Gummy Vitamins & Supplements: How Good Are They?

Back in the day, gummy candies were a treat—good for a dose of sugar and flavor and not much else.

But gummies have grown up! They are abundant in vitamin and supplement form—and they aren't just for kids. Gummy vitamins and multivitamins are now made specifically for adults, addressing everything from weight management to healthy sleep.

Sweet, right? Well, most of the time. But gummy supplements for adults come with their own concerns (most notably their sugar content, for some brands). How do you know if it is time to make a supplement switch? Our guide to gummy vitamins can help you decide whether to bite.

What are gummy supplements?

Gummy vitamins and multivitamins are candy-like, chewable dietary supplements that work like traditional vitamins. They are designed to help fill nutritional gaps in a typical adult diet and deliver health benefits based on the vitamins and minerals included.

Some newer brands have been built on the gummy vitamin trend, and most or all of their supplements are chewable adult supplements (vs. the traditional capsules or tablets). In other cases, companies with a long history of quality in the traditional supplement marketplace are crafting science-backed gummy supplements. Such products give customers the convenience of the chewable experience with potent, scientifically studied ingredients.

Do gummy vitamins work?

For those who prefer a fruit-flavored gummy over a vitamin or multivitamin in tablet or capsule form, chew on this: Gummy vitamins for adults work as effectively—and sometimes more effectively—as traditional vitamin forms in clinical trials.

In a clinical study, healthy participants aged 18-45 took vitamin D3 as either a single gummy or tablets, and their blood levels were measured repeatedly over 48 hours. After two weeks, those same participants took the other form (taking the gummy instead of the tablet and vice versa) with the same measurements. The study found that bioavailability was greater with the gummies, and average peak blood concentration of vitamin D was higher. In other words, the vitamin D3 gummies had greater bioavailability than tablets and led to higher vitamin D concentrations over time.

That's great news for those who don't like taking vitamin tablets or capsules or who have trouble swallowing them. It's also good news for those who have trouble remembering to take their capsule or tablet form vitamins; there's nothing like the anticipation of a tasty treat to remind you that it's time to take your supplements!

This also means people taking adult gummy vitamins may be more consistent about taking them than people taking a traditional vitamin—and taking them is a key step in effectively supporting your health and wellness.

There is some controversy about gummy vitamins, though, because the ingredients are not as shelf-stable as most tablets or capsules. This means that the quality may vary drastically from brand to brand. For this reason, buying supplements that are independently tested and verified is important. After all, you want to make sure that you are getting what is on the label, not more and not less!

Are gummies easy to absorb?

As with any dietary supplement, gummy vitamins and multivitamins can be developed with a variety of nutrients. Those nutrients will affect how a formula is absorbed—even more than the gelatin or pectin, fruit flavor, and sweetener that make up the gummy base. For instance, studies of traditional supplements show curcumin is more easily absorbed and has greater bioavailability when combined with fenugreek fibers. The same goes for the antioxidant fisetin when combined with fenugreek fibers. And phospholipids enhance the absorption of milk thistle's active compounds.

But clinical studies show that gummies and tablets show similar bioavailability when the ingredients are the same. A controlled trial examining a multivitamin gummy (containing vitamin E and folate) versus a tablet found that absorption was similar for both vitamin forms. Although folate absorption peaked earlier in the gummy group (at 1.89 hours) than the tablet group (at four hours), the two methods led to similar vitamin E and folate absorption levels.

Do gummy supplements have sugar?

The amount of added sugar or sugar alcohols included in most gummy vitamins is one of the form's biggest negatives. Many gummy products have 3-7 grams of sugar per serving (even those marketed for weight loss!), which can quickly add up if you are taking more than one supplement daily. Adding 10 grams of sugar per day with just two supplements, or even 7 grams of sugar with just one, can get in the way of an otherwise healthy diet.

Look for formulas with no added sugar or high-fructose syrup and with clinically studied amounts of nutrients. These will give you the best chance of enjoying the health benefits of the ingredients without the long-term health impacts of added sugar.

Sugar isn't just a weight management concern. You don't want sugar before bed, either. If you're seeking a sleep support gummy, a good option is Life Extension's sugar-free* strawberry-flavored melatonin gummies, which are also gluten free and gelatin-free. The formula offers 3 mg of melatonin to help make falling asleep—and staying asleep—easier. Melatonin also has strong antioxidant properties and has been shown to support immune health, healthy brain function, longevity and more.

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Gummies or capsules: Which one works better?

Have you been eyeing gummy multivitamins but wondering if they work as well as capsule multivitamins?

It really depends on the nutrient and the way the supplement is formulated. In the world of supplements, both delivery systems can be beneficial—if they are designed with bioavailability in mind. If you're looking for a magnesium supplement, six-hour Extend-Release Magnesium is a good option because it offers sustained release of this nutrient, giving your body time to make use of it.

What about multivitamins? As for whether multivitamin gummies or capsules are better for you, in many cases, it is a personal preference. Ultimately, your top priority is choosing a multivitamin that meets or exceeds to recommended daily allowance (RDA) for each nutrient in the formula, and you can find formulas like this in multivitamin capsule form. However, gummy multivitamins might work better for people who have trouble taking capsules or tablets or who prefer a more "fun" way to take vitamins.

The biggest downside of this type of vitamin, as noted above, is that many contain added sugar. Often sugar is added to mask the flavor of ingredients, such as metallic-tasting iron or fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. Also, be aware that gummies may have a shorter shelf-life than capsules and may become less potent with time. Be sure you are choosing independently-tested formulas with clinically studied nutrients, and be careful to follow the recommended dosage for your best health results.

How to choose the best gummy vitamin for you?

Gummy supplements are a great way to get targeted nutrition to help you better manage your health priorities. As with choosing a traditional supplement, you want to identify your wellness needs before shopping for a gummy formula, and health quizzes might help.

A good rule of thumb when choosing a gummy supplement is to choose a formula with no added sugar. Available in flavors ranging from berry to cherry vanilla, Life Extension's gummies all fit this criteria, and are also gluten free and non-GMO, so you can support healthy sleep, weight management, youthful skin, and even comfortable eyesight (so important now that we're all spending so much time online!) in a chewable, good-for-you form.

If you've been craving relief from your normal dietary supplement routine, gummies might be the break you are looking for.

About the Author: Jennifer Jhon graduated from Auburn University with a degree in journalism and communications. She established her career as an editor, designer and writer at several newspapers and magazines. She has been writing about wellness, health and nutrition for 10 years.


*Not a low calorie food.