What is the difference between RDA and requirement?

RDA stands for Recommended Dietary Allowance, which is a set of guidelines established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) to provide recommendations for nutrient intake for healthy individuals. These recommendations are intended to help prevent nutrient deficiencies and chronic diseases.

Requirement is defined as the amount of a nutrient needed to sustain a specific function or physiological process. The distinction between the two is that RDA values are set to meet the needs of the majority of healthy people in a given life stage and gender group, while requirement is the amount of nutrient that is specifically required for an individual to maintain a healthy status, sometimes this may vary based on the particular condition of an individual.

For example, an RDA for vitamin C may be set at 75-90 mg per day for adult females and 90-120 mg per day for adult males. However, an athlete's requirements may be higher to support their physical activity, and for pregnant or breastfeeding woman the requirement for some nutrient may differ.

It's important to note that RDA values are not intended to be used as a goal for individual intake, and some people may require more or less of a nutrient to meet their specific needs. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to understand your specific nutritional needs and how to achieve them is highly recommended.


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