The Betterment Project

Gummy Vitamins Vs. Regular Vitamins

Current market research shows that the gummy vitamin industry will just about double its revenue to nearly 10 billion dollars over the next decade! This means that more and more people are taking vitamins in a gummy form than ever before, but what makes gummy vitamins so popular? 


There are many reasons but our top three are the ease of use, the experience, and the bioavailability.

Ease of Use


Regular vitamins in pill form can be difficult to swallow for some people. In fact, one
study estimates that 40% of the adult population struggles with or is unable to swallow pills. The main reason being that pills can be far too big! 


Having to swallow a few of them back to back can be a painful process, and they may even get stuck to your throat on the way down, leaving you drinking glass after glass to try and get that lump to go away. Not a great experience. This deters people from helping out their body instead of motivating them to do what is best for their biology.


Meanwhile, gummy vitamins leverage one of your body’s natural digestive mechanisms - chewing. By chewing a gummy you can avoid annoyances like getting pills stuck in your throat or only being able to take them when you have water. They are also great for people who have difficulty swallowing pills. This makes the process easy and convenient!


An Experience


With traditional capsules you avoid tasting the products, but with
gummy vitamins the product has an awesome flavor that motivates you to keep doing what is best for your body day after day. 


Some vitamins, like ours, even leverage medicinal aromatics called terpenes, which heighten the experience and can have even more beneficial effects for your body. Instead of being a chore, taking your vitamin or supplement becomes an experience that you look forward to each and every day.


Bioequivalence


One area of very recent development in vitamin efficacy is the study of bioequivalence. Bioequivavce looks at the absorption, bioavailability, and effect on nutrient levels in the body when vitamins are taken in different forms. Studies on
vitamin C and vitamins E and B9 have thus far shown that there is little difference between vitamins forms and bioavailability, but a study on vitamin D did find a significant difference between taking a gummy in comparison to taking a pill. 


It seems then that in some cases there is evidence that there is better nutrient gains for vitamins when they are taken in a gummy form in comparison to a pill form. 


The digestion process works through two mechanisms: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical processes like the stomach churning and chewing increase the surface area of the food giving greater efficacy to the chemical digestive processes and allowing for better absorption. 


The chemical processes of digestion come through digestive enzymes and bacteria found in the stomach and released by other organs and glands like the salivary glands, gastric glands, pancreas, gallbladder, and others too. The study on vitamin D suggested that since gummy vitamins leverage your body’s natural digestion processes, which begin in the mouth, may be the reason why they have higher nutrient levels than pills that are swallowed whole. 


While this suggestion has not been validated by other studies it may be explanatory of the findings on the absorption rate found in the study on vitamins E and B9 which found that the peak absorption of gummy vitamins was about half the time. In this study the peak absorption for gummy vitamins was near two hours, while the peak absorption for the tablet was at four hours. 


Is There Any Reason Not to Take a Gummy?


While there are a number of reasons to prefer a gummy vitamin over a regular vitamin, there is one area where a different form may be better when supplementing.. 


Probiotics are a supplement that introduces good bacteria into your digestive system. The state of this bacteria is referred to as the microbiome


When the microbiome is destroyed through not eating whole foods with prebiotics, drinking alcohol and smoking, antibiotic use, lack of regular physical activity, not getting enough sleep, or otherwise you may see detrimental health indicators. 


Probiotics are generally not better in a gummy form for multiple reasons. Firstly, you do not want to digest the bacteria, but get them to the gut where they can help you digest. Secondly, the bacteria are living and need a stable environment where they can stay until reaching the small intestine. Both of these point to encapsulation being the best method for the delivery of living things into the body.


The Bottomline


Gummy vitamins
are the way to go when supplementing your diet due to their possible health benefits. Gummy vitamins also have the greatest opportunity to keep you doing what's best for your body by motivating you through ease of use and fantastic flavors. 


While gummy vitamins have some of the best features, they are not perfect for every use case. If you are looking to supplement with living organisms to boost your gut health then a capsule would be better than a gummy.  

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Sources:

Bioequivalence Studies of Vitamin D Gummies and Tablets in Healthy Adults: Results of a Cross-Over Study | Nutrients

Vitamin C Bioequivalence from Gummy and Caplet Sources in Healthy Adults: A Randomized-Controlled Trial | Journal of the American College of Nutrition

Bioequivalence Study of Two Multivitamin Formulations Containing Vitamin E and Folate in Healthy Adults | Current Developments in Nutrition

Size, Shape, and Other Physical Attributes of Generic  Tablets and Capsules Guidance for Industry | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

Gummy Vitamins Market by Type, Demographics, and Sales Channel: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast 2019-2026 | Allied Market Research

Encapsulation Technology to Protect Probiotic Bacteria | Intechopen

A healthy gastrointestinal microbiome is dependent on dietary diversity | Molecular Metabolism

Bacterial metabolism and health-related effects of galacto-oligosaccharides and other prebiotics | Journal of Applied Microbiology

An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest | Nature

The human microbiome: at the interface of health and disease | Nature Reviews Genetics

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This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

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