Gummy Vitamins: Are They Real Vitamins or Pure Sugar?

Most people use supplements to close the gap in their nutrition. Gummy vitamins are highly palatable chewable supplements. They're more tempting than regular vitamins because they are colorful and sweet. Gummy supplements have their advantages and disadvantages. How about efficiency? Are they as effective as regular vitamin supplements? Let's look at the details.

Key takeaways:

The body needs vitamins and minerals to function. A healthy and balanced diet should meet all vitamin and mineral requirements. However, some people have nutrient deficiencies due to poor diet, medications, and diseases. In those cases, supplementing inadequate nutrients is necessary to stay healthy.

What are gummy vitamins made of?

There is no established nutrient composition or dosage that supplement manufacturers must follow. That's why ingredients in gummy supplements can broadly change from product to product. Ingredients commonly found in gummy supplements are:

  • Sugar (sucrose), fructose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sweeteners
  • Jellifying agents such as gelatin, pectin's, and modified starch
  • Citric acid
  • Additives
  • Artificial flavoring
  • Fillers

Therefore, gummy supplements contain a variety of unhealthy ingredients. Using supplements with no or fewer unhealthy ingredients can be a better choice.

Gummy supplements contain sugar

High sugar intake is not healthy for children or adults. Kids are one of the target consumers for gummy vitamins because gummies are more palatable than tablets.

A drawback is that gummy vitamins contain sugar. Sucrose, syrup, or other sweeteners are commonly found in chewable vitamins. Commonly, gummies contain 8–12 grams of sugar per serving.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans already consume high amounts of added sugars, including sucrose, fructose, table sugar, syrups, and honey.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025
Any form of added sugar should not be given to children younger than 2 years old.2 years and older, children and adults, limit their added sugar consumption to a maximum of 10% of their daily energy intake.

With that reference, If you consume 2000 calories daily, you're advised not to eat more than 50 grams of sugar. Besides gummy vitamins, many packaged and processed food and drinks contain added sugar. That's why you should be careful what you add to your diet, whether supplements or other foods.

Things to consider when buying gummy vitamins

The table below shows the recommended daily value of the most consumed vitamins and minerals as a supplement.

Vitamins and Minerals Daily Value (DV)
Biotin30 mcg
Calcium1000–1200 mg
Magnesium350 mg (from supplements)
Vitamin A900 mcg RAE (micrograms of retinol activity equivalents)
Vitamin B61.7 mg
Vitamin B122.4 mcg
Vitamin C90 mg
Vitamin D15–20 mcg
Vitamin E15 mg alpha-tocopherol
Vitamin K90–120 mcg
Zinc8–11 mg

There are a variety of gummy supplements on the market. How can you choose the one you need? Here are things you should consider when buying gummy supplements:

  • Certified products. Look for products certified by independent laboratories such as Consumer Lab, U.S. Pharmacopeia, and NFS International. They give assurance that the ingredients and doses in the products are labeled correctly and do not contain toxins or contaminants. However, these labs do not guarantee the safety and efficacy of the products.
  • Get advice. Talk to your doctor. If you're using medications, consult your doctor before taking supplements. For example, vitamin K can interact with blood thinner medications such as warfarin.
  • Don't replace your meds. Do not use supplements as a replacement for medications. Supplements, including gummy vitamins, are not medications. They cannot be used to prevent or treat diseases. Such claims are illegal to use in dietary supplements.
  • Buzzwords. Be aware that “natural” does not necessarily mean safe.
  • Choose wisely. Choose the ones lower in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.
  • Always read the label. Check the label to ensure that vitamins in the gummy do not exceed 100% of the daily value (DV).

New generations of gummy supplements are being developed. Sugar-free, preservative-free, natural-ingredient-based, and vegan gummy supplements are currently on the market. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate dietary supplements as it does medications. Supplement companies are responsible for the product's labeling and safety.

Gummy supplements can be an alternative to tablets for some children and adults. If you take gummy vitamins, choose the ones certified by independent laboratories that contain less or no added sugar. Always consult your doctor before taking supplements, whether in gummy or tablet forms.

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prefix 1 year ago
Merve, thank you for writing this informative article on gummy vitamins. I find this topic particularly interesting because I have had a chance to try the gummy vitamins in the past and had been wondering about how effective they were. I appreciated your breakdown of what gummy vitamins are made of and the pro’s and con’s of them. However, my main question has to do with the fact that supplement manufacturers do not have specific nutrient guidelines to follow. I feel that this could be ethically concerning, especially for consumers because this type of information may not always be laid out well by manufacturers. Since this information may not be laid out well and a consumer would not be able to find it unless they search deep online or through other sources, I believe it would violate the bioethical principle of autonomy, because in this way, with-holding information from consumers would not allow them to make a fair and informed decision. In another part of the article, I like how you laid out what consumers have to consider when buying gummy vitamins and having a table with vitamins & minerals with the daily value included. As someone involved in the medical field, I believe that an informative article like this would be an essential reference for any individual looking into investing in gummy vitamins. As you said, there are many pro’s, but there are some con’s as well, and those cons include the ingredients and sugar in the gummys. However, as I had mentioned earlier, I believe in the power of being informed, and I hope that providers and people interested in gummy vitamins are able to reference your article to gain a better since of direction on this topic!