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Dietary reference values for sodium

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Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) derived dietary reference values (DRVs) for sodium. Evidence from balance studies on sodium and on the relationship between sodium intake and health outcomes, in particular cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related endpoints and bone health, was reviewed. The data were not sufficient to enable an average requirement (AR) or population reference intake (PRI) to be derived. However, by integrating the available evidence and associated uncertainties, the Panel considers that a sodium intake of 2.0 g/day represents a level of sodium for which there is sufficient confidence in a reduced risk of CVD in the general adult population. In addition, a sodium intake of 2.0 g/day is likely to allow most of the general adult population to maintain sodium balance. Therefore, the Panel considers that 2.0 g sodium/day is a safe and adequate intake for the general EU population of adults. The same value applies to pregnant and lactating women. Sodium intakes that are considered safe and adequate for children are extrapolated from the value for adults, adjusting for their respective energy requirement and including a growth factor, and are as follows: 1.1 g/day for children aged 1–3 years, 1.3 g/day for children aged 4–6 years, 1.7 g/day for children aged 7–10 years and 2.0 g/day for children aged 11–17 years, respectively. For infants aged 7–11 months, an Adequate Intake (AI) of 0.2 g/day is proposed based on upwards extrapolation of the estimated sodium intake in exclusively breast-fed infants aged 0–6 months.