Supplement Facts, it says in big black letters. Okay, I get that. Serving Size Alright, I'm still with you. But then… things start to get… strange… Is it a foreign language? Some mysterious code transmitted by scientists in white lab coats who haven't seen the light of day in weeks? What do these abbreviations mean?! Will I ever figure it out? Am I supposed to? Does it matter?! Trying to decipher the back label of a vitamin or supplement bottle may feel like a task that's not for the faint of heart. And while you may need a chemistry degree to parse out the exact meaning of Docosahexaenoic Acid, you don't need any special training to learn how to safely use vitamins and supplements.
4 Back-of-Label Descriptions You Can Understand!Let's talk about some of the abbreviations you might see on a vitamin or supplement bottle. These definitions are taken from National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements…
- RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances): average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%-98%) healthy people.
- AI (Adequate Intakes): established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy. In other words, if no RDA has been determined, then the label may use AI instead.
- DV (Daily Value): Daily value is typically the equivalent of an RDA (or an AI if an RDA does not exist for a particular supplement). DV is displayed as a percentage. So, in the case of this calcium supplement, the serving size of 1 tablet offers 60% of the calcium your body needs for the day.
- UL (Tolerable Upper Intake Level): maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects. You don't want to consume more of a vitamin or supplement in a day than what's listed as the UL.