Are Gummy Vitamins a Smart Choice?

Jelly Bears Vitamins

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With bright packaging and products mirroring sweet treats, you will find gummy vitamins populating the shelves of any drug and grocery store. They may taste and look like candy, as they are usually sweet and available in glossy colors and fruity flavors.

People often feel torn between consuming or avoiding gummies; they taste better than swallowing a multivitamin pill and you might better adhere to taking them on a regular basis (maybe even eating them as an after-meal treat instead of a proper dessert). Perhaps eating gummy vitamins would make you feel guilty, as you'd put more sugar in your body...and for a vitamin no less, a product that should benefit your health and not act as a detriment to it.

You Might Not Need a Multivitamin

This decision might not be necessary to make, as you could skip multivitamins altogether—depending on your dietary intake. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should get the majority of your nutritional needs through food. If you follow a diet that adheres to the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not consuming vitamins is a possibility for you.

This diet guidance includes the following:

  • Don't eat so much food that you go above your daily caloric needs. This can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and milk products that are fat-free or low fat.
  • Consume lean proteins, which include seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy.
  • Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and sugars.

For those who don’t follow a balanced diet, are pregnant and need prenatal nutrition, endure challenges of absorbing nutrients, or have higher nutrient needs than an average adult (for example, you participate in sports or live in an area where you don’t get enough sunshine for natural Vitamin D), you may want to take an appropriate multivitamin. Be sure to speak with a health care professional to ensure you are taking your needed dosage.

For those who want to add vitamins as a supplement to your nutritional intake, gummy vitamins offer both pros and cons. You need to weigh both to decide what works best for your health.  

Benefits of Gummy Vitamins

May Offer Greater Circulation in the Body

Gummy vitamins could release themselves faster into your circulation than tablets. A study comparing a pill versus a gummy Vitamin D entering the circulatory system found that gummies were concentrated significantly higher in the bloodstream than tablets. This lasted for a long period of time as well. Researchers say taking a gummy Vitamin D could even have implications for achieving sufficiency of this vitamin.

Easier to Consume

Gummies can be easier to swallow than tablets. With an aging population experiencing issues with pill consumption and a high demand for easy-to-chew vitamins from a young generation, gummy vitamins address both of these problems, says Markets and Markets, a market research and consulting organization.

Better Taste

Markets and Markets also suggests that the sugar-based coating on gummy vitamins appeal to a larger base than what tablets will solicit, simply because of their preferred flavor. The organization also says that both the geriatric population and children don't typically like dietary supplements because of their "harsh, unappealing, and unpleasant strong tastes." The fruity flavors of gummies help make these two demographic groups more likely to take vitamins.

Appeals to Children and Picky Eaters

The bold bottles of gummies can sway even fussy eaters. In an examination of product packaging marketing strategies, researchers found that gummy vitamin packaging appeals to children because it contains bright colors and descriptive words related to shape and flavor. This leads children to think they are eating food or candy and not a vitamin. The researchers do note that parents need to be cognizant of the risks of overconsumption of gummy vitamins and the importance of providing their children a balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals.

Can Eat Them Anywhere and Develop a Routine in Consumption

Consumers have become accepting of new forms for vitamins other than capsules and pills to balance their nutritional deficiencies, says Markets and Markets. The gummies are easy to take at any time. You don't need a water cup nearby or to take them with food, making them accessible for consumption while traveling, at work, or slipping them into a child's lunchbox. You also might feel more apt to create a routine in taking them, and gummies avoid the dreaded pill fatigue so many people get with supplements.

Risks of Gummy Vitamins

May Damage Your Teeth

Gummies aren't good for your six-month dental checkups. According to Harvard Health, gummy vitamins often cause cavities. One standard size gummy contains anywhere from two to eight grams of sugar per serving, which is typically one chewable. For example, one Flintstone gummy vitamin contains three grams of added sugars, and the first two ingredients are glucose syrup and sugar.

Is this a lot of sugar? Yes. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 100 calories or six teaspoons of sugar per day for American women. For American men, the limit is 150 calories per day or about nine teaspoons. Consuming too much sugar can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, higher blood pressure, weight gain, and fatty liver disease.

Product Might Not Be Certified

Harvard Health states that gummy vitamins aren’t properly certified by a testing agency. When shopping for vitamins, you should look for a label that states US Pharmacopeia, Consumer Lab, or NSF International, as this means the product is certified for dosage and ingredient information. You need to study labels to ensure you're purchasing a quality product.

Dosage Challenging to Control

When consuming gummies instead of tablets, you run the risk of gummy vitamins missing necessary vitamins and minerals. In a 2017 supplement analysis conducted by Consumer Lab, an organization that tests for quality of products, results showed that four out of five gummy products contained more or less than their listed amounts of ingredients.

This occurs because certain manufacturers spray vitamins on the outside of the gummy, making it challenging to control how much goes onto each particular piece.

This analysis also showed that many gummy vitamins lack iron, which is intentional by the manufacturers. Iron has a metallic taste that is difficult to cover up, even in a sugar-filled form.

May Not Be Budget Friendly

Overall, gummies are more expensive than tablets (although prices vary by manufacturer). The packaging is one of the leading reasons for the higher cost. According to Markets and Markets, gummies need air-tight bottles and jars to protect their composition and contamination.

Because of the challenges of getting nutrients into gummy form, most gummies don't have as many nutrients as the pills. To receive all the same nutrients as a tablet, you'd need to purchase several different gummy types.

For example, look at this comparison:

  • Centrum for adults in tablet form contains 23 key micronutrients. You can purchase a bottle with 300 capsules, almost an entire year's worth, for $25.99. This amounts to nine cents per day.
  • Centrum Multigummies for adults contain 15 different nutrients. You can purchase a bottle with 70 capsules for $7.49. This is 10 cents per day with less nutritional value. You'd need to purchase other types, such as Centrum Multigummies Adults 50+ and Centrum Multigummies + Antioxidants to get more minerals that Centrum already offers.

Purchasing these extra gummy bottles leads to more money out of your pocket and greater sugar intake in your body.

Potential for Overdose

Because you can chew gummies like candy, you run the risk of a vitamin overdose. In a review published in Pediatrics on the risk of vitamin A toxicity from chewable supplements for children, researchers found three cases of overdose. Each patient took an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 IU of vitamin A.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that children ages four to eight need 400 mcg RAE of Vitamin A. This is equivalent to 60,000 IU of Vitamin A.

A Word from Verywell

The best way to get all your essential vitamins and minerals is to follow a balanced diet full of a rainbow of colors in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and calcium products, such as milk and yogurt. If you are able to get all of the nutrients you need from your diet, you might not need to take a vitamin supplement. However, a vitamin can be a good "band-aid" to ensure you get all nutrients necessary.

You should speak with a health care professional before beginning any supplementary nutritional product, regardless if it's in gummy or tablet form. This will help you make an educated decision on what your body needs.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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