One can only point to the percent of individuals at or above the AI as indisputably having an adequate intake.
The proportion of the population with usual intakes below the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is likely to be at no risk of adverse effects due to overconsumption, assuming the data used to establish the UL accurately estimate the intake level at which a threshold for the adverse effect occurs. In the case where a threshold is not apparent, such as with sodium, lack of data may mean that a proportion of the population consuming intakes below the UL may potentially be at some risk. Thus, for sodium, for which the UL is 2.3 g/day, approximately 95 percent of men and 75 to 90 percent of women in the United States and Canada have sodium intakes above the UL (and probably even greater percentages will be above the UL given that salt added to foods at the table is not included in the estimated intake data), and could be considered to be at potential risk of increased blood pressure (the adverse effect used to set the UL for sodium). This coincides with that put the probability of becoming hypertensive at some point in the future at over 90 percent for individuals 55 years of age (Vasan et al., 2002).
The mean intake of a population cannot be used to evaluate the prevalence of intakes above the UL. A distribution of usual intakes, including intakes from supplements, is required to assess the proportion of the population that might be at risk of overconsumption. However, if the mean or median intake is equal to or greater than the UL, as is the case for sodium, it suggests that the number of individuals with excessive intake is high and warrants further investigation.
Adequate Intakes (AIs) are set for all nutrients in this report but sulfate. The AI for term infants is based on human milk, which provides adequate amounts in the case of most nutrients, so it is not necessary to plan additional sources of intakes for infants exclusively fed human milk. Likewise, an infant formula with a nutrient profile similar to human milk (after adjustment for differences in bioavailability) should supply adequate nutrients for an infant. Other age groups (children, adolescents, and adults) should use