Making Sense Of NRVs: What Exactly Is A Nutrient Reference Value?
The back of vitamins bottles and food packaging is usually crammed full of acronyms: RDA, DRV, LRNI, ETC, ETC. Some are used interchangeably, others are nothing to fret about. The most important one to keep in mind though is NRV.
NRV’s are an important concept in the field of nutrition and probably one you’ve heard and seen frequently. They are the scientific basis on which many, if not all nutrition recommendations are built. You’ll see them on your supplements, on your food packaging and mentioned if you ever have any kind of dietary or nutrition consultation. Below we answer some of the most popular questions on this three letter term.
What Is NRV?
NRV stands for ‘Nutrient Reference Value’. The European Food Safety Authority, or EFSA for short, set NRV’s for 13 vitamins and 14 minerals(1) , including vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iron as guideline amounts that an average healthy person needs per day over time. These can differ between countries. For example, the NRV for vitamin D in Australia is half the recommended amount in the UK — your body of course being able to convert sunlight into vitamin D, something not exactly in short supply down under.
You may have heard NRV’s mentioned as RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) but the older term was officially replaced on labels in December 2014 when new European regulation came into effect.
Is A Nutrient Reference Value A Maximum Amount?
It is not a maximum amount. It is a guideline for an amount you need each day on average to avoid any deficiencies. Tolerable upper limits are however set by the EFSA(2) and these act as a guide in case you’re worried about potentially overdosing on vitamins and minerals — although we must stress that doing so is pretty rare.
What Is % NRV?
On food supplements such as multivitamins you will notice a list of ingredients included in the supplement, the amount and the NRV. The % NRV is the percentage of the nutrient reference value of that ingredient in the product. For example if a supplement contained 800µg (micrograms) Vitamin A, it’s % NRV would be 100% as the NRV of Vitamin A is 800µg.
What Is The NRV For Each Vitamin?
The below is a table listing each vitamin alongside its NRV.
|Vitamin A||800 µg|
|Vitamin D||5 µg|
|Vitamin E||12 mg|
|Vitamin K||75 µg|
|Vitamin C||80 mg|
|Vitamin B6||1.4 mg|
|Folacin/Folic Acid||200 µg|
|Vitamin B12||2.5 µg|
|Pantothenic Acid||6 mg|
What Is The NRV For Each Mineral?
The below is a table listing each mineral alongside its NRV.
1 EFSA Dietary Reference Values
2 EFSA Tolerable Upper Limits
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