Nordic nations up vitamin D and selenium intakes after 8-year review

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fatty acids, Nutrition

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have agreed to wide-ranging changes in nutrient intake recommendations.
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have agreed to wide-ranging changes in nutrient intake recommendations.
A 3-year review of Nordic nutrient intakes has recommended daily vitamin D inputs increase from 7.5 microgram to 10 mcg per day for people between 2 and 75 years of age. For over-75s, it set a level of 20 mcg.

The current levels mean vitamin D recommendations have jumped 50% since 1996.

Recommended intakes for selenium in adults was upped from 40 mcg to 50 mcg for men and 50 mcg to 60 mcg for women. For pregnant and lactating women it moved from 50 to 55 mcg.

The 5th edition of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations involved more than 100 scientists performing systematic reviews of a host of nutrients and was led by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Once the Council formally approve the recommendations - expected this autumn - they will be relevant in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – all of whom gave input.

“It can be difficult to find your way through the jungle of advice on which food is best for us,”​ said secretary general of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Dagfinn Høybråten.

“But the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations give a scientific basis for formulating dietary guidelines and is an excellent example of what the Nordic countries can achieve when they work together.”

Susanne Bryngelsson, managing director of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation added: “A wide range of stakeholders and lay persons share an interest in disseminating nutrition information and guidance. Free access to the research allows these groups to dig deeper into the science behind the recommendations and spread evidence-based information.”

Watch a press conference of yesterday’s launch below.

Other key findings included:

  • Recommended intake ranges for cis-Monounsaturated fatty acids has been changed from 10-15 percent of the total energy intake (E%) to 10-20 E%.
  • Ranges for other fatty acid categories remain, i.e. intake of saturated fatty acids should be < 10 E%, and cis-Polyunsaturated fatty acids should be 5-10 E%, including at least 1 E% as omega-3 fatty acids. Trans-fatty acid intake should be kept as low as possible.
  • Population range for total fat intake has been adjusted to 25-40 E%, compared to 25-35 E% in NNR 2004, which is based on the sum of the ranges for the main fatty acid categories
  • Recommended intake for dietary fibre is at least 25-35 g/d (>3 g/MJ) from foods naturally rich in dietary fibre foods such as wholegrain, fruit and berries, vegetables, and pulses. A limitation of added sugars to less than 10 E% is recommended. 
  • For total carbohydrates the population range has been changed to 45-60 E% compared to 50-60 E% in NNR 2004, as a consequence of the ranges for other macronutrients and also in line with studies on dietary patterns and health outcomes
  • For protein, the recommendations are given both as population ranges expressed as E% (10-20 E%) and as a recommended intake in g/kg BW per day.
  • For physical activity, recommendations are given for time spent at moderate-intensity (>150 min/week) or vigorous intensity (> 75 min/week) for adults and at least 60 min/day moderate- and vigorous intensity, equally distributed, for children.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in July last year raised the more conservative upper safe limit (USL) for vitamin D from 50 mcg a day to 100 mcg. The USL for children aged 1-10 went from 25 mcg a day to 50 mcg a day.

The full report can be found here.

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