You’ve probably seen gummy versions of many different food supplements, including vitamins, at the grocery story. And you’ve probably realized gummies are offered to kids and adults. The popularity and growth of both child and adult gummy vitamins, which are part of the $41 billion food supplement industry in the United States, can be traced to several causes:
- Many adults suffer from pill fatigue and find it difficult to add anything else to their daily pill regimen. According to a 2005 AARP study, adults 45 and older take an average of 4 different pill prescriptions daily.
- Vitamins can upset the stomach, and sometimes the smell of vitamins can add to pill aversion.
- Gummies taste great and seem more like a candy.
Despite these realities, here are few facts to chew on before you jump on the gummy vitamin train:
- Gummy vitamins can contain quite a bit of sugar — anywhere from 2 to 8 grams of sugar per serving. The average serving size is one gummy.
- The fillers and flavoring needed to create a gummy supplement make it difficult to have enough of each nutrient to have a real impact. Additionally, manufacturers are unable to add as many nutrients as pill or chewable versions.
- Gummies are typically more expensive. To get all the nutrients offered by pill and chewable forms, you’d have to buy several different types of gummies. Results from a recent purchase:
- Centrum Women in the pill form contains 30 nutrients. The bottle contains 120 tablets and sells for $10.99 (which means you’re paying 9 cents for the recommended dose of one pill).
- Centrum Multi-Gummies for women contain 11 different nutrients. The bottle contains 70 gummies and sells for $9.99 (or 29 cents per recommended dose of two gummies, more than three times the cost of the pill form).
- Centrum Silver Chewable for adults 50+ contains 27 different nutrients. The bottle contains 60 tablets and costs $15.99 (or 27 cents per recommended dose of one chewable tablet).
In general, the benefits of gummy vitamins versus the cost is something everyone should consider for themselves. It takes a lot of gummies to match the pill or chewable versions on the market. The cost may not seem like much for one bottle, but over time it’s a significant investment.
The scientific concern with all supplements is that it’s difficult to evaluate the effect of any nutrient when it’s taken out of actual food. A nutrient may not provide the same benefits as it would in wholesome foods, where it works in concert with other nutrients. The best way to get all your essential vitamins and minerals is to have a well-balanced diet, which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.