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Why Do Vitamin Gummies Not Work As Well As Traditional Vitamin Capsules?

Written by: Anna Misztela, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


A common question that I am often asked is why vitamin gummies do not work as well as traditional vitamin capsules. It’s easy to see the appeal of gummy vitamins – they look like candy, taste like candy, so it is not surprising that they are popular and a staple on store shelves. But don’t be fooled. They do not work as well as traditional vitamin capsules, and there are several reasons for this which we will discuss in this article.

First, the reason gummy vitamins taste like candy is that they are full of artificial sweeteners or, worse yet, sugar. According to the World Health Organization, we can reap many health benefits by simply reducing our daily intake of sugar to an amount less than or equal to 5% of our daily caloric intake. For adults, this amounts to about 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day. Right now, a typical American consumes around 92 grams (22 teaspoons) of sugar per day, well in excess of the WHO recommendation. Now consider a simple gummy vitamin, which can contain as much as 3-5 grams of sugar, and by itself would consume up to 20% of the WHO recommendation. That is one-fifth of your daily sugar allotment used up simply by consuming that one vitamin! So, although you may think you are doing your body some good by consuming that vitamin, it is more like a one-step forward, two steps backward situation. And chances are you (as the average American does) will struggle to stay within that WHO recommended allowance, so taking a traditional capsule vitamin can help save some of your daily intake of sugar for elsewhere.

Sugar from gummy vitamins can be detrimental to your hair, skin and nails

Why is this important? We already know that too much sugar can be bad for your general health, but it can also be quite detrimental to the beauty of your hair, skin and nails. Excessive sugars will increase your blood glucose levels to the point where glucose will bond with the amino acids present in the proteins that support beautiful-looking skin, collagen, and elastin, rendering them irreparable. These protein-glucose complexes are known as advanced glycation end products, or AGE’s (no pun intended). If your skin has a high content of AGE’s, you can expect to observe deeper wrinkling, poor skin elasticity, and some yellowing and browning. Furthermore, high glucose levels in your blood will lead to increased insulin levels, which boost sebum production, which can potentially lead to breakouts of acne. Androgen hormone levels will follow suit and alter follicle health leading to hair loss.

There are those that may claim that the nutritional benefits supplied by the vitamin are outweighed by the detrimental effects of sugar. However, the extent of those benefits may not be as high as you might think. The process required to make a gummy vitamin requires a substantial number of ingredients to produce that “gummy” texture. (eg. sugar, gelatin, cornstarch, and food colors). The downside of these extra ingredients is that they put limits on the number and amount of actual vitamins and minerals that can be incorporated into the vitamin. So more often than not, you are required to take more than one gummy vitamin to achieve the same nutritional benefits offered by a single traditional capsule supplement. And by doing so you run the risk of yet again increasing your sugar intake.

Vitamins in gummies are also less stable than in capsule form resulting in both a loss of potency and a shorter shelf life. In an effort to prevent this, some manufacturers may attempt to overload them with the active ingredients, meaning that there will be some uncertainty in the dosage you are actually receiving, depending upon the manufacturing date. A freshly manufactured batch may have more than listed on the ingredients label, or less for a bottle that has remained on a shelf for an extended period of time. Keep in mind that FDA regulation is less strict since they consider vitamin supplements as foods rather than drugs.

The fact that the key selling point of gummy vitamins lies within their texture and taste also provides an additional problem for manufacturers that is not encountered for capsule vitamins that are swallowed whole. Some essential vitamins and minerals (for example B vitamins, iron, and zinc) have unpleasant tastes that are difficult to mask in gummy form. In fact, even the manufacturer themselves admit there are some active ingredients that are not suitable for gummy vitamins.

Now many of you may be saying that your gummy vitamins are sugar-free and instead use an artificial sweetener. These sweeteners are commonly sugar alcohols such as Erythritol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, or Maltitol, names you might be familiar with from the packaging of these and other sugar-free products. But let’s have a closer look at sugar alcohols. What exactly are they? Sugar alcohols are actually carbohydrates with a sweetness relative to sugar of anywhere between 35–97% but are lower in calories and do not have nearly the same detrimental effects that sugar does on your health and beauty. Nevertheless, they are not without potential side effects, especially when overly consumed. These commonly include diarrhea and bloating, while overconsumption of artificial flavorings that are ubiquitously present in gummy vitamins may lead to intestinal health issues.

And do you remember all those times your mom told you that eating all that sugar would “rot your teeth”? It turns out she was right. Of all the dietary factors that lead to tooth decay and dental cavities, sugars remain amongst the top culprits. This is because the bacteria in your mouth metabolize sugars producing an acid that attacks the hard enamel and dentine in your teeth, slowly breaking them down. And it is not just the sugar. Other ingredients commonly found in gummy vitamins such as citric acid can similarly promote tooth decay.

Capsule form vitamins can contain many more active ingredients

So although gummy vitamins may appear like a tasty and convenient way to supplement your diet with essential vitamins and minerals, there are drawbacks and you would be further ahead taking a traditional capsule vitamin supplement. Gummy vitamins may contain a substantial amount of sugar that is detrimental to the average American’s general health and to the health and beauty of your hair, skin and nails. It is also difficult to be confident in the doses of the active ingredients in each gummy, as these will be dependent upon factors such as shelf life. Furthermore, you may be required to take more than one gummy vitamin to match all the ingredients and dosages contained within a single capsule form supplement. This will very likely drive up your total supplement expenditures. Capsule form vitamins can contain many more active ingredients including those which have difficult-to-hide, unpleasant tastes and are thus absent in gummy versions. Although some gummy vitamin manufacturers offer a sugar-free alternative, the issues pertaining to dosage, the maximum number of active ingredients, and taste masking still persist. So the final result is, you will always get more bang for your buck with a capsule vitamin, and the vitamins will be delivered in a form that won’t be to the detriment of your health and beauty.

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Anna Misztela, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Anna Misztela’s interest in nutrition analysis and beauty began after she won the Mrs Polonia 2017 and Mrs Polonia World 2018 beauty contests. She then completed a Nutrition Science certification and became a Board-Licensed Esthetician. Her goal was to unlock the mystery of naturally beautiful hair, skin and nails. She was astonished by her discoveries of how sulfur and different types of vitamins work in our body. Since Roman times sulfur baths and sulfur waters have had known health and beauty benefits. Anna has included these compounds in her unique product, which helped many women to transform their hair, improve skin conditions, and get stronger nails. That’s how Beauty&Cutie was born.



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