What’s New in the “Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium” Report?

What's New in the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium Report?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently updated sodium and potassium Adequate Intake, or AI, levels for healthy people. The revised recommendations, which hadn’t been reviewed since being established in 2005, include decreased sodium AIs for children 1 to 13, increased sodium AIs for adults 51 and older, and an overall decrease in potassium for people 1 and older. Some recommendations have not changed, such as the sodium AI for people between 14 and 50 years old. Whether these new guidelines will impact daily values on Nutrition Facts labels is yet to be determined.

Many of the revisions reflect new research as well as a change in approach. For example, sodium no longer has an Upper Tolerable Intake Level, or UL, because there is not enough evidence to quantify toxic intakes separate from chronic disease risk in generally healthy people. There also is limited evidence for establishing an AI of less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day for adults 51 and older. The new sodium AIs for children were based on Estimated Energy Requirements and sodium intakes in breastfed infants. One of the biggest changes is a new DRI category: Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Intake, or CDRR. For sodium, this is the amount above which reduction is expected to reduce chronic disease risk within a healthy population.

Lower potassium AIs are a result of two nationally representative surveys. AIs for adults were based on potassium intakes of men and women with normal blood pressure and no reported history of cardiovascular disease. Previous potassium AIs were based on a variety of studies including supplementation trials. AIs for infants were based on potassium intake estimates of breastfed infants. Due to lack of evidence, a CDRR was not established for potassium.

Most Americans consume too much sodium and not enough potassium. Therefore, these recommendations are important for healthy people to help reduce the risk of chronic disease and even more critical for people taking medications that affect potassium, those with excessive sweat loss and people with a chronic condition or disease such as Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and hypertension. More research is needed in many areas including sodium sensitivity, the sodium-potassium relationship, and the relationship between these micronutrients and energy intake.

Potassium DRIs in milligrams per day
0-6 months400400
7-12 months860700
1-3 years2,0003,000
4-8 years2,3003,800
Males 9-13 years2,5004,500
Females 9-13 years2,3004,500
Males 14-18 years3,0004,700
Females 14-18 years2,3004,700
Males over 19 years3,4004,700
Females over 19 years2,6004,700
Pregnancy 14-18 years2,6004,700
Pregnancy 19-50 years2,9004,700
Lactation 14-18 years2,5005,100
Lactation 19-50 years2,8005,100



Sodium DRIs in milligrams per dayCDRR in milligrams per day
0-6 months110120
7-12 months370370
1-3 years8001,000Reduce intake if above 1,200
4-8 years1,0001,200Reduce intake if above 1,500
9-13 years1,2001,500Reduce intake if above 1,800
14-18 years1,5001,500Reduce intake if above 2,300
19-50 years1,5001,500Reduce intake if above 2,300
51-70 years1,5001,300Reduce intake if above 2,300
71+ years1,5001,200Reduce intake if above 2,300
Pregnancy1,5001,500Reduce intake if above 2,300
Lactation1,5001,500Reduce intake if above 2,300


Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies website. Published March 5, 2019. Accessed April 16, 2019.
Hoy MK, Goldman JD, Murayi T, Rhodes DG, Moshfegh AJ. Sodium Intake of the U.S. Population: What We Eat In America, NHANES 2007-2008. Published October, 2011. Accessed April 16, 2019.
Hoy MK, Goldman JD. Potassium Intake of the U.S. Population: What We Eat In America, NHANES 2009-2010. Published September, 2012. Accessed April 16, 2019.
Institute of Medicine. 2005. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Diane Welland
Diane Welland, MS, RD, is a nutrition communications manager at Kellen Company.