The word ‘gummies’, for many of us, is reminiscent of candies we used to devour as kids. But the chewable candies have now undergone a ‘healthy’ makeover and are today known to help manage various issues — from digestive troubles and hair fall, to certain nutritional deficiencies as well.
Gummies, a part of the nutraceuticals industry, are said to be an alternative for people either tired of swallowing pills or those who find it uncomfortable to swallow medicines. In fact, these “vegan, gelatin-free, zero-sugar, zero-pesticides with no artificial colour supplements” have been projected to be a must-have for health, and are, therefore, easily available as over-the-counter products.
In fact, according to a 2017 report from the US research-based organisation AARP, ‘pill fatigue’ is one-factor driving grownups toward gummies. If you have to take multiple supplements every day—and especially if you have problems swallowing capsules or tablets—gummies can make that chore easier (and tastier).
But, before you choose to incorporate these candy-like supplements in your diet, here’s what to consider.
What exactly are gummies?
With a soft texture like that of marshmallows, gummies come in a variety of flavours, colours, and shapes. Gummy vitamins are commonly made from corn starch, water, sugar, and added colourings and include flavours like raspberry, lemon, cherry, and orange.
Industry experts say they contain few or some essential multivitamins including vitamin A, B, C, D, E, biotin, iron, zinc, collagen and Hyaluronic acid, and folic acid. While biotin helps promote hair and nail growth, vitamin B helps reduce stress between the age group of 18-40 years. Vitamin C helps absorb iron, while vitamin D is needed for a host of bodily functions. Folic acid keeps red blood cells healthy.
“Nutraceuticals like gummies are usual vitamins and proteins transformed into edible gummies that are gluten-free and vegan and such innovation are attracting huge demand. We are quite optimistic about this segment that is all set to witness massive innovations in the coming months and would continue to stay invested in such preventive health products,” Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, co-founder, 9Unicorns, said in a statement
How do gummies help?
Gummies are said to treat nutritional deficiencies for preventive healthcare which “can cure any resulting health conditions tending to arise with those deficiencies”. “Gummies have been significantly helping with regular multi-vitamins, entering into lifestyle supplements, specialised care beauty, and wellness, immunity, sleep, digestion, detox, and children’s calcium needs. Beauty and care include gummies for hair growth, nail health, and skin-brightening too,” said Divij Bajaj, CEO and founder, Power Gummies which offer gummies for hair, nails, and weight.
“There are also pure and unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV) gummies that contains essential bacteria. Intake of such gummies helps improve digestion, reduces gas, and bloating problems, appetite control, and weight loss and balances the pH levels of body,” said Nihaal Mariwala, founder and CEO, Setu India which offers a range of ACV based gummies including weight loss, detox, and immunity.
Now, they are also available for children’s digestive issues including constipation, and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) in women. “Gummies help in combating lifestyle issues like hair health, skin health, weight management, sleep management, gut health and recently they are being used for promoting hormonal balance and concerns like PMS, which is faced by majority of the women around the globe. PMS relief gummies helps in managing period cramps and mood swings along with boosting relaxation,” said Ackshay Jain, co-founder, The Healthy Company which offers PMS relief gummies.
Can they be termed as ‘medicines’?
Gummy vitamins “are not at all medicines”. “Instead, these are healthy supplements made with natural ingredients and flavours that help improve gut health,” mentioned Jain.
Industry watchers are of the opinion that the demand is owing to the taste, interest, durability, convenience, water retention, weather adaptability, composition and effectiveness of such products. “People like to eat and prefer taste over taking pills during these stressful times and confined in their fixed spaces, the taste gravitates them to gummies for a stress-busting chew in the day,” mentioned Bajaj.
Nutraceuticals come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, gummies, powder, bars, energy shots.
Agreed, Dr Saurabh Shah, dermatologist, Bhatia Hospital, who said gummies are just nutritional supplements, but should not be compared with medicines. “They don’t come under medicines and are generally not prescribed by the doctors. These gummies do not meet the required nutritional supplements as compared to normal medicines. They are found in a chewable and tasty form and are a new fad these days. It is just add-on nutrition. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that these gummies contribute much to your hair growth and skin health,” he said.
Who is it for, and how much to have?
While new variants like Duphalac Bears are touted as a mild laxative to cure chronic constipation in children aged below 14 years, there are others available for adults. “They aim for a healthy gut and better digestion. These also aid in weight management, detoxification of the body and appetite control. These should be consumed by adults, one gummy daily before breakfast or lunch,” mentioned Nihaal Mariwala, founder and CEO, Setu India which offers a range of gummies including weight loss, detox, and immunity.
But, are they good for dental health?
A Healthline article states that while the added sugar in gummy vitamins may not seem like a large amount, it can contribute to excessive sugar consumption — especially if you take more than one gummy vitamin per day and eat other foods with added sugars.
Just like candies, they contain sugar which means the dosage needs to be monitored for health including dental. “Gummies are like candies, just more healthy so they don’t require a prescription but consulting a doctor won’t do any harm too,” mentioned Jain while stating that they are easier to overeat.