Topic of the Month
1 October 2014
As concentrated sources of micronutrients designed to supplement the normal diet, dietary supplements can be used to balance specific dietary deficits or to ensure adequate intakes. However, in some cases too high an intake of micronutrients can have adverse effects on health or cause undesirable side effects; for this reason it is necessary to define maximum intakes to guarantee the safety of their use in dietary supplements. Since the European legislative authority has not yet established uniform maximum intakes across the whole of Europe, manufacturers of dietary supplements and fortified foods are guided by recommended daily amounts and scientifically recognized upper limits for safe total daily intakes. This also applies to safe intakes for minerals present in the body, whether as macro-elements in concentrations of at least 50 mg per kg dry body weight, or as trace elements (micro-elements) in concentrations of under 50 mg per kg body weight (see also The safety of micronutrients – Part 1: fat-soluble vitamins and Part 2: water-soluble vitamins).