EFSA proposes adequate intake levels for fluoride and molybdenum

News Story
8 August 2013

EFSA’s nutrition experts have continued their work on Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) by publishing their first pieces of advice on micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The two scientific opinions on the minerals fluoride and molybdenum follow previous advice on DRVs for energy, macronutrients – protein, fats and carbohydrates –dietary fibre, and water. EFSA will publish a series of further opinions on DRVs for micronutrients, including vitamin C, folate, iron, zinc, calcium, and iodine.

  • Fluoride performs no essential function in human growth and development and no signs of fluoride deficiency have been identified. Although fluoride is not essential for tooth development, its role in the prevention of dental caries has been known for many years.  Epidemiological studies have shown an inverse correlation between the presence of fluoride in drinking water and the prevalence of dental caries in children. The NDA Panel proposes an adequate intake (AI) of 0.05mg/kg body weight per day for children aged 7 months to 17 years as well as adults, including pregnant and lactating women. The AI covers fluoride intake from all sources, including non-dietary sources such as toothpaste and other dental hygiene products. The major dietary sources are water and beverages or foods reconstituted with fluoridated water; tea; marine fish; and fluoridated salt.
  • Molybdenum is an essential component of some enzymes, and is found in foods such as pulses, cereal grains and grain products, offal (liver, kidney) and nuts. It is present in small amounts in the body but is involved in some important biological processes. Molybdenum deficiency in healthy humans has not been observed. The NDA Panel proposes an AI of 65 micrograms per day for adults including pregnant and lactating women and AIs ranging from 10 to 65 micrograms per day for infants, children and adolescents.

The two opinions were finalised by the NDA Panel after public consultation, ensuring that EFSA benefits from the widest range of information, data and views from the scientific community, stakeholders and other interested parties.

DRVs comprise a set of reference values such as average requirements, population reference intakes, adequate intakes, lower threshold intakes and tolerable upper intake levels. The European Commission asked EFSA to update previous European advice in this area, taking into account new scientific evidence and recent recommendations issued at national and international level. 

Scientific advice on DRVs is an important basis for the policy decisions of the European Union in the field of nutrition. They can be used to establish reference values for nutrition labelling, for the assessment and planning of diets and for developing food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG). FBDG translate DRVs and nutritional recommendations into messages about food and diet which can help consumers to make healthy dietary choices.

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