Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: December 2019

Unhealthy “Gummy” Vitamins

Commercial “gummy” supplements provide trivial nutrient potencies but are loaded with as much as 4,000 mg of sugar per serving! Consumers may be unwittingly harming themselves by relying on sugar-laden “gummies” as dietary supplements.

By William Faloon

William Faloon
William Faloon
The fastest growing segment of the supplement industry is chewable “gummies.”

Consumers view candy-like “gummies” as a pleasant way to obtain nutrients without swallowing pills.

But what’s in these gummies that enables vitamins and fish oil to taste so good?

The answer is loads of sugar with tiny amounts of nutrients.

Sales of sugar-laden chewables have grown to the point that advertisements for gummies have appeared on CBS News 60 Minutes. This is expensive airtime often occupied by prescription drug ads.

On a visit to a local drug store, I observed striking labels for these gummy nutrients. I bought some to find out how they deliver meaningful potencies in a decent taste.

What I read on their labels was appalling. The nutrient potencies were outrageously small. The sugars contained in the gummies add to this nation’s deadly glycemic burden.

Miniscule Potency

A review of a popular gummy product shows that the daily serving provides 47 mg of omega-3s, small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and 4,000 mg of sugar.

Minimum effective doses of omega-3s are thought to be around 1,000 mg a day. Our daily recommendation is over 2,000 mg of EPA/DHA.

Ingesting 47 mg of omega-3s will not make much of an impact. Yet people using this product will assume they are supplementing with omega-3s in effective amounts, which may be a lethal misconception.

My concern is with surveys that ask consumers if they supplement with omega-3s. Users of omega-3 gummies will likely answer YES.

If they later succumb to a heart attack, they are counted as an omega-3 user who did not benefit. These kinds of misunderstandings can create contradictory reports about the value of fish oil.

The reality is people who think they are supplementing with adequate amounts of omega-3s are duped into taking a sugar-laden candy that happens to contain miniscule nutrient potencies.

What surprised me most were gummy vitamins made by a quality supplement maker that contained significant amounts of sugar.

Sugar addiction is a centuries-long problem whose adverse health ramifications have come to light over the past several decades.

We’ve published dozens of articles revealing that sugar is not fit for human consumption.

Simply stated, most of us are perfectly capable of maintaining healthy blood glucose levels from a balanced diet that contains no added sugars and only modest amounts of starches.

Sugar Should Be Labeled A Carcinogen

man reviewing ingredients, superimposed with pen and checklist  

The State of California mandates that a long list of substances carry a warning they may cause cancer.

Omitted from this list may be the most ubiquitous carcinogen in the human diet, i.e. sugar.

Studies show higher rates of many malignancies in people with the highest glycemic diets (sugars and starches).1-5

For instance, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center analyzed the dietary habits and health history of over 4,000 people.

They found, overall, that compared to people with the lowest glycemic diet, those who ingested a high glycemic diet had a 49% greater risk of contracting lung cancer… regardless of smoking habits.6

Even for nonsmokers, this study found the odds of having lung cancer were more than double in those who ingest a high glycemic index diet compared to those with the lowest glycemic index diet.

Foods that rank high on the glycemic scale include starches like white bread and rice along with sugary foods and drinks that spike after-meal glucose levels.

Up to 25% of people who contract lung cancer don’t smoke.7,8 Many of these individuals would never touch a cigarette, yet they don’t realize that glucose is also a major cancer risk factor.

Glucose provides fuel for rapidly dividing cancer cells. Insulin is a hormonal stimulator for cellular proliferation.9-12

Those who consume high glycemic diets sharply increase their odds of contracting many forms of cancer.13-15

Yet an increasing number of health-conscious consumers may be unwittingly harming themselves by relying on sugar-laden “gummies” as dietary supplements.

A Quality Supplement Company’s Gummies

Back in the 1990s, a supplement with anti-depressant properties called SAMe (s-adenosyl-methionine) gained considerable popularity.

The problem was few companies back then knew how to make a stabilized SAMe, which meant most brands provided little active ingredient.

Our independent assays revealed that only one other company (and our brand) contained the full label potency of SAMe. The others had not yet figured out how to make this sophisticated nutrient.

So, I always viewed the one other company making stabilized SAMe as a higher quality supplement maker.

When I bought a bottle of omega gummies from this company, I was disappointed to find the label revealed 4,000 mg of sugar per serving. Each serving provided just 60 mg of EPA/DHA along with low vitamin and mineral potencies.

The companies selling sugar-laden gummies are owned by large pharmaceutical conglomerates.

Most of the public is unaware that heavily advertised dietary supplements are owned by drug companies.

My hope in writing this is to persuade these companies to substitute stevia and safer flavorings in lieu of high-sugar concentrates.

Outlandish Prices!

graphic illustrating high prices of sugar-containing gummies  

Sugar sells for about 10 cents a pound, thereby costing virtually nothing to use in foods, beverages, and in “gummy” dietary supplements.

The cost of obtaining standardized EPA/DHA from fish oil is markedly higher than sugar.

A bottle of a popular omega-3 “gummy” retails for $15.99 and provides a trivial 2,000 mg of EPA/DHA in the entire bottle.

A bottle of one of our fish oil softgel supplements (Super Omega-3) costs $24 and provides 72,000 mg of EPA/DHA in the entire bottle.

Consumers using these omega-3 gummies are paying 24 times more for their EPA/DHA.

