There is no doubt that nutrition and health are intimately linked and that diet plays a central role in many birth defects, childhood illnesses, and chronic degenerative diseases. The conventional wisdom about health and nutrition contains two basic principles: 1) We should eat a varied and balanced diet that is low in fat (particularly saturated fat), rich in fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (particularly fiber). 2) As part of this diet, we should consume the Recommend Dietary Allowances (RDA) of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Although these two commonly held principles constitute sound advice, do they go far enough? Does the conventional wisdom ensure optimal nutrition? The answer to this question is no. Clearly, optimal nutrition begins with a healthful diet, and eating well is absolutely necessary for long-term health. No excuse or remedy can compensate for a poor diet. Nevertheless, over the past 25 years, scientific research has confirmed that the conventional wisdom is not enough. In particular, the RDA recommendations, while effective in reducing the incidence of such acute nutrient deficiency diseases as scurvy, rickets, and pellagra--vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B3 deficiencies, respectively--do not suffice when long-term health is the goal. In other words, the RDAs are insufficient to prevent many chronic degenerative diseases, including heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis, Type II diabetes, and macular degeneration. In short, substantial, sound, scientific evidence demonstrates that advanced intakes of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants-at levels significantly higher than the current RDAs-are linked to reduced risk and incidence of many chronic degenerative diseases. Which returns us to our original point: that the conventional wisdom does not ensure optimal nutrition. While both the food pyramid recommendations and the RDAs provide a sound foundation for nutritional programs, they are insufficient for long-term health. Indeed, when chronic heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes are factored in, advanced levels of the essential nutrients appear to be vital to lifelong health. The most effective way to obtain these advanced levels of nutrition is by using high-quality supplements to complement your healthful, balanced diet, and to give you the advanced levels of essential nutrients that promote a lifetime of good health.