Essential Nutrient Supplements: Essential or Supplementary?

My niece loves taking her vitamins every morning... they are gummy bears after all. Who can blame her? I love my calcium chews, too. Whether you love or hate taking your daily vitamins, the question remains- are they essential for health? Or are they just icing on the cake? Although most studies show vitamin and mineral intake is below recommendations for most Americans, the effects on health are still controversial.