SmartyPants Gummy Vitamins for Adults. Seriously?

SmartyPants Adult MultiVitamin

First there came the gummy bear candy that kids loved so much. Then came the gummy bear multivitamin for kids. And now, a gummy multivitamin for adults. Because, you know, we don’t eat healthy enough.

We’ve been approached several times by the SmartyPants PR firm to write about their product, and recently noticed many esteemed members of the nutrition community write about this product as well. The PR firm is certainly earning its retainer.

So what’s so special about this product?

  • It’s novel – they combined the fun of a gummy bear with the multivitamin content for an adult
  • It’s got all the buzzword nutrients wrapped into one (actually six) gummy droplets – multivitamin, omega 3, and vitamin D
  • No bad ingredients that some other supplements have such as HFCS or artificial colors
  • Gluten free and eco-friendly (omega 3 sourced from sardines, not tuna or salmon)

All the above are great, once you’ve decided to take a multivitamin.

But should you?

Probably not.

You see, nutrients are best absorbed by the body when they come in their natural package – leafy greens, fresh glass of milk, a salmon steak, or fresh berries. The fact that a multivitamin contains over 100% of your daily value of a nutrient does not guarantee your body will absorb those nutrients completely.

So why is the supplement industry raking in billions of dollars in revenue every year? For the same reason the insurance industry is – fear. People are scared that they are not eating healthy, that their bodies are not getting enough ____________ (fill in the blank). A multivitamin is like an insurance policy for my health, you may say.

A daily dose of Smartypants will cost you about one dollar. $7 a week. If you’re a couple – $14 a week. How many more fruits and vegetables can you buy with $14?

 

 

Get Fooducated

  • http://twitter.com/carrieonvegan Carrie

    I would argue against reaching for a glass of milk to get the nutrients that our bodies require. It is possible to get all of the calcium and protein we need from plant foods which is one step closer to nature than drinking the milk of another species. That is, unless you’re a baby and are breast-feeding from your human mother. :)

  • Milky thighs

    -at Carrie- so true. Not to mention all the hormones, antibiotics and whatnot that get flushed into our milk. Ever see a picture of an infected cows udder hooked up to a milking machine??? Not pretty, and painful for the cow too. Try almond milk, soy milk, they even have a quinoa drink that functions more or less like milk.

  • Lauren Talbot

    This is a nice little write up. I think it is beyond fear though– more like laziness or a lack of education about food and absorption of nutrients. We think we can pop a pill and have it replace a healthy diet, because that is what we have been trained to believe by Big Pharma, Big Food, and the ever-growing supplement industry. I love what you said about the body preferring the full package– real food.

  • Courtney Nichols Gould

    Hi, my name is Courtney Nichols Gould and I am one of the cofounders of SmartyPants so I just thought I would share- as we are two people, parents and entrepreneurs who are definitely not from big Pharma. We don’t know all the blogs etc. and we don’t pay for advertising so we do have a PR firm that reaches out to folks who care about the topic.

    We definitely agree, if you find it easy to get 100% of your RDA from fruits, vegetables and fish (for Omega fatty acids, or only ALA if you prefer vegetarian sourced fatty acids) then you should!

    Sadly, the most recent survey of the us population by the USDA Healthy Eating Index found that less than 2% of people of people were getting what they needed every day from food alone (obviously tricky with D3). In addition, the soil is no longer as nutrient dense as it used to be so you are getting much less from spinach today than you were 20 years ago.

    Nothing would make me happier for there to be a better solution. Truly. We started this company because even though all of us would prefer this, we live in a world where kids aren’t always with us, we travel for work and are frankly so exhausted some days that meeting 100% of needs through our diet is tough. And we aren’t for those folks that are able to cook and prepare meals consistently every day for everyone in the family to meet those requirements. I admire them. I wish I could be them. But we aren’t despite our best intentions. And many of our friends who have lots of resources aren’t either. So we decided to try to make the only all in one that included a full multi + D + omega’s from eco friendly and organic ingredients made in a GMP certified facility here in California. We test every single batch and our whole family takes them every day. We use b12 from methyl not cyanocabalamin. We use natural mixed carotenoids for our Vitamin E. We use retinyl palmitate not beta carotene for our A because beta carotene is a risk factor that has been shown to increase risk of lung cancer in someone who has smoked.

    We took each ingredient seriously. We work with some of the top minds in preventative health because we are doing this not to line our pockets (neither my husband nor I have taken salary in the 4 years since we started the business) but because we truly saw a gap- for those of us who do need some help with gaps in our diets and who can’t afford a complicated single nutrient regimen. Our goal is to help more people just cover the baseline for nutrients that are tough to get from food safely (so we don’t include calcium for instance, as it inhibits the absorption of other nutrients and is readily available).

    I really appreciate you taking the time to look the product over. and I am always happy to hear comments. My email is courtney@smartyPantscorp.com
    All my best,
    Courtney Nichols Gould
    CoFounder/CoCEO
    SmartyPants Inc.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Courtney, thanks for taking the time to share your story and vision. Do you know what the bioavailability is of the nutrients in your gummies? Are our bodies actually able to metabolize all these nutrients when they are not surrounded by an apple, banana, or orange?