This popular gummy omega-3 product provides low potencies of some vitamins and minerals whereas our Super Omega-3 contains standardized olive polyphenols with sesame lignans.

Another brand of omega-3 gummies provides 4,200 mg of EPA/DHA in the bottle that retails for $25.99.

This other product costs about 18 times more per milligram of EPA/DHA compared to Super Omega-3.

I use our Super Omega-3 here as a reference, but the price differential is similar when comparing these sugar-laden “gummy” omega-3s with virtually any other standardized fish oil softgel formula.

Consumers using these heavily advertised “gummies” are paying outlandish prices per milligram of EPA/DHA while exposing their aging cells to thousands of milligrams of glucose-spiking sugars.

While some nutrients are suitable for use as chewable gummies, this is clearly not the case with multi-vitamins and fish oil.

To make these nutrients palatable requires loads of sweeteners and potencies so low that they are unlikely to provide benefits.

We Did Not Sell Out

Back in 2013, Life Extension® was approached by one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world to sell out.

The company bragged about how much profit we both would make by diluting nutrient potency, substituting out premium ingredients, and altering supplement designs.

We were not about to betray our supporters by turning over the meticulous design of our supplements to a corporation whose sole mission is to make money.

We argued that aging humans require comprehensive nutrient formulas and potencies to sustain their lives. Money-driven drug companies don’t care.

Our Relentless Mission

I founded Life Extension® on the principle of using cutting-edge science to keep our supporters alive in good health, and with no upper limit age threshold.

We accomplish this not only via the nutrients we offer and medications we recommend, but also with the personal assistance we provide to our supporters.

Our technical advantage comes from relentless interactions with pioneering researchers who are developing methods to counteract human senescence.

This provides us with knowledge to help circumvent degenerative factors using novel approaches.

In This Month’s Issue…

IMAGE TAG  

We wear protective sunglasses to shield against solar rays, but few understand that blue-light emitting computer and phone screens also increase the risk of visual damage over time.

This month we are launching a chewable gummy supplement to help protect your eyes against the deleterious effects of blue light emitted from computer and cell phone screens.

These new gummies have no added sugars, though there are trace amounts (under 500 mg) used to deliver the vision-protecting plant extracts.

The article on page 40 of this issue describes the importance of protecting against blue light spectrums that affect our vision today.

An article on page 24 describes fascinating findings showing a combination of probiotics and a prebiotic markedly reduced flu incidence in a group of older individuals.

Your well being is our priority. I urge you to restrict ingestion of sugars (and starches) as more data reveals their devastating health consequences.

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon, Co-Founder
Life Extension Buyers Club

References

  1. Cui G, Zhang T, Ren F, et al. High Blood Glucose Levels Correlate with Tumor Malignancy in Colorectal Cancer Patients. Med Sci Monit. 2015 Dec 8;21:3825-33.
  2. Huang Y, Cai X, Qiu M, et al. Prediabetes and the risk of cancer: a meta-analysis. Diabetologia. 2014 Nov;57(11):2261-9.
  3. Nomelini RS, Neto AS, Capuci KA, et al. Relationship between plasma glucose levels and malignant uterine cervical neoplasias. Clin Med Insights Oncol. 2011;5:77-82.
  4. Miles FL, Neuhouser ML, Zhang ZF. Concentrated sugars and incidence of prostate cancer in a prospective cohort. Br J Nutr. 2018 Sep;120(6):703-10.
  5. Shin HY, Jung KJ, Linton JA, et al. Association between fasting serum glucose levels and incidence of colorectal cancer in Korean men: the Korean Cancer Prevention Study-II. Metabolism. 2014 Oct;63(10):1250-6.
  6. Melkonian SC, Daniel CR, Ye Y, et al. Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, and Lung Cancer Risk in Non-Hispanic Whites. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Mar;25(3):532-9.
  7. Couraud S, Zalcman G, Milleron B, et al. Lung cancer in never smokers--a review. Eur J Cancer. 2012 Jun;48(9):1299-311.
  8. Samet JM, Avila-Tang E, Boffetta P, et al. Lung cancer in never smokers: clinical epidemiology and environmental risk factors. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Sep 15;15(18):5626-45.
  9. Arcidiacono B, Iiritano S, Nocera A, et al. Insulin resistance and cancer risk: an overview of the pathogenetic mechanisms. Exp Diabetes Res. 2012;2012:789174.
  10. Dang CV. Links between metabolism and cancer. Genes Dev. 2012 May 01;26(9):877-90.
  11. Burnol AF, Morzyglod L, Popineau L. [Cross-talk between insulin signaling and cell proliferation pathways]. Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2013 May;74(2):74-8.
  12. Perseghin G, Calori G, Lattuada G, et al. Insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia and cancer mortality: the Cremona study at the 15th year of follow-up. Acta Diabetol. 2012 Dec;49(6):421-8.
  13. Sieri S, Krogh V, Agnoli C, et al. Dietary glycemic index and glycemic load and risk of colorectal cancer: results from the EPIC-Italy study. Int J Cancer. 2015 Jun 15;136(12):2923-31.
  14. Gnagnarella P, Gandini S, La Vecchia C, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jun;87(6):1793-801.
  15. Turati F, Galeone C, Gandini S, et al. High glycemic index and glycemic load are associated with moderately increased cancer risk. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Jul;59(7):1384-94.

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