After conducting an exhaustive scientific review, EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) set levels between 250 μg and 750 μg for infants and children. A higher level of 700 μg was set for pregnant women “to allow for needs of the foetus and the growth of maternal tissues.”
A PRI “is adequate for virtually all people in a population group”.
It noted the actual vitamin A intake across the EU was between:
- 409–651 μg/day for children aged 1 to 3;
- 607–889 μg/day for children aged 3 to 10;
- 597–1078 μg/day for adolescents (10 to 18 years);
- 816–1498 μg/day for adults.
Vitamin A is found in a variety of foods including meat, butter and margarine, eggs, fruits and vegetables and has been backed under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) to benefit eye, skin and cell health as well as its rule in immune health.
“Vitamin A comprises all-trans-retinol (also called retinol) and the family of naturally occurring molecules associated with the biological activity of retinol (such as retinal, retinoic acid, retinyl esters), as well as provitamin A carotenoids that are dietary precursors of retinol,” the NDA said.
“The biological value of substances with vitamin A activity is expressed as retinol equivalent (RE).”
The panel employed ratios of 1 μg RE = 1 μg of retinol; 6 μg of β-carotene and 12 μg of other provitamin A carotenoids in its assessment.
Vitamin A deficiency can cause problems with vision (xerophthalmia). In the developing world vitamin A deficiency in young infants and children is common and a factor in childhood stunting, blindess, increased infectious morbidity and mortality, including respiratory infection and diarrhoea.
The full NDA advice is here.
More on differing intake measures can be found here.
As part of its ongoing work to establish across-the-board Dietary Reference Values (DRVs), in the coming weeks EFSA will publish draft proposals for vitamin E, phosphorus and vitamin B12 that will be open for public consultation.