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Gummy vitamins come in different flavors. They are easy to chew and swallow. They taste good. The label says they have the same vitamins as pill vitamins, so what could go wrong? Gummy vitamins taste better because they are basically gummy candies with vitamins added. The ingredients include gelatin, corn starch, water, sugar or a sugar substitute, food coloring, and a variety of flavoring ingredients. Gummies may have just one vitamin like, vitamin D or C, or they may be a multivitamin.
Gummy Vitamin Benefits
Studies show that if a gummy vitamin and a vitamin pill have the same amount of a vitamin, they are equally absorbed into the bloodstream. A study published in the journal Nutrients compared vitamin D gummies to vitamin D pills in healthy adults. They found that the gummies and the pills were about the same when it comes to bioavailability. Bioavailability is the amount of a substance that can be absorbed from the digestive system. Another study with vitamin C, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found similar bioavailability between gummies and pills.
Gummy vitamins are easily available and they cost about the same as vitamin pills. For children or adults who have trouble swallowing pills, don’t like the taste of a chewable vitamin pill, and could benefit from a vitamin supplement, gummy vitamins could be an option.
Gummy Vitamin Risks
In the university-controlled studies for vitamin C and D gummies, the amount of vitamin in the gummies and the pills were exactly the same. The problem is that vitamins are not controlled by the Food and Drug Administration, so when you get them off the shelf, there is no guarantee that the amount of vitamin on the label is the same as the amount in the vitamin. This goes for any type of vitamin, but might be a bigger problem for gummy vitamins.
Because of all the extra ingredients in a gummy vitamin, it is hard to get enough actual vitamin into the gummy. Also, the vitamins in gummy are less stable than in pills, they lose their potency and have a shorter shelf life. To get around that problem, manufacturers overload them with vitamins to prolong shelf life. That means you may get more than the label says in a fresh gummy and less in an older gummy.
Gummy vitamins taste good because they are sweetened. A typical gummy vitamin can have up to 8 grams of sugar. For an adult woman, that is one-third of the limit recommended by the American Heart Association. For children, the limit is less. Sugar in gummies also sticks to your teeth, which can lead to tooth decay, especially in children. Gummy vitamins may be made with sugar substitutes like a sugar alcohol, but these sweeteners can cause problems for people who are sensitive to them, including stomach upset and diarrhea.
A final risk is vitamin toxicity. The vitamins A,D,E,K, and C can all be toxic in high doses. Multivitamins can also have minerals like iron, zinc, and copper that can be toxic especially for small children. A vitamin that looks and tastes like candy can be hard for a child to resist. They need to be kept out of reach, just like other medications.
Do Gummy Vitamins Work, and Do You Really Need a Vitamin Supplement?
Whether it’s a single vitamin, multivitamin, chewable, or gummy, there is very little evidence that an otherwise healthy child or adult benefits from taking these supplements. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, most people should get their vitamins from a healthy diet.
Even though half of American adults report taking a multivitamin – the most frequently used dietary supplement – foods provide much more vitamins and minerals. If you have a healthy diet and you don’t have any digestive health issues or other medical conditions that cause a vitamin deficiency, there is very little evidence that taking vitamins will improve your health.
The best thing to do is ask your doctor or pediatrician if you or your child needs a vitamin supplement. In most cases, focusing on a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle is a much bigger benefit.