by Rob Hughes
Gummy supplements are more popular than ever, and it’s easy to see why. A chewy gummy vitamin presents an enticing option for most folks, and especially youngsters. But gummies aren’t just for kids anymore. Today, kids and adults alike enjoy gummies as a colorful alternative to traditional vitamins. With gummy supplements popping up just about everywhere, it’s a good idea to learn a little about what goes into making them, and what to look for when choosing nutrients in gummy form.
When I was a child, I loved taking my vitamins. Not because I knew they were good for me, but because they were shaped like familiar cartoon characters. Plus, they tasted great. For all I knew, I could have been eating candy. And it’s a safe bet that’s what my parents wanted me to think. But ultimately, I got something nutritious that I genuinely looked forward to eating.
To be effective, supplements must be taken on a regular basis. Unfortunately, sticking with a routine of taking a pill, or multiple pills, day after day can be difficult. This is where gummies have a big advantage over traditional vitamins. By packing essential nutrients into tasty bites that are fun to eat, gummies make it easier for many people to remember to take their daily supplements, and to even look forward to it.
With their fun shapes and rainbow colors, it isn’t surprising that the first gummy vitamins were made for kids. But gummies have grown up. Thanks to advances in both manufacturing and ingredient research, there are now a multitude of gummies formulated specifically for adults. Multivitamins and vitamin C were among the first nutrients to go gummy. Today, a growing number of more specialized nutrients including melatonin, curcumin, Coenzyme Q10, probiotics, and omega-3 fish oil can be found in gummy form. Now folks of virtually all ages, and with varying nutritional needs, can indulge their inner child with gummy supplements.
It’s no secret that the market for gummies is growing. There are many reasons why gummy supplements are so popular. For starters, gummies need to be chewed, which creates a more interactive and pleasant experience than gulping down a pill. Chewing also gives us a head start towards digestion, which can help improve the absorption and effectiveness of the gummies’ nutritious ingredients. Gummies’ chewiness in itself can be enough to convert customers young and old. Even folks who don’t mind large vitamins reach for gummies to combat “pill fatigue”.
Easy to Eat, Not to Make
Ironically, gummy supplements that are designed to be easy to take aren’t particularly easy to make. You can’t simply pack a standard gummy bear with vitamins. Precise planning is required to balance multiple factors when producing a gummy that combines great taste, pleasant texture, and a meaningful amount of beneficial nutrients.
Many supplement companies work with candy factories to make gummy manufacturing easier and more cost effective, as large-scale candy factories have equipment designed to pump out gummies in huge quantities. But industrial candy-making equipment isn’t designed to handle ingredients delicately enough to protect fragile nutrients from degradation during the manufacturing process. Extreme temperature fluctuations, variations in acidity, and other factors that are normal in traditional candy making can wreak havoc on nutrients, resulting in gummies with lackluster nutritional value. To overcome such issues, Nordic Naturals uses their own customized facility to craft gummy supplements in small-scale batches. The specialized equipment allows technicians to adjust key stages of the production process to maximize the efficacy of nutritional ingredients in the gummies.
Two of the most attractive features of gummy supplements are great taste and chewy texture; however, most nutrients don’t taste very good. This presents a challenge when you want to make gummies that include an effective amount of nutrients. Plus, adding nutrients can change the chemistry of a gummy, lead to coagulation issues, and adversely affect their chewy texture.
It’s no small task to create a gummy supplement that is nutritious, tasty, and chewy all at the same time. By taking a small-batch approach in their dedicated gummy facility, Nordic Naturals can customize the manufacturing process to optimize every aspect of the process. This involves controlling multiple factors with a high level of precision to consistently produce gummies that balance taste, texture, and meaningful amounts of nutrients in every bite.
What to Look for in a Gummy
- Non-GMO verified
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Low or zero sugar
- Third-party tested for purity and potency
Although they may look like sweets, gummy vitamins should not be confused with their candy counterparts. Let’s not forget that gummy vitamins are, in fact, vitamins, and as with any supplement, too much of a good thing is not good for you—gummies are no exception. At Nordic Naturals, several considerations are made when deciding what goes into a gummy, and what doesn’t: the specific nutritional content, and the suggested serving size of these unique delivery forms.
With so many options available, it’s really important to know what to look for when choosing a gummy supplement. Those bright colors and tasty flavors are certainly enticing, but beware of gummies that include unhealthy artificial colorings and flavorings—many do. Instead, opt for gummies with natural flavors and colors derived from fruits and vegetables. And consider seeking out non-GMO gummies if you don’t find genetically modified foods appealing.
Many gummy supplements contain gelatin, which is derived from animal sources. But there are many vegetarian gummy vitamins available that are made with pectin, a plant-based carbohydrate found in fruits and vegetables. Soft and supple, pectin-based gummies are more heat tolerant than gelatin-based gummies, which helps them remain stable in hot conditions, and prevents melting.
Then there’s sugar. Granted, the amounts of sugar in most gummy vitamins are modest, typically just one or two grams. But it’s still an important factor to keep in mind, especially with children. Luckily, delicious, zero-sugar options are starting to appear on store shelves (Nordic Naturals just introduced Melatonin Gummies and Curcumin Gummies, two new zero-sugar formulas for adults). If sugar is unavoidable, seek out gummies that use organic sugar instead of excessively processed high-fructose corn syrup.
Vitamins and supplements can help just about everybody get the nutrients they need to live healthy lives, but there’s no reason those supplements should all look or taste the same. Next time you stock up on supplements for your household, consider gummies as a fun, nutritious alternative. The kid in you deserves it.
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