What’s the Deal With Gummy Vitamins and Should I Be Taking Them?

Vitamin Gummies

It’s 11:13 am and I have consumed 5 Smarty Pants gummy vitamins and two from the brand 8Green. The Smarty Pants gummies have either tricked me into thinking I am now adequately protected against whatever it is a woman’s multivitamin is supposed to protect me from or they have actually done it. (I’ve got clarity, I’ve got e-n-e-r-g-y and let me tell you, I feel strong.) The 8Green gummies, which are packed with “the equivalent of 15 cups of broccoli” and also contain spinach, kale, wheatgrass, blue green algae, spirulina, chlorella, and aloe vera, promise to satisfy my greens-consumption quota for the day. They taste like sour sticks, so it is basically Christmas in my mouth every time I’m graced with the privilege of chewing.

I’m going to eat lunch soon, then want something sweet, probably because I’m coming down with a cold–so instead of a chocolate cube, I’ll have three Airbornes. Later, I’m going to get a coffee, realize I did not need the afternoon caffeine, have a terrible time focusing and thus I’ll want to help myself to, like, a twin set of Lord Jones mango-flavored CBD gummies. They chilllllllll me outttt. By the time this has all happened, I will realize that the day has gone, I’ve had 12 gummies, my sugar levels have spiked and now I’m too wired to fall asleep. Not to worry, though! The emergency container of sleep gummies in my bathroom has never not worked when I’ve needed it, so you can make today’s total gummy count 14.

This portrait of a regular day in the life of a woman who will do (taste) many things to justify sugar intake prompts my asking three key questions, the first of which being: when the hell did we replace regular vitamins with gummy bears? While the direct-to-consumer market continues to explode in the supplement space (see: Needed, Ritual, Goop et al) a sneaky genus of healthy addendum has effectively taken over. In 2017, Nutrition Business Journal estimated that gummies made up 65% of the entire market. The following year, the market’s revenue grew, like, 30%, and as of last week, a market study on the gummy vitamins has been added to Research and Markets (~apparently~ a big deal) that suggests pretty rapid growth over the next five years. This basically answers my next question–no, we have not reached peak gummy, but we are headed toward a storm that only Barney could have predicted.

And oh what a rain it will be!

Anecdotally, I have found myself the benevolent, repeat-customer to brands such as Olly, Smarty Pants, and Garden of Life. A speed search through Amazon has also caused me to become interested in Solimo–for when fish oil is just too fishy, Goli–for people, I guess, who take apple cider vinegar pills and Mary Ruth’s biotin gummies, for stronger nails! And longer hair! And stuff. (To be clear, I have tried none of these.)

One thing I forgot to mention is that all of these gummies–they’re not varietals of Flinestone-shaped pills. They’re not meant to trick your kids, or protect them from a capsule. They’re being consumed by adults, like me, who seem to feel better about saying they’re having vitamins post-lunch in lieu of, I don’t know, a box of Mike & Ikes. That I took no vitamins at all before I was turned on to the gummies seems to make their case, at least in my, uh, case, but I know the product is a moot point. Some say they work, some say they’re garbage. It’s hard to ascertain whether they’re actually paying off (though I’ll say that I don’t get sick often, even with twin toddlers, and I’d like to think it’s because every time the feathered tip of a cold tickles my throat, I pop a trio of Airborne like they’re Mentos and wham bam thank you ma’am, for the updated “freshmaker”) but maybe I should be asking what is so hard about taking a regular vitamin. What, according to the data is so hard about a booming market’s worth of adults taking regular vitamins. Maybe we’re addicted to sugar or maybe, just maybe, we are still refusing to grow up.

I can’t be sure, are you?

Photos by Jessica PettwayProp Styling by Sara Schipani.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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