Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
The RDA is defined as, “the daily dietary intake level of a nutrient considered sufficient to meet the requirements of nearly all (97–98%) healthy individuals in each life-stage and gender group.” So in plain english, this is the amount of nutrients any healthy person requires, on a daily basis, to survive. NOTE: HEALTHY PERSON
Optimal Daily Intake (ODI)
This is a level of intake that takes into consideration a person’s genetic background, their environment – both in their home and their place of employment (or where they spend the majority of the day) – as well as their daily habits such as smoking, drinking, stress levels, prescription medications, and other factors unique to them.
In considering all of these factors, the ODI would reveal an optimal level of intake for an individual. Each person has individual optimal requirements which depend on his or her unique biological makeup and living situation. Because of the uniqueness in requirements among people, establishing an average intake level can be very difficult. It thus becomes more useful for individuals rather than for the general population. So, this is the amount of nutrients, an individual with unique circumstances and health issues, requires to survive . . . . and in turn, thrive!
For example: the RDA for vitamin B6 is 2mg. Vitamin B6 is used for a number of functions in the body and the general population will survive on that RDA.
Now take a person who works in a stressful environment, possibly drinks a bit too much and tends towards depression due to the stress. 2mg is never going to be enough to help the body cope with stress, let alone cope with the depression, drinking and other ailments that WILL eventually crop up. The ODI of 10-25mg would be more appropriate to help the person and their body cope with their lifestyle and instead of just surviving, they’ll correct the deficiency and begin to thrive.