gummy vitamins

The Rise of the Gummy Vitamin: Pros and Cons of This Supplement Trend

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If you have recently visited the supplement aisle, you may have noticed that nearly every vitamin, mineral, or nutraceutical comes in gummy form. This trend started in the late 1990s, particularly in the kid’s vitamin space. Eating a delicious gummy rather than a chalky vitamin (looking at you old-school Flinstone’s vitamins), is a more effective way to get kids to take their vitamins.

But, adults like the convenience of gummies too. My full-time job is writing copy and content for supplement companies as the owner of RWS: Content + Strategy. Because of this, people ask me all the time what supplements I personally take. The answer is very few, if any. 

Why? 

The main reason is the process involved with taking capsule supplements. You have to get a glass of water, get the supplement out, and then swallow a capsule that is often quite large. If you take multiple supplements, you can’t just toss them all in your mouth at once and be on your way. To be honest, this process is tedious and I have a hard time doing it consistently.

This is why I love a gummy vitamin. No water is needed. It doesn’t get stuck in your throat. You can toss it in your mouth and go. And clearly, others agree with me, as the gummy vitamin market is expected to grow by 12% by 2025.

While gummy vitamins are undoubtedly popular, are they as effective as their traditional counterparts? Let’s explore this supplement trend.

Are gummy vitamins effective?

Yes, gummy vitamins may be effective as they contain vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial ingredients that can help support overall health. Since they are so easy to use, they may be even more effective than capsules or pills because you (like me) will be more consistent in taking them. They are also a better alternative for kids or older adults who have difficulty swallowing other types of vitamins.

But, there are some important downsides of gummy vitamins to note. Here are some factors to consider: 

May contain added sugar

Most gummy vitamins contain some amount of added sugar. While most don’t have more than 2-3 grams, most of us already eat too much sugar. Excessive sugar intake can contribute to the development of multiple chronic diseases. But, 2-3 grams isn’t a huge amount of sugar and the benefit of the supplement may outweigh the negative effects of the sugar. That being said, there are some lower-sugar or sugar-free alternatives out there. See our recommendations for the best gummy vitamins below.

May contain sugar alcohol or artificial sweeteners

If a gummy is sugar-free, it usually will contain either sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners. Consuming too much sugar alcohol can cause digestive issues like nausea, bloating, and diarrhea. But taken in small quantities, like in the amount that is in a gummy, shouldn’t cause any significant issues.

Artificial sweeteners like Splenda, aspartame, and saccharin, are considered safe, but there is controversy surrounding their use. Moderation is likely the best approach when it comes to sugar substitutes, so if your gummy vitamin has them, consider cutting out other sources of artificial sweeteners in your diet.

May contain food dyes

Some gummies are colored with artificial and natural food dyes. There is some research connecting these dyes with behavior issues and hyperactivity in children, but the results are mixed. If you are concerned about food dyes, consider a gummy that is colored with fruit juice or other natural ingredients. 

May contain fewer nutrients 

The manufacturers of gummy vitamins have to pack a full dose into a small gummy and make it taste good, which is quite a challenge. This means that gummy vitamins may contain less of a specific nutrient compared to what can fit in a capsule, therefore it is important to read the label.

Not vegan

Many gummy vitamins are made with gelatin from animal sources. While some products are made with vegan-friendly ingredients, if you are trying to avoid animal products it is important to check the label to make sure it is vegan.

Easy to overeat

Since gummy vitamins taste great, it might be tempting to treat them like candy, but they are not. Taking too many vitamins can result in vitamin toxicity or cause significant health or digestive issues. This is particularly concerning for kids who might not understand that the vitamins are not candy. (I found one of my kids hiding in the bathtub once with a bottle of gummy vitamins trying to open them!). If you have kids in the house, store the gummy vitamins out of reach to avoid any issues.

RD Approved Gummy Vitamin Picks

If you want to take a gummy vitamin, here are a few of our top picks and the picks of some of our RD colleagues.

Best Adult Gummy Multivitamin

Garden of Life is one of our favorite go-to brands for all things supplements. (They also happen to be one of our clients at RWS: Content + Strategy). They offer a diverse line of gummy vitamins for men, women, and kids. Many of their choices are organic or vegan. This Garden of Life Organics Women’s Gummy is our first choice for a well-balanced, vegan gummy that also tastes great.

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07/19/2024 04:28 pm GMT

Best Prenatal Gummy

Many prenatal vitamins come in hard-to-swallow capsules where you have to take multiple pills to get a full dose. While I was willing to do this with my first pregnancy because I only wanted the “best”, once I had my second kid, I just needed to ensure I was getting my nutrients in. I didn’t have time to swallow 4+ pills that usually made me throw up anyway. I definitely switched to a gummy prenatal with my second.

Brandy Winfree, RD agrees. She told us “I’m only trying to conceive right now, but I like the Centrum Prenatal! It’s tasty, gentle on the stomach, and has added DHA. It’s also affordable. I paid about $13 for a 30-day supply.”

Amy Shults, RDN, CDN, CDCES of Dietitian Direction told us that she recommends Natalist Prenatal Gummies. “These are a great option for people looking for a prenatal supplement in gummy form. This brand contains more choline and DHA compared to other leading gummy prenatal vitamins, which are vital nutrients for a baby’s brain development. Note that all gummy supplements contain little to no iron, which is also a nutrient of concern for pregnant individuals. A separate iron supplement should be taken in addition to any prenatal gummy.”

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07/19/2024 04:04 pm GMT

Best Vegan Gummy Vitamin

MaryRuth is a solid organic vitamin brand with a great reputation and high quality products. This adult multivitamin is great for men and women, and is organic, sugar-free, and vegan. It is made with pectin, rather than gelatin making it a vegan choice. It is sweetened with stevia and organic fruit extracts, so you won’t run into any digestive issues caused by sugar alcohols.

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07/19/2024 04:22 pm GMT

Best Kids Gummy Multivitamin

Smarty Pants is a high quality line of gummy vitamins that started out making vitamins mostly for kids. They have expanded their line of products to include a variety of products for toddlers and adults as well. This product contains omega-3s which are essential for brain health.

Should you take gummy vitamins?

While I don’t believe everyone needs to take supplements, they can help support specific health goals, fill in nutrient gaps, or be beneficial if you have a restrictive diet. Gummy vitamins are a convenient and tasty choice that may help you remain consistent with taking your vitamins. They are also great options for kids since they taste good and can reduce fighting over taking their vitamins. My kids absolutely love taking theirs!

Overall, I think gummy vitamins are here to stay and I am all for this trend. Want to learn more about the hot food trends for 2024? Check out our annual roundup post.