Healthy individuals can get most, if not all, of their vitamins from food sources, but for people with vitamin deficiencies and finicky children with inadequate diets, gummy vitamins provide additional nutritional support. Gummy vitamins look and taste like gummy-style candies and come in both sweet and sour varieties. As they provide the same nutrients as traditional chewable vitamins, they can be safely taken daily. However, their close resemblance to gummy candies poses a direct risk of overdose and possible vitamin toxicity.
Vitamin Metabolism and Storage
Vitamins are substances your body needs each day to perform the tasks of daily life, and gummy vitamin supplements ensure you consume an adequate amount of vitamins when the diet might be lacking. Vitamins A, D, E and K are known as fat soluble vitamins. When consumed in excess, the leftovers are stored in fatty tissues, making vitamin toxicity more common. Vitamin C and B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, folate B-6 and B-12 are water soluble, meaning excesses are regularly eliminated through urine, thus reducing the risk of toxicity.
The "Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics" reports that the most common form of vitamin toxicity, or vitamin overdose, associated with taking too many gummy vitamins is vitamin A toxicity. Children over the age of 4 years should consume 400 to 600 micrograms of vitamin A daily. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, which means the body stores any extra vitamin A consumed in fat cells, allowing it to build up easily and remain in the body for long periods of time. Signs of vitamin A toxicity include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, hair loss, skin peeling and bone pain.
The sticky, gooey texture of gummy vitamins enhances their ability to cling to tooth enamel, especially in the grooves of teeth and in between teeth. According to pediatric dentist Mary Hayes, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, bacteria like to feed on the sugars contained in gummy vitamins, and within 20 minutes, the bacteria begin excreting enamel-destroying acid. To mitigate the effects of eating gummy vitamins, timing is crucial. Give gummy vitamins with meals or prior to daily tooth brushing.
To reduce the risk of a child taking too many gummy vitamins, vitamins should be stored out of the reach and sight of any children in the house. Treat vitamins and supplements with the same care you would any household medication. Ensure that child safety lids are properly tightened after each use, and that the bottle is stored on a high shelf.