January 7th 2020
What a doctor wants you to know about vitamin gummies
January 1st 2020 / 0 comment
From Instagram to the shelves of Holland and Barrett, vitamin and health gummies are everywhere but are they as good as a pill? We asked the experts
Vitamin gummies are having a real moment; every member of the Kardashian clan has promoted Sugarbear Hair gummies on their Instagram pages and the brand is a regular sponsor of hugely popular US podcasts including My Favourite Murder and Two Girls One Ghost. Over here, the Love Island alumni regularly tout Starpowa Gummies, which claim to help give thicker hair. What we’re saying is, vitamin gummies are making a big noise.
It’s not just influencer-friendly brands that are jumping on the gummy bandwagon; respected supplements brands Healthspan to Perfectil have released gummy vitamins, all promising benefits ranging from stronger hair and nails to clear skin.
A vitamin gummy takes the gag-worthiness out of swallowing a big chalky pill each morning, making taking vitamins, CBD or even apple cider vinegar a pleasure more than a chore (maybe too much of pleasure as many taste like sweets and are high in sugar, making it easy to pop too many).
So are vitamin gummies as good as their more traditional counterparts?
“For your gummy to be worthwhile, look for as wide a range of vitamins and minerals as possible,” advises Dr Sarah Brewer, Medical Director of Healthspan. “Some vitamin gummies contain just vitamins while others provide meaningful levels of both," she says.
“The level of each micronutrient within a gummy will depend on our daily requirement. Micronutrients that are only needed in tiny amounts, such as biotin, folic acid and vitamin D can be present in gummies at levels of 100 per cent of the EU NRV (nutrient reference value). Those that are needed in higher amounts may be present at reduced levels (eg 50 per cent NRV) to supplement the diet.”
Check whether the levels shown are per one gummy, or for two gummies when comparing labels.
“It’s also worth checking if the gummy is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified, which means it is produced to pharmaceutical standards to ensure quality and consistency of dose,” adds Sarah.
On a practical level, gummies are useful for people who find it difficult to swallow a tablet, she adds.
“Surveys consistently show that 37 per cent to 40 per cent of the general population have difficulties swallowing pills,” says Dr Sarah Brewer.
“Twice as many women (51 per cent) as men (27 per cent) experienced pill-swallowing problems and, interestingly, more people between ages 18 and 64 reported these problems (44 per cent) than those age 65 and older (26 per cent), so it affects younger people too. For many, a gummy is easier to face than a tablet or capsules – especially if it tastes good too!”
“Certain groups, especially teenagers, find gummies an easier way to take supplements and they’re definitely a more attractive offering for anyone that has to take other medicines on a daily basis,” adds registered nutritionist Rob Hobson.
Are gummy vitamins suitable for vegetarians?
Some people prefer gelatin-based gummies, which have a firm texture, while others prefer a soft pastille that is pectin based; only the latter is suitable for vegetarians.
What are the ingredients to avoid in vitamin gummies?
“Check the label on your vitamins for sugar, as many brands sweeten gummies,” warns Rob Hobson. “Sugar-free varieties which are sweetened with artificial sweeteners would be the best choice of gummy.”
“You need to decide whether you want a gummy that has no added sugar and which is sweetened with Stevia and sorbitol or ones that are sweetened with sugar or cane syrup,” adds Dr Sarah Brewer. “This is a personal choice.”
What’s the best time of day to take gummy vitamins?
“Take them at the most convenient time that fits your lifestyle, otherwise you may forget,” says Sarah. “They are best taken immediately after a meal to maximise absorption - especially of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Rinse your mouth afterwards with water to help protect your teeth.”
“It’s best to avoid drinking tea and coffee within two hours of taking a mineral-containing supplement (whether a gummy or tablet) as tannins and other components of these drinks can bind minerals to reduce their absorption.”
Read on for our edit of vitamin and health gummies to find the best one for you.
