judgment than is applied in estimating the EAR and subsequently an RDA, the AI might deviate significantly from and be numerically higher than the RDA if it could be determined. For this reason, AIs must be used with greater care than is the case for RDAs. Also, the RDA is always calculated from the EAR by using a formula that takes into account the expected variation in the requirement for the nutrient (see previous section).
The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the highest level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects in almost all individuals in the specified life stage group (see Figure 1-1). As intake increases above the UL, the risk of adverse effects increases. The term tolerable was chosen to avoid implying a possible beneficial effect; the term is intended to connote a level of intake that can, with high probability, be tolerated biologically. The UL is not intended to be a recommended level of intake, and there is no established benefit for healthy individuals if they consume a nutrient in amounts exceeding the recommended intake (the RDA or AI).
The UL is based on an evaluation conducted by using the methodology for risk assessment of nutrients (see Chapter 3). The need for setting ULs grew out of the increased fortification of foods with nutrients and the increased use of dietary supplements. For vitamin B6 and choline, the UL refers to total intakes—from food, fortified food, and nutrient supplements. In other instances (i.e., for niacin and folate) it may refer only to intakes from supplements or fortificants or a combination of the two. The UL applies to chronic daily use. Details are given for each nutrient.
For some nutrients, data may not be sufficient for deriving a UL. This indicates the need for caution in consuming amounts greater than the recommended intakes; it does not mean that high intakes pose no risk of adverse effects.
In the derivation of the EAR or AI, close attention has been paid to the determination of the most appropriate indicators of adequacy. A key question is, Adequate for what? In many cases a continuum of benefits may be ascribed to various levels of intake of the same nutrient. One criterion may be deemed the most appropriate to determine the risk that an individual will become deficient in the