Daily Values

Updates to Dietary Supplement Labels

In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced regulations that amend Supplement Facts labels. The new label requirements will be fully implemented by 2022. Changes to supplement labels include the actual amount and percent Daily Values (DVs) for declared nutrients, the listing of added sugars, and the new definition for declaring fiber. For more information see: Changes That Matter to You: FDA’s New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels and Recent changes to Supplemental Facts labelExiting NLM Site and New Supplement Facts Labels--What You Need To KnowExiting NLM Site

Nutrient Unit Conversion Factors

The Daily Values (DVs) that are used to declare vitamins and minerals on labels have been updated in the new regulations. Also updated are the units to express the amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, and folate. For vitamin D and folate, the FDA will permit manufacturers to include the amounts of these nutrients in old units in parenthesis adjacent to the amounts in the new units. The conversion factors listed below give guidance on converting the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, and folate from the “old” DV units to the units in the updated regulations.

Vitamin A:

1 mcg retinol activity equivalents (RAE) = 1 mcg pre-formed vitamin A (retinol) = 2 mcg supplemental beta-carotene = 12 mcg dietary beta-carotene = 24 mcg of other dietary provitamin A carotenoids (alpha-carotene or beta-cryptoxanthin)

  • 1 International Unit (IU) retinol = 0.3 microgram (mcg) RAE
  • 1 IU beta-carotene (synthetic) = 0.3 mcg RAE
  • 1 IU beta-carotene (naturally occurring) = 0.05 mcg RAE
  • 1 IU alpha-carotene or beta-cryptoxanthin = 0.025 mcg RAE

Vitamin E:

1 mg alpha-tocopherol (label claim) = 1 mg alpha -tocopherol = 1 mg RRR- alpha -tocopherol = 2 mg all-rac-alpha-tocopherol

  • 1 IU of d-alpha-tocopherol (natural) = 0.67 mg of alpha-tocopherol
  • 1 IU of dl-alpha-tocopherol (synthetic) = 0.45 mg of alpha-tocopherol

Vitamin D:

  • 1 IU = 0.025 mcg for cholecalciferol/ergocalciferol


  • 1 mcg folic acid = 1.7 mcg dietary folate equivalents (DFE)
  • For other synthetic forms of folate, such as calcium or glucosamine salts of L-5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF), manufacturers can establish conversion factors, provided they are truthful and not misleading, and do not exceed the conversion factor established for folic acid.


  • 1 mg NE = 1 mg niacin = 60 mg tryptophan

Sources: US FDA Converting units of measure for folate, niacin, and vitamins A, D, and E on the nutrition and supplement facts labels: Guidance for industry Exiting NLM Site

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are nutrient reference values developed by the National Academies Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) for healthy people. These values, which have been established for 22 age, gender and condition groups, include:

  • Estimated Average Requirement (EAR): average daily nutrient intake levels estimated to meet the requirements of half (50%) of the healthy individuals in a group.
  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): average daily level of intake enough to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%-98%) healthy people.
  • Adequate Intake (AI): established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects.
Intake Risk of Adverse Effects Graph

More information about the FNB’s DRIs can be found at the Academies website: Dietary Reference Intake InformationExiting NLM Site

Labeling Daily Values (DVs)

The FDA has established only four sets of DVs for labeling of conventional foods and dietary supplements: 1) adults and children 4 years and older, 2) children 1 through 3 years, 3) infants 1 through 12 months, and 4) pregnant and lactating women. In establishing these DVs, the FDA usually selects the highest RDA (or AI) value established by the National Academies Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) within each of these four age and life stage groups. NOTE: most products sold are labeled for adults and children 4 years and older.

The following table compares the "old" DVs with the "new" DVs. Percent DVs must be based on the FDA values and not on Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) established by the National Academies.

NOTE: in 2016, the FDA updated the DVs, i.e., both the amounts and units used to express the amounts of nutrients found in dietary supplements. These “new” DVs will be fully implemented on Supplement Facts labels by 2022. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, the order for vitamins and minerals on the Supplement Facts label is: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and folic acid, vitamin B12, biotin, pantothenic acid, choline, calcium, iron, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, chloride, sodium, potassium, and fluoride.

See the Nutrient Unit Conversion Factors section to convert between units.

Based on the reference caloric intake of 2,000 calories for adults and children aged 4 years and older, and for pregnant women and lactating women.

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