      • courtney nichols gould

        Here is what we know: that the nutrients as they are presented here are in the most bio available form available (and in some cases, science has done a good job-retiyl palmitate is an example) and we eliminated nutrients we know that can inhibit absorption (like Calcium).

        I would love to get one of the nutritionists or physicians who know more than I do to answer your questions (email me!). Everyone agrees that whole foods are the best source but physicians who see deficiencies in certain areas recommend supplements for a reason- they can work IF taken consistently, in the right form and according to directions (so compliance issues create much of the “expensive pee” complaint-some supplements must be taken alone, some with food, some without food, some 30 minutes before etc. so, in fact, they don’t work because precise instructions aren’t followed- because we are human).

        I will tell you that the only longitudinal study that used physicians as patients (because they had a better shot at compliance) that specifically studies multivitamins (as opposed to many of the headline grabbing stories that use corollary not causal relationships to draw faulty conclusions) demonstrated a small but statistically significant improvement in lowering rates of cancer (but NOT cardiovascular disease) from use of a broad spectrum multivitamin including D3. NOTE: the subjects were all men.

        We added Omega’s because as long as you use fish oil (and this would be the problem with the processed veggie ALA, in fact it is now separated from its original form and does not contain the EPA/DHA ratio your body wants- 3:2 by the way).

        My number one recommendation: get blood work. Invest the $200 and find out what your specific needs are and address those-because if you have deficiencies then either the diet needs to change or supplements may be worthwhile. And the $200 will seem affordable compared to the cost of chronic illness. That’s what Gordon and I did about 4 years ago. I found out I was deficient in D (despite morning runs on the beach) and B12 deficient.

        There is no perfect solution. But there are things that help. And one last note, fiber is another area SO many people are deficient in. 25-35g of dietary fiber a day for women has been shown to be a fantastic ounce of prevention against breast cancer and cardiovascular disease (#1 killer of women). The american diet is woefully low on fiber so no matter where you get it, I urge everyone to get more fiber in your diet (i take our all in one for weight management every day which has 6g of soluble fiber/serving + 2 scoops of FiberMend from Thorne in my shake every morning). Thanks so much for talking about this stuff. People are overwhelmed and confused. It should not be this hard to be healthy!!! I must now go get my 7 hours before we get up for school. :)

        • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

          Again thanks for the detailed info. regarding fiber: read Michael Pollan’s piece in the NY Times Magazine this from this weekend, about the gut microbiome, and why fiber supplements are problematic –

          “Fiber is not a single nutrient…which is why fiber supplements are no magic bullet. There are hundreds of different polysaccharides — complex carbohydrates, including fiber — in plants, and different microbes like to chomp on different ones. To boost fiber, the food industry added lots of a polysaccharide called inulin to hundreds of products, but that’s just one kind (often derived from the chicory-plant root) and so may only favor a limited number of microbes. I was hearing instead an argument for a variety of whole grains and a diverse diet of plants and vegetables as well as fruits. The safest way to increase your microbial biodiversity is to eat a variety of polysaccharides…”

          http://blog.fooducate.com/2013/05/20/how-to-manage-100-trillion-bacteria-in-your-gut/

          • courtney nichols gould

            Yep, again, I love Michael Pollan and totally agree with his approach and yet most people that I know are not able to follow his advice consistently. I am hopeful someday we all will, but until that day, we hope that moving the needle so that someone is getting some benefit instead of none at all. We don’t propose them as replacements but inulin is well proven to have benefits, not as good as eating all that fiber in whole foods but better than not getting it at all or getting a v. small amount from your diet. Running 5 for 15 minutes 3x a week, isnt as good as running for 6 days a week, but its better than zero days- those are the folks (and sadly the vast majority) that we are trying to help. We give a great deal of money despite our size to both micronutrient donation program and also to food education promoting just these kinds of things (there is no silver bullet) in conjunction with Yale University’s Center for Preventative Medicine. Thanks for all the conversation and would be happy to be in the hot seat anytime, if you would like to discuss further!

    • Dawn – Naturally Texan

      I asked in a form on your website but will you be seeking Non GMO certification? and I’m interested in reviewing your products for my blog but only if its GMO free. the soy source for the vitamin concerns me too. why not get Sunflower seed like Purely E supplements have?

      I am excited by your products and unlike this post I believe we all need help of a quality whole food multivitamin. even eating an ideal whole food diet the soil quality is so poor in the USA and other parts of the world that our fruits, veggies and animal products aren’t comprised of the ideal vitamin and mineral levels they should be. ask any pasture raising farmer and read the articles on Soil and Health’s website.

      I also think its fantastic you give away vitamins to kids in need.

      Dawn

  • http://www.bestsimplediets.com/ Brian

    The body needs real food plain and simple. Did our ancestors pop vitamin pills?

  • Amy

    These vitamins are a godsend. I have trouble with my stomach valve and vitamins were just sitting in my stomach. Not a good feeling. The vitamins are soft and dissolve easily. Thank you!!!