Wellness·5 min read

Are Gummy Vitamins Worth It? What the Science Says

Gummies Out of Jar
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
May 18, 2022

We’ve come a long way since those chalky Flintstones vitamins. Now, you can take your daily vitamins as a gummy. A trendy (and tasty) alternative. But there are questions around whether gummy vitamins can measure up to the standard ones, who — if anyone — can benefit from them, and if there are any risks to consider (see: taking more than the recommended amount). We’re breaking down each of these questions and how to decide if taking gummy vitamins is right for you. 

Are gummy vitamins effective? 

It’s complicated.

Swapping out traditional vitamins for gummies might not be an exact science. Because some gummy vitamins can actually have less nutrients than advertised. Or more. They tend to lose their potency faster than pill vitamins. So some manufacturers might pack them with nutrients. 

Certain people need vitamin supplements to give them nutrients they wouldn’t normally get from their everyday diet. Think: people who don’t eat certain foods (like vegans and vegetarians), pregnant people, and older adults.

But manufacturers might also add sugar or sugar alcohols to make the gummy taste sweet. And too much sugar — some brands can include up to 8 grams of sugar per serving  — can lead to cavities or possibly more serious conditions like heart disease. For context: The FDA and CDC recommend that calories from added sugars make up less than 10% of your total calories each day. That equals about 50 grams of added sugar per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet. (That’s the equivalent of about two cups of orange juice). Yet, the average American adult consumes over 70 grams of added sugar per day. 

So gummy vitamins can be helpful for some people. But you might not need to take vitamin supplements at all if you’re getting the right amount of nutrients through the food you eat. 

Are gummy vitamins approved by the FDA?

Vitamin supplements (no matter the form) fall under the FDA’s dietary supplement category. Meaning that the FDA doesn’t approve vitamin gummies, or other dietary supplements, for effectiveness and safety. That responsibility falls on companies themselves. But the agency says companies have to comply with certain “labeling and quality requirements” (think: having accurate nutritional information and ensuring there are no contaminants). And that it will inspect manufacturing facilities for compliance and investigate any safety concerns. 

Make sure to research the gummies that you want to try. And talk with your doctor before adding anything new to your diet. 

Types of adult gummy vitamins and their benefits 

Many traditional vitamins also come in a gummy form. Here are some examples of the types of vitamins you might find — including some you might not have heard of yet:

Calcium gummies…Your body uses calcium for more than just building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It also helps the heart, muscles, and nerves function properly.

Vitamin C gummies…The vitamin helps the body absorb iron, protects cells from damage that can lead to conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and supports the growth of muscles, blood vessels, and bones. The body doesn’t naturally produce vitamin C, which is why you need to consume it. Many fruits and veggies contain it. And then there are also vitamin supplements.  

Ashwagandha gummies…Aka the winter cherry. The plant’s native to India and Southeast Asia. And people look to ashwagandha supplements to help relieve anxiety/stress, boost athletic performance, and lower inflammation. There’s also some evidence that the plant can help you get better sleep. But more research needs to be done to determine its effectiveness as a medical treatment. 

Apple cider vinegar gummies… While chewing on anything vinegar flavored may not sound appetizing, here are some reasons you might want to give it a shot: Vinegar can help kill harmful bacteria and possibly fungi. Which can help prevent infections. 

Chasteberry gummies…The science is still unclear when it comes to the benefits of the chasteberry. But early studies have shown that chasteberry supplements might be able to help with PMS pain. And animal studies have found that the fruit’s extract may lower the risk of having an epileptic seizure

Elderberry gummies…Elderberries are full of antioxidants. And some research shows that elderberry supplements may help improve cold and flu symptoms. But that’s as far as solid research gets. Most other health claims don’t have sound data in humans to back them up.

What happens if you eat too many gummy vitamins? 

Too many gummy vitamins can lead to an excess of certain nutrients in your body. Especially if you’re already eating foods that are fortified with nutrients. This can cause mineral or vitamin toxicity. And depending on the vitamin, that can cause symptoms like nausea, hair loss, skin changes, or blurred vision. 

Check the label of your product for the recommended daily dosage. And don’t take more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance (i.e. 1,300 milligrams of calcium) unless your doc tells you to. Especially if you’re taking vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are fat-soluble. Meaning they’re stored in the body and pose a higher risk of building up. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, leave the body through your pee. 

Also talk to your doc about vitamin supplements if you’re taking any meds. Because certain vitamins can affect how the body uses the medicine — which can affect its potency. 

theSkimm

Adults who don’t normally get enough nutrients from their diet might benefit from taking gummy vitamins. But the science on them isn’t always clear cut. And when you consider the added sugars, vitamin pills, liquids, and capsules might be a better choice for some.

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute a medical opinion, medical advice, or diagnosis or treatment of any particular condition. 


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