What Are Fitness Gummies and Do They Work?
The wide range of dietary supplements for athletes can be overwhelming.
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For the adults who grew up on fruity, chewy ’90s candy, gummy vitamins evoke a particular nostalgia. Yes, the argument goes, adults need to get our essential vitamins—but why can’t we have fun doing it? Trendy companies like Flo, Hum and Olly have capitalized on this nostalgia with millennial-friendly branding, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a supplement company these days that doesn’t offer a gelatin version of their nutrient blends.
This year, many of these companies are diving deeper into the gummy vitamin market with the development of so-called “fitness gummies.” If you’ve seen these adorable nuggets on your Instagram feed, you’ve likely wondered if they’re worth the money, safe or even effective. Consider this your introductory primer.
What Are Fitness Gummies?
The term “fitness gummies” is a sort of umbrella term that lacks one clear, specific definition. That said, they can be generally thought of as a gummy dietary supplement or multivitamin targeted at athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
What Types of Fitness Gummies Are There?
The fitness gummy industry is already relatively diverse, but one can think of gummies as largely designed to perform one of the three following goals:
- Enhancing the healthy function—or “fitness”— of a specific organ
- Enhancing the benefits of already healthy fitness practices, such as exercise
- Enhancing weight loss
Let’s investigate each of these promises below.
Fitness Gummies for Organ Function
These gummies are gaining popularity for their supposedly targeted approach to health and fitness. One specific brand has risen to the fore, named Eye Fitness Gummies, from brand FitEyez. These gummies claim to be “[p]acked with essential eye nutrients,” giving “[a]thletes and sports enthusiasts who rely on their eyes for performance…an edge on [their] competition.”
Fitness Gummies for Workout Benefits
More generally, some vitamin companies such as Olly and Focus advertise fitness gummies as an essential part of sports nutrition. Olly, for example, has released two products, the Pre-Game Energize Gummy Rings and Post-Game Recovery Gummy Rings. According to a press release, the former “boost[s] energy production” and stamina through the inclusion of vitamins B12 and B6 and other plant-based nutrients that support the production of nitric oxide. The Post-Game gummies contain vitamin D and turmeric to supposedly “support muscle strength and recharging.”
Fitness Gummies for Weight Loss
Finally, gummy supplements that supposedly promote weight loss are ever-popular and can fall under the term “fitness gummies.” Popular media outlets, such as Men’s Journal, have advertised the benefits of gummies from major companies such as Goli Nutrition, Hydroxycut, Dietworks and Orphic Nutrition. Each company offers its own blend of purported fat-burning ingredients, including anything from vitamins B9 and B12 to prebiotics to apple cider vinegar.
Do Fitness Gummies Work?
As with many nutritional supplements, experts are skeptical and studies are not strictly conclusive. The traditional advice from the National Institute of Health (NIH) applies here: most people following a diverse, balanced diet will not need fitness gummies. In short, the money that one could spend on nutritional supplements could be redirected towards whole food sources of those nutrients. This can help one reap the benefits of the nutrients as well as of the fiber. Additionally, whole foods are typically lower in sugar and more predictable in their nutrient contents than supplements.
However, some individuals may be good candidates, such as strict vegans or vegetarians, those with known nutrient deficiencies and older or pregnant people. For example, B12 is difficult to obtain on a strict vegan diet, so a fitness gummy with B12 (like Olly’s Pre-Game Energize Gummy Rings) could be helpful. Still, remember to always consult your doctor before making any large dietary changes, including adding a supplement.