Evolution_18 Beauty Gummy, £20 for 30
Dosage: Two per day
Need to know: Bobbi Brown launched her beauty ingestibles range in January 2020 and we were immediately taken with the gummies. They're packed with biotin for thicker, healthier hair and stronger nails.
Biotin: 33,333 per cent NRV
Calories: 9 per gummy
Flavour: Mixed berry
Dosage: Two to three per day
Need to know: Lauded for their extensive range of vitamins and supplements, Perfectil entered the gummies games with these cute heart-shaped gummies. Don't be fooled by the twee shape though, they pack a punch with 21 nutrients including zinc, biotin and selenium which contribute to normal hair, skin and nails.
Vitamin D: 200 per cent NRV
Vitamin E: 250 per cent NRV
Folic acid: 200 per cent NRV
Biotin: 300 per cent NRV
Zinc: 25 per cent NRV
Selenium: 100 per cent NRV
Sugar/calories: 1.06g of sugar / 9 calories per gummy
Flavour: Grapefruit and honey, cherry and orange and strawberry and citrus - eating these is a bit like a large, denser fruit pastille.
Dosage: Two to three per day
Need to know: These vegan gummies don't promise hair and skin health, but they do claim to clear your mind and declutter your headspace, allowing you to concentrate on the important things in life - equally as important as thick hair, if you ask us.
Key ingredients: 10mg of CBD per gummy
Sugar/calories: 2.1g of sugar per gummy. 14 calories per gummy.
Dosage: One gummy daily
Need to know: These gummies are made from 12 essential vitamins and minerals that are needed to support your body and mind; think a complex blend of A, C and D vitamins which help to support the maintenance of your skin and bones - all in one tasty gummy.
Vitamin C: 50 per cent NRV
Vitamin E: 56 per cent NRV
Folic acid: 60 per cent NRV
Biotin: 60 per cent NRV
Sugar/calories: 1.7g of sugar per gummy / 6.8 calories per gummy
Flavour: Mixed berry
Dosage: Two bears once a day
Need to know: If you're dreaming of hair to rival Rapunzel, we recommend embracing these adorable blue bears. These vegetarian vitamin gummies are packed with biotin, folic acid and vitamin C, which is proven to be a blend that increases hair density, shine, thickness. 94 per cent of users claimed to see results after three months.
Vitamin A: 42 per cent NRV
Vitamin C: 33 per cent NRV
Vitamin D: 100 per cent NRV
Folic acid: 65 per cent NRV
Biotin: 1667 per cent NRV
Sugar/calories: Three grams of sugar per serving / 15 calories per serving
Flavour: Apple and blackcurrant
Dosage: One gummy per day
Need to know: These gummies are so popular they're currently out of stock, but we've got it under good authority that they'll be back on December 14, so hang tight until then! It's not surprising that they're in high demand, as it's estimated one-fifth of the UK is deficient in vitamin D, and these gummies deliver a delicious way to top up your level to help support bones and muscles and boosts immunity.
Vitamin D: 500 per cent NRV
Sugar / Calories: 1.4g sugar per gummy / 5 calories per gummy
Dosage: Two gummies daily
Need to know: If you follow any of the Love Islanders on Instagram, you're likely to have seen this product on your feed. These vegan gummies contain biotin which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and hair along with zinc which contributes to the maintenance of hair & nails.
Vitamin C: 50 per cent NRV
Zinc: 50 per cent NRV
Vitamin E: 100 per cent NRV
Folic acid: 100 per cent NRV
Biotin: 100 per cent NRV
Sugar/calories: 0.05g per serving / 12 calories per serving
Dosage: Two to four gummies per day, but up to 12 is fine if you can't get enough!
Need to know: These gummies are a firm favourite in the GTG office - they make taking apple cider vinegar palatable and they're gluten-free and vegan too. They help digestion, improve complexion, help your body detoxify and promote a healthy heart.
500 mg of apple cider vinegar (two gummies is equal to one shot of apple cider vinegar)
Folic acid: 50 per cent
Sugar/calories: 15 calories per gummy / one g of sugar per gummy