Exploring the benefits and challenges of establishing a DRI-like process for bioactives
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Bioactives can be defined as: "Constituents in foods or dietary supplements, other than those needed to meet basic human nutritional needs, which are responsible for changes in health status" (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Public Health and Science, Department of Health and Human Services in Fed Reg 69:55821-55822, 2004). Although traditional nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, protein, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids, have dietary reference intake (DRI) values, there is no such evaluative process for bioactives. For certain classes of bioactives, substantial scientific evidence exists to validate a relationship between their intake and enhanced health conditions or reduced risk of disease. In addition, the study of bioactives and their relationship to disease risk is a growing area of research supported by government, academic institutions, and food and supplement manufacturers. Importantly, consumers are purchasing foods containing bioactives, yet there is no evaluative process in place to let the public know how strong the science is behind the benefits or the quantitative amounts needed to achieve these beneficial health effects. This conference, Bioactives: Qualitative Nutrient Reference Values for Life-stage Groups?, explored why it is important to have a DRI-like process for bioactives and challenges for establishing such a process.
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