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Panel: Vitamins & Supplements May Not Be Worth The Money

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- At least half of all Americans take multivitamins and mineral supplements but new research shows consumers may be wasting their money.

The multivitamin and supplement industry is huge bringing in about $30 billion dollars a year and while many believe these daily supplements will keep them healthy, a panel of experts reviewing three studies on multivitamins finds no evidence supplements prevent chronic disease or death. Researchers said they should be avoided.

"There is really no evidence of benefit and there is evidence of harm," said Dr. Edgar Miller from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "Our recommendation is don't waste your money."

Previous research has shown Beta Carotene, Vitamin E and possibly high doses of Vitamin A can increase death and that other antioxidants have no benefits. However, the Council for Responsible Nutrition disagrees with the new research and argues supplements are an appropriate option for consumers who aren't getting enough nutrients from food.

Doctor Robert Graham of Lenox Hill Hospital agrees.

"There might be an argument to continue taking a multi to replace or supplement your not healthy diet," he said.

There is conflicting evidence on Vitamin D, which research shows has been proven effective and ineffective in preventing falls and fractures in the elderly.

Several people we spoke with in Fort Lauderdale believe the new research is spot on.

"I have the feeling that a lot of them are over hyped by the pharmaceutical companies and the media and that they're probably present in the diet," said Oscar Padron.

"There's so much stuff on the shelves, right?," said Tony Capullo. "And there's a lack of education about what you're buying."

Others like Debra Rapoport say she eats healthy and regularly takes supplements. She has no plans to stop.

"I have energy , I sleep well, so I figure if it ain't broke don't fix it," said Rapoport.

Researchers say there is still a lot of study to be done on this topic. For instance, they say there's a lot we don't know about the health benefits of vitamin D and omega 3 supplements.

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