safe, the design of a one-for-all supplement covering all age groups is not realistic. Such a supplement
would either underscore or surpass the required intake of some of the age groups. Additionally the dosage of certain micronutrients might exceed the upper level of intake for lower age groups. Therefore, it is suggested that three different supplements following the one RDA concept for all
micronutrients be developed for research use in developing countries for the following age groups: 1 to 3 years, 4 to 13 years, and females >14 years (excluding during pregnancy).
Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.
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