Dietary Reference Values (DRV)

Dietary Reference Values (DRV)

There are many different values and units of measurements that get splashed on the side of supplements RDI,UI, DV, UL,μg, etc. It can be hard to know what they all mean and if they are relevant to you.

Before we begin it is important to know that these values are based on an average male and female adult. But as we know we are not all average and there are many factors that can influence these which include; age, weight, height and body composition (ratio of muscle tissue to fat tissue in your body). Below is an explanation of different terms that are used followed by the values of different minerals and vitamins.



RDI (Recommended daily intake) / RNI (Reference Nutritional intake)/ DV (Daily Value) – 

Both RDI/RNI are estimated averages you should be consuming each day. However as mentioned earlier these are averages and we are not all average, some people may need more, or less.

UL (Tolerable Upper limit) – 

UL is the term used to state what the highest amount for the average person that is unlikely to cause any side effects

EAR (Estimated average Requirement) –

This is the amount that is suggested for the average person

LRNI (Lower Reference Nutritional intake) – 

This is the amount for people with low nutritional needs. However for most people it can cause deficiency if continually consuming LRNI.

Units of measurement

μg/mcg (micrograms) – 

It is the equal mass to a millionth of a gram sometimes known as mcg.

Mg (milligrams) – 

A milligram is equal to a thousandth of a gram

G (Grams) – 

A gram is a unit of measurement which is equal to a thousandth of a kilogram.

RAE (Retinol Activity equivalents) – 

Measurement that previously used IU’s (international units). Used to measure Vitamin A to account for the bioactivity of  retinol and beta carotenoids, which are then broken down into micrograms.


Nutritional values of vitamins and minerals for the average person.

Nutrient RDI DV UL
Vitamin A 900μg (RAE) 3000IU 3000μg (RAE)
Vitamin B1 1.2mg 1.2mg N/A
Vitamin B2 1.3mg 1.3mg N/A
Vitamin B3 16mg 16mg 35mg
Vitamin B5 N/A 5mg N/A
Vitamin B6 1.3mg 1.7mg 100mg
Vitamin B9 400μg 400μg 1000μg
Vitamin B12 2.4μg 2.4μg N/A
Vitamin C 90mg 90mg 2000mg
Vitamin D N/A 20μg N/A
Vitamin E 15mg 15mg 1000mg
Vitamin K N/A 120mg N/A
Choline N/A 550mg 3500mg


Nutrient RDI DV UL
Calcium N/A 1300mg 2500mg
Copper 0.9mg 0.9mg 10mg
Iodine 150μg N/A 1100μg
Iron 8mg 18mg 45mg
Magnesium 400mg 420mg N/
Manganese N/A 2.3mg 11mg
Phosphorus 700mg 1250mg 4000mg
Potassium 4700mg 4700mg N/A
Selenium 55μg 55μg 400μg
Sodium 1500mg 2300mg N/A
Zinc 11mg 11mg 40mg

*1.6g is the Adequate Intake (AI) for Omega 3s. Adequate Intake is assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy and is established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA.(1,2,3)


1 – Covington, M. (2004). Omega-3 fatty acids. American family physician, 70(1), 133-140.

2 – Lupton, J. R., Brooks, J. A., Butte, N. F., Caballero, B., Flatt, J. P., & Fried, S. K. (2002). Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids. National Academy Press: Washington, DC, USA, 5, 589-768.

3 – Joint, F. A. O., & World Health Organization. (2007). Protein and amino acid requirements in human nutrition: report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation. World Health Organization.