Whether Vitamins Are Worth the Money

Women who are breastfeeding also should take prenatal vitamins, and breast-fed babies should be given vitamin D drops, Besser said. Vitamin D is important for bone health, and that's critical for growing children.

"Breast milk is the perfect food, except for one thing," Besser said. "It doesn't contain vitamin D. Women who are breastfeeding need to give their kids Vitamin D drops."

So, the bottom line on vitamins, according to doctors, is that they certainly don't hurt, but unless you are actually vitamin-deficient or fall into a specific category, they probably won't help, either.

"There are so many misconceptions out there," says Dr. Lee Green, a professor in family medicine at the University of Michigan. "Many people believe that vitamins will give them energy [or other benefits]...I spend a lot of time explaining to people that vitamins are not a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise!"

When it comes down to it, Green says, you have to eat nutritious food to get the nutrients you need. In other words, "You have to eat the vegetables...because it's not the vitamins that make you healthy -- it's the vegetables!"

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