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China establishes DRIs for EPA and DHA

Finally, the Chinese Nutrition Society has established official dietary reference intakes for EPA and DHA.

In a long-awaited move, the Chinese Nutrition Society has established official Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for EPA and DHA. According to the “Handbook of Chinese DRI’s 2013” issued earlier this month, recommended EPA and DHA intake for adults is from 250 mg to 2000 mg per day.

The publication also established adequate intake levels for the following specific populations:
• Children from birth to four years: 100 mg/day of DHA
• Pregnant and lactating women: 250 mg/day of EPA + DHA, of which 200 mg should be DHA
No level of intake was recommended for children between four years old and 18 years old. GOED had submitted a letter to the Chinese Nutrition Society urging them to adopt DRI’s for children and we will continue to push for that in the next update.

The recommendation is part of a larger update of nutrient DRIss and the government will reportedly release further information in the next two to three months that explains the rationale for the recommended levels.

These DRIs are an important step forward in educating consumers in China, where there is an acute need for increasing EPA and DHA intakes. Recently, the Global Burden of Disease project from the World Health Organization estimated that 188,000 people died in China during 2010 due to low omega-3 intakes. An article in the British Medical Journal also estimated that Chinese intakes of long-chain omega-3s only averaged 37mg/day, significantly lower than the new DRIs.

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