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Gummy Vitamins

Gummy Vitamins: Nutrient Booster or Tempting Treat?

By Dr. Dawn McCoy, Coastal Pediatrics

The gummy vitamins on the drugstore shelf look so yummy, it’s no surprise children gravitate to the berry-red bears and lime-green dinosaurs.

They look like a treat that’s also good for you.

But do children really need them?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, healthy children who eat a normal, well-balanced diet do not need to take supplemental vitamins.

Children who might benefit from a multivitamin include those with a chronic disease or food allergy that restricts their diet or children with a growth or iron deficiency. That population is considerably smaller than the estimated number of children who pop gummy vitamins on a regular basis.

Gummy vitamins are tasty and easy-to-swallow, which make them more appealing to children. But, they usually have more sugar, and fewer nutrients, in them than vitamins in chewable tablets.

Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Check with your child’s doctor or a registered dietitian before buying vitamins for your children. Most children don’t need them, and will benefit more from well-balanced meals. Vitamins should never be a substitute for whole foods or to justify a poor diet.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against “mega doses” of vitamins, such as vitamins A, C, or D, because they can cause nausea, rashes, headaches, and other adverse effects.
  • Check the label as gummy vitamins often have more sugar than chewable tablets, and fewer nutrients. Most gummy vitamins don’t have iron, so if your child is anemic, this is not a good choice.
  • Don’t turn gummy vitamins into a treat. Have children take a vitamin with a meal to illustrate that it’s a supplement not a treat. This will also reduce the sugar that stays on their teeth after eating one. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that bacteria feed on sugar – whether it’s from a gummy vitamin or candy – and can produce acid waste, which erodes the tooth to create a cavity.
  • Quality and potency will vary between brands. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not hold supplements to the same standards that drugs must meet before they’re manufactured.

If you’re concerned about your child’s eating habits, or that they may not be getting all the nutrients they need, talk with your pediatrician.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.