By Stephanie Stahl

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Millions of people spend billions of dollars on vitamins, but new research released late today says they’re a waste of money. The new research found specifically that multivitamins didn’t protect the brain or prevent heart attacks.

Like millions of Americans Debra Rapoport takes vitamins every day. “I take vitamin C, D and B-12,” says Debra.  Many people believe daily supplements will keep them healthy.

But a panel of experts reviewing three studies on multivitamins finds no evidence supplements prevent chronic disease or death and they should be avoided. Researcher Dr. Edgar Miller says, “There is really no evidence of benefit and there is evidence of harm.”

Previous research has shown beta carotene, vitamin E and possibly high doses of Vitamin A can be fatal.  “Some of the vitamins are stored in fat cells instead of passing thru the body they build up in fat cells and you can have toxicity,” according to Dr. Anna Headly an internist with Cooper University Hospital.  She says a healthy diet provides all  necessary vitamins. however people who doesn’t get enough nutrients from food might benefit from supplements.  “Vitamins do help people who are deficient so if a little is good maybe more is better, unfortunately that’s not true.” Dr Headly says.

But some doctors aren’t convinced and say vitamins can be helpful. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is still deliberating whether vitamin supplements make any difference in the average person’s risk of heart disease or cancer.  Debra says, “I have energy, I sleep well, so I figure if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

But there are two standouts, vitamin D and omega 3 supplements, researchers say the jury is still out on their health benefits.

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