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Are Gummy Vitamins Healthy & Natural to Take?

By Sharon Perkins

Gummy vitamins could hardly qualify as natural in anyone's book, although they do contain vitamins and minerals. If you or your child has difficulty taking vitamins in pill or capsule form, you may consider taking gummy vitamins, but keep them out of reach of your children and stress that these are medicine, not candy.

Gummy vitamins could hardly qualify as natural in anyone's book, although they do contain vitamins and minerals. If you or your child has difficulty taking vitamins in pill or capsule form, you may consider taking gummy vitamins, but keep them out of reach of your children and stress that these are medicine, not candy. Look for sugarless brands to decrease the damage to teeth.

Ingredients

Unlike regular vitamins, gummy vitamins are sold to appeal to your sense of taste and for their visual appeal to kids. While they do contain essential nutrients, they also contain no-so-natural sugars, food coloring and preservatives. Not all gummy vitamins supply a full complement of nutrients, so compare labels carefully. Calcium is bulky, so it's hard to get the recommended dose into a multivitamin; you may still need a separate calcium supplement. Some gummy vitamins require that you take them more than once per day.

Potential Health Issues

Because gummy vitamins contain food coloring and other additives, you could develop an allergic reaction to them. Some brands contain no peanuts, wheat or other common allergens; look for labels that state this to decrease the allergy potential. Sugar in gummy vitamins produce bacteria that turn to acids that can damage tooth enamel within 20 minutes after consumption, "USA Today" quoted pediatric dentist Mary Hayes as saying in September 2007. Take gummy vitamins with food to increase saliva secretion that helps wash off the sugar.

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Caveats

Because gummy vitamins look and taste appealing, kids may see them as candy. You must exercise extreme diligence in keeping gummy vitamins out of your child's reach, especially if they contain iron. Doses of 200 milligrams of iron can kill a small child, the Office of Dietary Supplements warns; some prenatal vitamins contain as much as 30 to 40 milligrams of iron.

Considerations

If you or your child has a poor diet and refuses or has difficulty taking regular vitamins, gummy vitamins may be a way to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake. However, food remains the healthiest and most natural way to get the nutrients you need, says Wendy Slusser, professor of pediatrics of Mattel Children's Hospital at the University of California Los Angeles in the September 2007 issue of "USA Today."

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