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Supplements Cost Much and Are Not Necessary for All, Experts Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Entire stores, grocery store aisles and websites are dedicated to helping you find the right combination of vitamins and supplements -- the kinds you swallow, the kinds you chew and the kinds you drink. Although 44 percent of Americans say they use supplements every day -- helping to create the $25 billion dollar industry -- many don't understand why they take them or whether they need to take them at all.

Some supplement labels claim that what's inside the products will help guard against illness. Others boldly claim that you're not getting enough nutrients in a day. But for many, supplements may not be the answer to staying healthy.

"If we really look at the data on vitamins and minerals, there isn't a whole lot there," said Dr. Donald Hensrud, associate professor of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. 

"If you have a varied diet and you're eating fruits and vegetables, you should get all the vitamins through your diet," said Dr. Jill Silverman, primary care physician to ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser. "Otherwise, I just think you're just wasting your money if you're taking anything extra, and potentially doing some harm."

While some supplements are marketed to work for a variety of ailments, there's no scientific data to back all of the claims. Only three-to-four percent of Americans follow all of the dietary guidelines, according to 2009 position paper published by the American Dietetic Association.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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