Traditional vitamins and supplements have always been around in the form of pills and capsules since ages. However, since the past couple of years, from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, gummy vitamins have emerged as the latest trend in the market. How come? Well, for one, biotin gummies have gained popularity as multivitamins that provide amazing hair and skin health benefits. Adding to their mass appeal, their attractive shapes, assorted colours, different textures and yummy flavours make advertising them seem like child’s play, compared to marketing traditional vitamin pills and capsules.
As per medical research, if you follow a healthy and well-balanced diet, you don’t need a daily multivitamin. On the contrary, if you find it difficult to eat a variety of foods, have dietary restrictions, or trouble absorbing some nutrients, having a multivitamin every day is just what the doctor ordered.
Now, coming to the real question – are these yummy gummies the right form of supplement choice for you? Read on to find out.
What are gummies ?
Gummy vitamins are chewable vitamins that have a texture and taste that resonates with gummy candies or jelly beans. Available in a variety of flavours, colours and shapes, they’ve not only been labelled as an alternate source of multivitamins, but also packaged and marketed better than traditional vitamin pills and capsules.
What are gummy vitamins made of?
Giving gummy vitamins their delightful taste and texture are common ingredients like gelatin, corn starch, water, sugar, and added colourings. On the other hand, their addictive flavours are a result of ingredients such as sugar, erythritol, mannitol, isomalt, and other sweeteners. Some of the popular flavours nowadays are lemon, raspberry, cherry, and orange. Here, it’s important to take note that gummies are often loaded with fillers and artificial food dyes that are harmful to health.
What are the downsides of gummiesLarge amount of sugar content:
One gummy vitamin usually contains anywhere between 2 to 8 gms of sugar. This can hamper the daily sugar allowance of any individual. Although the repercussions of consuming large amounts of sugar are common knowledge, let’s learn about a few of them anyway:
- Leads to obesity, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, high blood pressure and other metabolic and hormonal disorders
- Increases the risk of liver diseases and certain types of cancers
- Causes restlessness, hyperactivity and ADHD amongst children
- Contributes to behavioural disorders and depression
- The sugar and gelatin in gummy vitamins can stick to your teeth, leading to cavities. What about sugar-free gummies? Well, in them, the sweetener is replaced with citric acid, which is equally harmful as it wears down the enamel that guards your teeth.
Moreover, sugar alcohols, frequently found in vitamin gummies, can cause digestive issues like nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.
Poor shelf life:
Gummy vitamins tend to degrade faster and have a shorter shelf life than traditional pills. Hence, by the time you consume your gummy, its vitamin content may have already lost potency, making the dosage of gummy vitamins unreliable.
Poor absorption and bioavailability:
The bioavailability and absorption of nutrients from biotin gummies is lesser, compared to routine tablets. This means that the amount of vitamin from the biotin gummies absorbed by the body is minimal, unlike the case with routine vitamin tablets or capsules.
Not true to the label:
Always be wary of what the labels say. In reality, gummy vitamins may have fewer nutrients than consumers are led to believe. This is partially because manufacturers cannot pack in many vitamins and minerals when sugars, colourings, and other filler compounds need to be added to get that flavour and texture.
Lack of essential vitamins and minerals:
Maintaining the palatable taste of biotin gummies restricts the addition of certain essential nutrients to their list of ingredients. For example, iron has a metallic taste that is difficult to mask and is hardly included in any gummies. Other supplements that have a distinct taste are some B-vitamins and zinc. Therefore, extra sweetening agents may be added to make the gummy more enjoyable.
Is there any such thing as a vitamin overdose or toxicity?
Anything in excess, even vitamins and minerals, have their side effects and biotin gummies are no exception. It is imperative to only take the recommended amount of gummy vitamins. Taking one too many in a go may lead to a vitamin overdose. Consuming excessive amounts of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K can also be dangerous as they can be stored in the body and may cause toxicity.
Why are traditional vitamins better?
Long before fancy gummies took the market by storm, doctors have been prescribing vitamins and minerals, in the form of tablets, capsules and liquids, for people who have deficiencies or need supplementation for any reason. Why is it that they prefer traditional vitamins over these yummy gummies:
- Much more reliable in terms of dosage and nutrient value
- Have a better shelf life and unlike gummies, their potency doesn’t diminish by the time they’re consumed
- The amount of the vitamin released from the tablet and absorbed by your body is much more compared to gummies, thanks to better bioavailability of traditional pills and capsules
- Do not contain large amounts of sugar or artificial colouring agents as found in gummies. This prevents potential risks like obesity, metabolic disorders, dental decay and other health problems. After all, vitamin supplements should help your health, not put it at risk. Right?
- Gummies have attractive shapes, colours and textures along with addictive flavours. This can lead to overeating gummies, causing an overdose, unlike with regular vitamin pills and tablets
- Traditional vitamin pills, capsules or liquids have correct combinations and dosages. For example, iron and calcium cannot be taken together and hence, cannot be included together in the same vitamin pill
- Since taste and palatability are major criterions of gummy vitamins, they are unable to provide strong tasting, yet essential supplements like iron, calcium and certain B vitamins. On the other hand, routine supplement forms easily provide these formulations
Traditional vitamin tablets and capsules may have some minor disadvantages, but there are solutions for those as well.
- Some people, especially kids, find it difficult to swallow large tablets or capsules. In such cases, tablets can be easily crushed and swallowed with water or added to food. This also helps mask the strong or bitter taste of the vitamin tablet. Another option is the liquid form of vitamins which are easy to consume.
- Supplements like iron and calcium are known to cause stomach issues. This problem can be easily solved by taking such tablets after your meals. Since traditional vitamin supplements are available in various strengths, choose a dose that works well for you and is easy on your stomach. Take divided doses in the day to fulfill your daily requirements.
Maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet is the key to avoiding nutritional deficiencies. At the end of the day, if you are unable to meet your daily vitamin and mineral requirements through food for any reason whatsoever, supplements will surely help you. That being said, the better option is to take traditional pills and tablets considering the fact that other than their sweet taste and chewable texture, gummy vitamins have more cons than pros.
Gummies, though attractively packaged and marketed, are no match for traditional vitamin tablets that continue to stand the test of time and deliver desired results.
Lastly, remember to consult your doctor before you make a healthy decision!
1. The views expressed are the opinion of the author. Please consult your doctor for more information.
2. The content herein is taken and is collated from various publicly available resources.