In 2006 Americans spent $22.1 billion on dietary supplements- multivitamins being the number one supplement purchased, and with good reason. Most of us don't get enough nutrients from food alone, so supplementation with a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral product becomes the next best thing.

Taking a daily multivitamin does not diminish the importance of a healthy diet. Food should remain as the primary source of all vitamins and minerals and cannot be replaced with a supplement. When one maintains a fairly balanced diet the nutrient gap is narrowed between the amount of supplements you need and what you actually get from foods. The smaller the nutrient gap is the more effective your supplement will be in helping you meet your daily requirement.

So, is there a right or wrong way to take a daily multivitamin? Many experts would respond to that question with a resounding yes.

When it comes to vitamins, more is not always better. High doses of a multivitamin for the purpose of supplementing one's diet are not helpful. There is no evidence that such mega doses do more for you than the recommended levels. If anything, they may be harmful to your health. To get the most out of your supplement, keep your daily intake level within the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), unless otherwise instructed by your doctor or other qualified health professional.

It is also important to realize that all multivitamins are not created equal. There are good and not so good supplements on the market. Supplements that do not dissolve well in the stomach provide marginal benefits. The price of a multivitamin is not always a good indicator, and what works for someone else may not work for you, so may have to experiment to see which ones do actually work for you. Always buy brand names from companies that have been in the business for at least five years.

Maximize the benefits you get from your multivitamins and supplements by taking them at least five days of the week. Although your systems work much better under stable constant conditions your body may require a rest. Very few if any foods should be used everyday. Minerals and digestive enzymes are an exception to this rule. The other would be if you find that you just donŐt feel well without that particular vitamin or supplement.

TodayŐs mineral poor soil and growing conditions make supplementation more important today than ever. Many conditions are improved by the simple use of a multivitamin such as chronic fatigue, poor sleep, digestive disturbances, memory loss, arthritis and all the infirmities of old age.

If you are at a loss as to where to start, but know that you need to make some changes. Start with a good multi-vitamin mineral and see how you do. There are literally endless volumes of material available to help you. Start one new supplement at a time, see how you feel and go from there. Till next time, Rebecca