Curious if gummy vitamins are as effective as conventional supplements? They very well can be, yet it’ll ultimately depend on the brand and gummies at hand. Here’s what you should know, according to Jennifer Martin-Biggers, PhD, MS, RD.
While you may have loved your gummy vitamins as a child, these days, the gummy supplement market is booming for adults, too. In fact, the global gummy vitamin market grew from $6.47 billion in 2022 to $7.13 billion in 2023—boasting an annual compound growth rate of 10.2 percent—and is projected to reach $10.3 billion by 2027. But with so many new products hitting shelves and online storefronts, you may be curious if gummy vitamins are actually effective and work as well as conventional supplements.
In truth, it depends, as not all gummy vitamins are created equally. It’s important to be aware of a few key facts about their formulations, as well as how to find the most effective gummy vitamins for your needs. We asked Jennifer Martin-Biggers, PhD, MS, RD, HUM’s vice president of scientific affairs and education, to share must-know intel.
What Makes Gummy Vitamin Formulations Unique?
Before we explore if gummy vitamins are effective, Dr. Martin-Biggers takes care to point out the nuances of making them. “Gummies are an amazing reflection of the science and chemistry of our foods,” she begins. “There are numerous considerations when it comes to formulating a gummy that make them much more complicated than capsules or tablets.”
To start, she says there are more limitations when including active ingredients in gummy supplements. “For example, if a gummy weighs three grams, as much as 90 percent of that is usually required for ingredients that make the gummy taste good and give it shape—like pectin, cane sugar, and flavors,” she explains. As a result, there’s less room to include active ingredients. In this example, about 300 milligrams of a given nutrient can make into a single gummy. According to Dr. Martin-Biggers, this won’t always be enough room to put a clinically effective dose of a given nutrient into gummy form. (This factor also explains why a serving size often calls for at least two gummies.)
Next, Dr. Martin-Biggers notes that chemistry and science should inform all supplements—yet gummy vitamins require a delicate balance to ensure that they’re enjoyable to consume while retaining their actives and quality. The main considerations include “taste, texture, shape, smell, and ensuring that the gummies are stable over time so they don’t melt or change taste,” she explains. Certain vitamins and botanicals taste better or look more appealing than others, she adds, so not all actives are ideal to include in a gummy.
Are Gummy Vitamins Effective?
Despite the challenges of developing a tasty and stable formula you’ll actually want to take, Dr. Martin-Biggers says that gummy vitamins are an effective way to boost your diet. “Gummy vitamins work similarly to capsules or tablets,” she shares. “After you eat them, they are broken down by acids in your stomach and GI system, and nutrients are absorbed and utilized just like other supplements or foods.”
Yet it bears repeating that not all gummy supplements get the green light. The efficacy of any gummy vitamin will ultimately depend on the brand correctly formulating it. “Companies need to work carefully to ensure that the amount of active ingredients in the gummies is safe, potent, and will be effective throughout the entire shelf life of the product,” Dr. Martin-Biggers explains. She adds that HUM engages in rigorous, ongoing testing to ensure the potency of our active ingredients across all products—gummies included. (More on this to come.)
Benefits of Gummy Vitamins
Aside from helping you get key nutrients in your diet, gummy vitamins boast a few unique and noteworthy benefits:
- They’re easier to ingest. “Some people have difficulty swallowing pills or capsules,” says Dr. Martin-Biggers, which makes a gummy or chewable supplement an attractive alternative.
- They taste good. If you enjoy the taste of your gummy vitamins, you’re more likely to take them on a consistent basis. As is the case with capsules, tablets, powders, and the like, consistency is key to yield results.
- They’re simple to integrate in your routine. You may find that gummy vitamins are easier to include into your daily regimen compared to other supplements. For instance, if you crave something sweet after finishing a meal, this can automatically remind you to take your gummy supplement. Not only will this help you remember to take it daily, but it can also be a satisfying dupe for less nutritious sweets.
How to Find the Best Gummy Vitamins
Personalization is the name of the supplement game, so not all gummy vitamins will fit your needs. In addition to prioritizing certain ingredients, it’s worth steering clear of others. With that said, here are three parting tips to help you choose the best, most effective gummy vitamins for you.
1. Get Clear on Your Concerns
“I recommend looking for gummies that fill a nutritional gap or health benefit you are searching for,” Dr. Martin-Biggers advises. Need to get your gut right? HUM’s PRO ACV Gummies contain apple cider vinegar and probiotics to support gut health and digestion.
Struggle with PMS symptoms like hormonal acne, bloating, and mood swings? SOS PMS Gummies can help relieve these symptoms and more, courtesy of clinically tested chasteberry extract at 50 milligrams standardized to 1.5 percent agnusides.
2. Investigate Labels and Claims
Once you know what concern(s) you want to address, take the time to read labels and validate claims. Dr. Martin-Biggers suggests investigating if a company notes how much of an active ingredient is a clinically studied dose and form that yields a given benefit. You should be able to find this information on a product’s sales page and/or elsewhere on the brand’s website. Aim to go beyond marketing messages and prioritize brands that are transparent about the actual science and studies behind their gummy vitamins.
For instance, the product page for HUM’s Beauty zzZz Gummies includes a list of clinical studies and results that guided the sleep-enhancing, digestion-regulating gummy formula.
3. Pay Mindful of Sugar and Other Additives
Many gummy supplements will include cane sugar and/or other sweeteners to make them tasty. With that in mind, keep track of how many you’re taking. “Sugar amounts can vary, but they do contribute to your overall added sugar intake,” says Dr. Martin-Biggers. Note: As delicious as some gummy vitamins can be, remember that they’re still supplements, so stick to intake as instructed.
In addition, some ingredients in gummy vitamins don’t meet exacting standards for safety and quality. Additives that all HUM supplements steer clear of include:
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors
- Artificial sweeteners
- High-fructose corn syrup
HUM gummies also don’t contain any sugar alcohols (like erythritol), which are often used as a substitute for sugar. You can also learn more about the tricky 12 ingredients HUM avoids and why.
To go the extra mile as far as safety, purity, and efficacy are concerned, you’ll want to prioritize gummy vitamins—and supplements at large—that have third-party verifications. For instance, all HUM products are:
- Clean Label Project certified, meaning they’ve been tested for and cleared of hundreds of environmental contaminants and chemicals (including heavy metals and pesticides)
- GMP-compliant, ensuring that our manufacturers meet exacting standards for purity, strength, and composition
- Non-GMO verified
Lastly, if you follow a plant-based or vegan diet, be sure to look out for gummy supplements that are clearly listed as vegan-friendly. “Many gummies use gelatin to provide that gummy texture, which comes from animals,” Dr. Martin-Biggers explains. “If you avoid animal products, look for vegan gummies that use agar, starch, and pectin as vegan alternatives.”