Do Gummy Vitamins Actually Work?

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles | January 8, 2018

We have to admit that some gummy vitamins taste dangerously good! But that’s okay because they’re basically healthy candies, right?

Well, they are candies – that’s for sure. They’re convenient, fun to eat, and supposedly filled with all the nutrients your body needs. However, their health benefits have been glorified over the years. The main problem is that most gummy vitamin brands are missing too many essential nutrients.

According to the Institute of Medicine, we need to get 13 vitamins and 12 minerals from our diets. Since many of us don’t maintain an ideal and balanced diet all the time, we rely on fortified foods and supplements to achieve this goal. Multivitamins are often referred to as our “insurance policy” to ensure that we’re getting everything that our bodies need. Gummy vitamins are thought of as a fun (and yummy) way to get that “insurance”. However, we now know that most gummy multivitamin supplements lack adequate amounts of these necessary nutrients.

So much for that insurance policy!

ConsumerLab set out to see which nutrients are actually in some of the most popular brands of vitamins. They tested 37 brands of gummy multivitamins, and not one brand came even close to containing all the vitamins and minerals found in a good old fashioned multivitamin tablet such as Centrum or One-a-Day.

ConsumerLab found that Centrum MultiGummies for Adults was is missing 10 essential nutrients, while Nature Made Multi Adult Gummies and Vitafusion MultiVites each lacked 9 nutrients. Smarty Pants Adult Complete Multivitamin calls itself complete, yet it doesn’t have any B-1, B-3, or K vitamins or iron, magnesium, copper, selenium, and chromium. Not so complete, right? Even worse, some brands contained too much folate or vitamin A and exceeded the daily limit standards set by the Institute of Medicine.

Gummies are more difficult to manufacture, and the ingredients used tend to be of low quality. ConsumerLab suggested that those factors would explain the low vitamin and mineral content in gummy multivitamins. However, there’s still no excuse for mislabeling the products.

The takeaway message from ConsumerLab and its study are that if you’re going to spend money on multivitamins and take them every day, then you’re better off pouring a large glass of water and gulping down your multivitamin in tablet form. Say goodbye to the deliciousness of gummies and hello to multivitamins tablets and whole foods that actually give you all the nutrients you need! You can save yourself from a few cavities, too!

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles's profile picture

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles

Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.

Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/ Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.

She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.

Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!

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