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Experimental Biologists To Debate RDAs
23 April 2001
by Wyn Snow, Managing Editor

Next spring's Experimental Biology 2002 conference will include a special session that debates the adequacy or inadequacy of several of the new recommended dietary allowances (RDAs). As currently envisioned, the session will focus on three nutrients: vitamin B-6, copper, and chromium. For each nutrient, one person will defend the current RDA and another will criticize it.

Debates of this nature are essential to the process of reaching scientific consensus. RDAs are based on statistical analyses and extrapolations using scanty data. Such analyses are vulnerable to both errors and honest disagreements about the findings and importance of different studies, as well as which criteria to use as evidence of adequate intake. (See our in-depth analysis of the federal Institute of Medicine's new RDAs and safe upper levels.)

For vitamin B-6, Professor Robert Reynolds of the University of Illinois at Chicago will serve as co-chair. In our February 2001 interview with Professor Reynolds, he describes his reasons for stating that "RDAs and safe upper levels are more political than scientific." Professor Reynolds tells SupplementQuality.com that he "anticipates a lively session" at the 2002 debate.

  • Defending the RDA for vitamin B-6 will be Professor Barry Shane of the University of California at Berkeley, Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology.

  • Criticizing the RDA for vitamin B-6 will be Professor James Leklem of Oregon State University, Department of Nutrition and Food Management.

The annual Experimental Biology conference is held by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), a coalition of 21 independent member societies that serve the interests of biomedical and life scientists. FASEB's mission is to enhance the ability of biomedical and life scientists to improve, through their research, the health, well-being, and productivity of all people. FASEB's Experimental Biology 2002 conference will be held in New Orleans.end-of-story




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