Easy To Take, But Do They Work?
Some adults and children who have difficulty taking vitamins in capsule form will opt for gummy vitamins. These types of vitamins are easy to take and usually have a pleasant taste. But are there any hidden pitfalls of these kinds of supplements? Here’s what patients need to know.
When gummies can help
Gummy vitamins can still be a legitimate source of added nutrients for some patients. Vegans, older adults, and pregnant women, for example, may struggle to get all the necessary vitamins and nutrients through diet alone. The supplements can come in a variety of flavors and types, ranging from multivitamins to supplements containing one nutrient.
Most of the time, the taste of gummies comes from added sugars. These types of vitamins also typically contain more calories than other types of supplements. Consuming too much sugar can be linked to heart disease, cavities, and obesity. While the added sugar in a gummy vitamin may seem minimal, typical children’s vitamins contain about 3mg of the recommended daily 25mg of sugar. Even if a gummy vitamin is listed as sugar-free, the supplement may contain sugar alcohols, which can cause digestive problems in some people.
Fact-check the labels
Recent reports showed that up to 80% of gummy vitamins did not have labels that listed the vitamins and minerals correctly. Because of this, many of these supplements contain fewer nutrients than the labels say. In many cases, this is because gummy vitamins contain so many filler compounds, such as sugars and food coloring, that there is not enough room to pack in as many vitamins and minerals.
How to choose a supplement
Because supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumers must be savvy when making choices. Always look for vitamins that have been third-party tested, which means the vitamin has been evaluated for accuracy or quality. Additionally, a trusted pharmacist can help patients pick out high-quality supplements.
Risks for children
Gummy vitamins are a popular choice for children, especially picky eaters. Beware that gummy supplements can be easy to overeat because of the good taste. Always keep any supplements out of reach of young children and discuss vitamin intake with older children.
Should I take a gummy vitamin?
When patients have been directed to take vitamins for nutrient deficiencies or absorption issues, taking a gummy vitamin is better than taking no vitamin. But patients should be aware of the potential risks or downsides of gummy supplements and opt for capsule supplements when possible. For more information about supplement options, speak with a pharmacist or other healthcare provider.