Gummy vitamins have become popular with both kids and adults
They pack in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, making them a great way to fill in nutrient gaps†
Gummies have both advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional vitamins such as softgels, capsules, or tablets
Gummy vitamins make a great option for many people, including people who have difficulty swallowing pills, picky eaters, those with nutrient gaps, and people who forget to take their vitamins
Like many people, you might be trading in your traditional vitamins (often in the forms of capsules, softgels, or tablets) for gummy vitamins. After all, gummies are tasty, easier to take, and easier to digest. Plus, they come in fun shapes, flavors, and colors! But do gummy vitamins work? And are gummy vitamins as effective as traditional tablet, capsules, or softgel vitamins?
Let’s find out.
Do Gummy Vitamins Really Work?
In a nutshell, yes, gummy vitamins work. Just like traditional vitamins such as tablets, capsules, or softgels, gummy vitamins pack in essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. The body requires 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals essential to your health. 1 Your body needs these important nutrients for a multitude of functions ranging from growth and development to reproduction. Vitamins and minerals help convert food into energy, help build strong bones and teeth, support vision, support muscle health, provide antioxidant benefits, support your immune system, and provide many other health benefits. 2, †
Are gummy vitamins effective? While they’re as effective as traditional vitamins in delivering key nutrients, there are some disadvantages—including the fact that it can be harder for manufacturers to get as many vitamins and minerals in gummies. (Read more below.)
Just like choosing any other supplement, do your research when selecting a gummy vitamin -- read the label, look at the ingredients and supplement facts, and check the recommended dosages. You can also review the most current nutrition guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to see what vitamins and minerals you should be getting from a balanced, nutritious diet. 3 Once you know what nutrients you might be lacking in your diet (such as Vitamin D or Omega-3s), then you’ll have a better idea what to look for in a gummy.
Do gummy vitamins work as well as capsules, softgels, or tablet vitamins? Check out the chart below, followed by a more detailed explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of taking gummy vitamins.
Traditional Vitamins (capsules, softgels, or tablets)
Must drink with water or other liquid
Minimal to no taste
Easier to take
Can be difficult for some to swallow
Easier to digest
Take longer to digest
Help establish the “vitamin habit”
Can be harder to remember to take every day
Fill in nutritional gaps
Fill in nutritional gaps
Might not contain as many nutrients
Often contain more nutrients
Might not contain any or as many minerals
Often contain minerals
Contain minimal to no sugar
Less shelf-stable and may degrade quicker
Longer shelf life
What Are the Advantages of Gummy Vitamins?
The advantages of taking gummy vitamins over traditional vitamins include the following:
They’re convenient. No need to drink water. Just pop a gummy in your mouth and chew!
They taste good. Many people gravitate towards gummy vitamins because they’ve got a great flavor.
They’re easier to take. Some people really struggle when it comes to swallowing vitamins or pills. Rather than swallowing a tablet, capsule, or softgel, gummies can be chewed—making it a pleasurable habit rather than a possibly unpleasant task. This can be especially helpful when trying to get kids to take their vitamins.
They’re easier to digest. Some people get nauseous when taking traditional vitamins. Also, tablets are formulated to digest in the stomach, while gummy vitamins are easier to digest, as you chew them in your mouth which starts the digestive process. 4
They help establish the “vitamin habit.” Because gummy vitamins taste good and are easier (and more enjoyable) to take, people are more likely to remember to take them every day. This beats skipping vitamins because you simply forgot to take them.
They fill in nutritional gaps. For people who don’t consistently eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet, gummy vitamins may help provide those missing nutrients.
What Are The Disadvantages of Gummy Vitamins?
The disadvantages of taking gummy vitamins over traditional vitamins include the following:
They might not contain as many nutrients. It’s harder for manufacturers to pack in as many vitamins and minerals when making gummies. Read the product label to know what’s inside!
It’s harder to include minerals into gummies. Minerals have larger molecules and therefore take up more space, and can often change the flavor profile. For instance, few gummies contain iron, which has a metallic taste. In a traditional vitamin form, you wouldn’t notice the taste because you quickly swallow the capsule or tablet. But with a gummy, it stays in your mouth while you chew it, making the metallic taste more difficult to mask. 5 However, NatureMade’s Iron gummy supplement masks the metallic taste with a delicious raspberry flavor. NatureMade has also been able to manufacture a delicious mixed berry flavored zinc gummy supplement.
Gummies contain sugar. Why do gummy vitamins taste so good? Because most of them contain sugar. In fact, many gummy vitamins do contain sugar however, they typically only contain two to four grams of added sugar per gummy. 5 With many gummy vitamins suggesting a dosage of two or three gummies per day, that sugar content can add up, so it’s best to be aware of this and read the supplement facts label. For reference, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a maximum daily added sugar limit of no more than 10% of calories per day from sugar (for both women and men). 3
They are less shelf-stable and may degrade quicker. Gummy vitamins have limited shelf life and become less potent in a shorter period of time. 6 So, a container of gummy vitamins might last for approximately 18 months versus a container of tablet vitamins that might last for 2-3 years. Most likely you will finish your gummy vitamins prior to the expiration date but be sure to check the date on your dietary supplement labels.
Gummy Vitamin Q&A
Q: Do gummy vitamins dissolve in your stomach?
A: Because you’ll be chewing a gummy vitamin, it will be broken down before reaching the stomach—one of the reasons it’s easier to digest. This also means your body will likely be absorbing the vitamins quicker than if it had to wait for a tablet to dissolve.
Q: What happens if you eat too many gummy vitamins?
A: Just like consuming too many traditional vitamins, taking too many gummy vitamins can cause problems. Because the body does not store water-soluble vitamins (such as Vitamins B and C), any “leftovers” leave the body through the urine. 7 However, fat-soluble vitamins (such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K) get stored in the body and aren’t necessarily good to consume in large doses. And minerals can be problematic in large doses, too. Consuming excess vitamins and minerals can cause a range of side effects, ranging from headache to nausea and loss of appetite. 8
Q: Do vitamins and supplements actually do anything?
A: Yes, vitamins and supplements work! Supplements can be part of a healthy lifestyle to ensure you’re not missing out on the daily vitamin and mineral requirements essential for good health. Since supplements provide many health benefits—from supporting digestion and eye function to maintaining heart health and strong bones, vitamin and mineral supplements in any form can help close nutrient gaps. They can also help those with increased nutrient needs (think vegans, performance athletes, and pregnant women), and when in a gummy form, work much better for people who have trouble swallowing pills.†
The Bottom Line
As always, it’s best to get the vitamins and minerals you need by eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. But taking gummy vitamins may benefit certain people, including kids (or adults!) who are picky eaters. Remember, taking vitamins of any kind are good for anyone who struggles with nutrient deficiency or absorption issues, or has increased nutrient needs (such as pregnant women). Not to mention, most people do not get all the nutrients their body needs from their diet alone. Do gummy vitamins actually work though? Yes they do, though taking vitamins in this form has advantages and disadvantages as you've learned.
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog or the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
Melissa is a registered dietitian (RD) and works in our Medical and Scientific Communications department as a Science and Health Educator. She has worked for Pharmavite for over 20 years educating consumers, healthcare practitioners, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Relations department. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in East Orange New Jersey.
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