mean intake when infants in the age group are consuming human milk. Larger infants may have higher needs, which they meet by consuming more milk.) As with RDAs, AIs for children and adolescents may be extrapolated from adult values if no other usable data are available.

Differences Between the AI and the RDA

There is much less certainty about the AI value than about the RDA value. Because AIs depend on a greater degree of judgment than is applied in estimating the EAR and subsequently the RDA, the AI may deviate significantly from the RDA, if it could have been determined, and may be numerically higher than the RDA, if it were known. For this reason, AIs must be used with greater care than RDAs. Also, the RDA is always calculated from the EAR, using a formula that takes into account the expected variation in the requirement for the nutrient (see previous section “Estimated Average Requirement”).

Tolerable Upper Intake Level

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 intake was chosen to avoid implying a possible beneficial effect. Instead, 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 using the methodology for risk assessment of nutrients (see Chapter 4). The need for setting ULs grew out of the increased fortification of foods and the use of dietary supplements by more people and in larger doses. The UL applies to chronic daily use. As in the case of applying AIs, professionals should avoid very rigid application of ULs and first assess the characteristics of the individual or group of concern such as source of nutrient, physiological state of the individual, length of sustained high intakes, and so forth.

For vitamin C and selenium, the UL refers to total intakes—from food, fortified food, and nutrient supplements. In other instances

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