Well, they are good. Tasty, that is. Have you tried them? They literally are vitamin fortified candy and are delicious. Kids and adults both love them. They are a phenomenon and come in many variations.
Unfortunately, what’s popular is not always what’s best. If you compare a gummy vitamin to a more traditional children’s chewable you will quickly learn that the vitamin content is much less in the gummy form. The content is both lower in the number of different vitamins included and less in the amount of most vitamins. There are variations between types, but the gummy delivery system limits what and how much can be included. Additionally, there are only a select few that include much, if any iron. Iron is an important mineral for children and is one of the few vitamins in which many children are actually deficient.
So, what to do?
1) Does your child really need a vitamin supplement at all? If you have an extremely picky eater or don’t have the resources to provide a wide variety of foods from all food groups including fruits, veggies, and beans over a 1-2 week period your child might benefit from a multi-vitamin supplement. See also Dr. Berchelmann’s post on “Vitamin Wars”.
2) Compare ingredients between a chewable tablet and the gummy forms available in your local store. Chewable tablets are likely to be more “complete” then the gummy options.
3) More is not better. Do not give more then the recommended dose for your child’s age. Also, super vitamins with much more the recommended 100% daily value can cause more harm then good including kidney stones and other health problems.
4) Treat all vitamins like medicine. They should have childproof caps and be locked away. Overdoses can be harmful especially with things like iron. Gummy vitamins, which are so close to candy, are easily consumed in large amounts if the opportunity presents itself to your child.
5) Most all children’s vitamins contain sugar in one form or another and should be given with a meal and teeth should be brushed afterward.
Remember the best way to get good nutrition is to eat a healthy diet of unprocessed foods including lean meats, fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and beans. Bottled vitamins are a supplement to that and not a replacement. Children learn from their caregivers. If you eat a healthy nutritious diet and that is what your child is offered consistently, eventually they will as well.