As we discussed in our previous blog on “The Consumer Trends Driving Projected Growth in the Supplements Industry,” most consumers increased their consumption of supplements at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this increased use of supplements may be here to stay.
Within the growing vitamin and supplement industry, gummies have been increasing in popularity as a dosage form. The question is, are gummies actually a good option for vitamins and supplements? How do gummies compare to the more traditional capsules? When analyzing this question, here are 5 important factors to consider:
Whether capsules are made of gelatin or HPMC, the capsule itself does not contain any sugar.
In contrast, gummy vitamins contain a great deal of sugar—typically two to eight grams (i.e., 1/2 to 2 teaspoons) per serving. That’s a lot of sugar, especially for a product that is taken for the purpose of improving one’s health! Remember, sugar is known to have a number of potentially adverse health effects, including inflammation, poor weight management, oxidative stress, high triglycerides, cavities and more.
Yes, some gummy vitamins are made with sugar substitutes, these can pose their own set of problems, including negative gastrointestinal effects.
Quantity of other extra ingredients
Capsules require a minimal number of inactive ingredients. They can be made with no artificial colorants, artificial flavors or potentially undesirable additives.
Making gummies requires a number of extra ingredients. Gummy vitamins often contain sugars or artificial sweeteners, artificial colorants, acids (such as lactic acid or citric acid), carnauba wax and a wide range of other inactive ingredients.
Both HPMC and gelatin capsules come in a wide variety of sizes. This enables you to tailor the capsule to the desired serving size, while taking a number of important factors into consideration when determining this serving size. For example, do the members of your target audience struggle to swallow larger capsules? Do you want to recommend a “one size fits all” dosage, or make it easy for some consumers to get a smaller dosage by simply taking one versus two pills? And so forth.
With gummies, the need for so many extra ingredients limits how much active ingredient can be included in each dose. Between this and a strong practical limit to how large a gummy can be, the desired dosage that can easily be formulated into one reasonable-sized capsule can translate into a serving size of two or more large gummies.
Impact of shelf stability on nutritional value
With proper handling and storage, capsules are a very stable delivery method that safeguards the shelf stability of the encapsulated active ingredients. Consumers can count on capsules to contain a reliable quantity of vitamins and minerals.
A problem with gummy vitamins is that their limited shelf stability results in unreliable dosages. Consumers can never be sure exactly how much nutrients they are getting with each gummy. To compensate for the fact that gummies typically lose potency over time, manufacturers will formulate products that are made with more vitamins than what is stated on the label. This way even after the potency drops, the gummy is still likely to contain at least as much vitamin as promised.
With their high sugar content, gummies are usually formulated to taste and seem like candy. This, of course, makes them very popular with children. If flavor is the only consideration, most manufacturers assume that a gummy is the best choice, especially in pediatrics. Unfortunately, because they are so candy-like, overconsumption—which can cause vitamin toxicity—is a serious problem.
Whether they are made of gelatin or HPMC, the vast majority of capsules are formulated to be flavorless.
That said, when flavor is a consideration, CapsCanada® offers a unique solution: flavored capsules. Available in a variety of flavors (including lime, berry, strawberry, grape, orange, bubblegum, mint and coffee), these flavored gelatin capsules promote patient compliance without adding sugar, encouraging overconsumption, affecting absorption or creating a need for the formulation to include a variety of extra ingredients.
Although their candy-like qualities make gummy vitamins popular, from a health and practicality standpoint, capsules are clearly the better choice. For more information about CapsCanada’s flavored capsules and other options, contact us today.