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Do Gummy Vitamins Work, and Are They Good or Bad for You?

NelliSyr / iStock / Getty Images

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Vitamin supplements are incredibly popular all over the world. Many people believe that taking vitamins can improve health or compensate for a poor diet.


There are several different types of vitamins, including chewable gummies.

Gummy vitamins have a pleasant taste and are easy to take. However, most varieties contain added sugars and may not list nutrient content accurately on their labels.

This article tells you whether gummy vitamins are good or bad for your health.

What Are Gummy Vitamins?

Gummy vitamins are chewable vitamins that have a texture and taste similar to gummy candies and come in a variety of flavors, colors, and shapes.

They're one of the most popular types of vitamins.

These vitamins appeal to children — as well as adults — who may not like swallowing pills.

Gummy vitamins are commonly made from gelatin, corn starch, water, sugar, and added colorings. Popular flavors include lemon, raspberry, cherry, and orange.

They may include several vitamins and minerals or just a few select nutrients, such as vitamin D and calcium.

You can purchase gummy vitamins online and at most supplement or health food stores. The price of gummy vitamins varies by brand but is comparable to the cost of other multivitamins, ranging from approximately $0.05–0.10 per gummy.

Summary

Gummy vitamins are chewable vitamins that come in different colors, flavors, and shapes. They're consumed by both kids and adults.

Potential Benefits

Gummy vitamins have several upsides, including their desirable taste and the nutrients they provide.

May Provide Beneficial Nutrients

Since they're loaded with nutrients, gummy vitamins may benefit some populations.

Many people consume vitamins to make sure they're getting all of the nutrients they need.

While this is a common practice, research suggests that most people who eat a balanced diet do not need to take multivitamins (1).

However, some people may benefit from supplements, including those who don't eat certain foods, struggle to absorb some nutrients, or have increased nutrient needs. Affected groups include vegans, older adults, and pregnant women (2, 3, 4, 5).

Gummy vitamins are a good alternative to pills for these populations.

Flavorful and Easy to Take

Many people prefer gummy vitamins to pills due to their fruity flavors and candy-like taste.

This is one of the reasons why they appeal to children who may otherwise be picky eaters (6).

In addition, gummy vitamins are easy to chew and can usually be taken by people who have difficulty swallowing pills.

As such, gummy vitamins may be simpler for both kids and adults to add to their routines and consume on a more consistent basis than other multivitamins.

Summary

Gummy vitamins may provide beneficial nutrients, have a desirable taste, and are easy to chew.

Potential Downsides

Even though gummy vitamins may be a good idea for certain people, they have some downsides.

May Contain Added Sugars, Sugar Alcohols or Food Colorings

The appealing taste of gummy vitamins usually comes from added sugars.

For example, one popular variety of children's gummy multivitamins contains three different types of added sugars and boasts 3 grams of sugar and 15 calories per gummy (7).

Consuming too much added sugar is linked to obesity, heart disease, and dental cavities (8, 9, 10).

Therefore, the American Heart Association (AHA) suggests no more than 9 teaspoons (37.5 grams) of added sugar per day for men, no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women, and under 6 teaspoons per day for children ages 2–18 (11, 12).

While the added sugar in gummy vitamins may not seem like a large amount, it can contribute to excessive sugar consumption — especially if you take more than one gummy vitamin per day and eat other foods with added sugars.

To decrease the amount of added sugars in gummy vitamins, some manufacturers may add sugar alcohols instead. Even if a vitamin is labeled sugar-free, it may still contain sugar alcohols, which are listed under total carbohydrates on the label.

Overconsumption of sugar alcohols can lead to diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and other unwanted digestive symptoms in some people (13, 14).

Lastly, gummy vitamins may contain artificial food colorings. While the research is mixed, some studies link food dyes to behavioral issues in children (15, 16).

May Contain Different Amounts of Nutrients Than Listed

Since gummy vitamins are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the nutrients they contain may not match what's on their labels.

In fact, a recent report found that 80% of gummy vitamins tested did not have the same amounts of vitamins and minerals as listed on their labels (17).

In particular, gummy vitamins may have fewer nutrients than consumers are led to believe.

This is partially because manufacturers cannot pack in as many vitamins and minerals when they have to add sugars, colorings, and other filler compounds that are used to maintain a gummy texture.

Compared to other multivitamins, gummy vitamins tend to have fewer overall nutrients. For example, a popular brand of adult gummy vitamins has only 11 nutrients compared to over 30 nutrients in the same brand's multivitamin (18, 19).

Easy to Overeat

Overconsumption of gummy vitamins may put you at risk of getting too much of certain nutrients, especially if you also eat foods already fortified with vitamins and minerals.

This could result in vitamin or mineral toxicity, which can harm your body (20).

In particular, consuming more than the recommended amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K may be dangerous since they can be stored in body fat and tissues (20).

This is especially concerning for young children who may view gummy vitamins as candy and eat more than the recommended dosage. Since kids need lower amounts of nutrients than adults, they are more susceptible to vitamin and mineral toxicity (21).

In fact, one study reported at least three cases of vitamin A toxicity due to overconsumption of candy-like vitamins in children (22).

Summary

Gummy vitamins may be made with added sugars, sugar alcohols, artificial colorings, and fillers. Furthermore, they may contain fewer nutrients than you think and can be easy to overeat.

Should You Take Them?

For the majority of people who eat a well-balanced diet, gummy vitamins are unnecessary.

However, taking gummy vitamins may be beneficial for certain populations, including those who have a nutrient deficiency, absorption issues, or increased nutrient needs.

Gummy vitamins may also be good for children who are picky eaters and do not consume an adequate diet, as well as those who have difficulty swallowing pills.

However, it's important to protect children from eating too many gummy vitamins, as overconsumption can cause vitamin or mineral toxicities.

With that in mind, it may be best to keep gummies out of reach of young children or discuss vitamin intake with older children.

If you are interested in trying gummy vitamins, keep in mind that they are not strictly regulated.

To pick a quality brand, look for low-sugar varieties with third-party certification from such groups as NSF International, United States Pharmacopeia (USP), Informed-Choice, ConsumerLab.com, or the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG).

Summary

Gummy vitamins are not usually necessary for people who eat an adequate diet but can benefit those who don't get enough nutrients from food or have a deficiency.

The Bottom Line

Gummy vitamins are easy to take and come in a variety of colors and fruity flavors.

While unnecessary for most people, they can aid certain populations, such as vegans and older adults.

However, they may contain fewer nutrients than other multivitamins and are often packed with sugars and other additives.

If you are interested in trying gummy vitamins, look for brands that are low in sugar and tested by a third party.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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