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Is RDA the same as NRV?

May 5, 2016 | 2 min read

In December 2014 a new European regulation came into effect which changed the way which nutritional information should be displayed on food products in relation to vitamins and minerals. 18 months down the line many people still don't know about the change and are confused as to where the RDA they used to look at has gone.

You will still see the term RDA used e.g. women are recommended to consume 2,000 calories and men 2,500 calories per day. RDAs extend across the main macronutrients including fat, carbohydrates and protein as well as salt and fluids.

What’s the difference between RDA and NRV?

RDA’s (Recommended Daily Allowance) have now changed to NRV’s (Nutrient Reference Values). Instead of 100% RDA, you will now see 100% NRV. The values for RDA and NRV’s are exactly the same - NRV is a straight replace of RDA.

What does NRV actually mean?

NRVs (Nutrient Reference Values) are a set of recommendations for nutritional intake based on currently available scientific knowledge. They state the level of intake of essential nutrients considered to be adequate to meet the known nutritional needs of practically all healthy people for the prevention of deficiencies, i.e the amount of vitamins and minerals you need to be consuming to prevent becoming ill.

Current (May 2016) Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) for vitamins and minerals as set in the EU can be seen below:


Vitamin EU NRV
Vitamin A 800 µg / 2664 IU 
Vitamin D 5 µg / 200 IU
Vitamin E 12 mg / 17.9 IU
Vitamin K 75 µg
Vitamin C 80mg
Thiamin 1.1 mg
Riboflavin 1.4 mg
Niacin 16 mg
Vitamin B6 1.4 mg
Folacin/Folic Acid 200 µg
Vitamin B12 2.5 µg
Biotin 50 µg
Pantothenic Acid 6 mg


Mineral EU NRV
Potassium 2000 mg
Chloride 800 mg
Calcium 800 mg
Phosphorus 700 mg
Magnesium 375mg
Iron 14 mg
Zinc 10 mg
Copper 1 mg
Manganese 2 mg
Fluoride 3.5 mg
Selenium 55 µg
Chromium 40 µg
Molybdenum  50 µg
Iodine 150 µg
» Categories: Terminologies Explained


Mar 5, 2017
I'm confused by the vitamin D tablets I have just purchased. They are 25ug which states that there NRV=500% which would surely I would be overdosing taking these. Could please enlighten me as I was only going to take these as my diet and sun exposure leaves me short of this vitamin
Replied to on: Mar 5, 2017
They are perfectly safe to consume. The NRV level is an indicator of the minimum required for the human body to maintain health, given reasonable and average environment and diet. If you have a specific therapeutic requirement (as you state that you do) then exceeding the NRV would be something you may want to do. There is a suggested upper limit of 100mcg, above which could be harmful if taken for a prolonged period (unless under medical supervision), but at 25mcg you are well below this level.
Mar 5, 2017
I notice you sell products containing Vitamin D2 and some with D3, what is the difference?
Replied to on: Mar 6, 2017
The top and bottom of it is that Vitamin D3 now tends to be the preferred form for supplementation. D3 is slightly more expensive than D2 and not always a vegan source (if that is a concern). Rather handily, we have a Health News article available which contains with more information:
May 24, 2017
Thank you for this article! I am concerned about my vitamin B12 requirements. I just bought a food supplement to improve my mental capacities, cognitive function and energy levels. I decided ro try this supplememt since I've been experiencing sleepiness, lightheadedness and mild apathy and distractedness ever since I started tad taking an anti-depressant, seven weeks ago. Now I am worried how this enourmous (4000% NRV) dose of B12 might affect my gustrointestinal functioning, anxiety levels and skin, since it's known to cause disturbances in digestion, rashes, acne, etc. Silly of my, actually, that I consulted a pharmacist but forgot to ask about this ginormous number, and then I read a scientific article on the subject online, but am still none the wiser whether the exceeded NRV is going to affect negatively in any way. I would highly appreciate any advice. I am seeing my doctor soon enough, but meanwhile--life goes on, and I can't be napping all day...
Replied to on: May 24, 2017
You should have no concerns, as Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that you will absorb what you need then naturally pass any excess - you can read more about Water Soluble Vitamins here:

Here is some further reading about B12 from our great Health Blog:
Jun 26, 2017
Hi, I take multivitamins & iron every day as I tend to be slightly anaemic. I have also just bought a pot of calcium & vitamin D as I've just started the menopause and am concerned about my bones. I couldn't get calcium on its own over the counter. Looking at the back, the mutltivitamin one says vitamin D3, 5ug,100% and the other states vitamin D, 2.5ug, 50%. Is it ok to take both? Thanks for your advice.
Replied to on: Jun 26, 2017
A daily intake of 7.5mcg (150% NRV) will not cause any issues - this is a perfectly safe daily level, so you can go ahead and take both.
Jun 26, 2017
The question about Vitamin D values above from Mr Moore mentioned 25ug and NRV=500%. Your reply mentioned an upper limit in mcg. What is mcg? Can you please tell me what the daily upper limit is for D3 and K2 and if there is a table somewhere that holds such information. Thank you, David McCabe.
Replied to on: Jun 26, 2017
Sorry for the confusion. 1mg (milligram) = 1000mcg (microgram). The following abbreviations are all used for microgram and all mean the same thing: µg, ug, mcg.

There is no official daily upper limit for supplementation, but many people would use the 2003 report 'Safe upper levels for vitamins and minerals: report of the expert group on vitamins and minerals' as a good starting point for that sort of information, although as you can see from the report - for the two supplements that you queried - it is not simple to give an exactly quantifiable amount. You can find a copy of the report here:
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