lI've noticed a fascinating trend in my hair clinic over the last decade: patients are increasingly consuming their multi vitamins by eating them in the form of 'gummies.' They love the taste and find them easy to take. Not a day goes by where a bottle of gummies does not emerge from a bag to be placed on my desk.
The multivitamin industry is estimated to be a 7 billion dollar industry in the US alone; gummy multivitamins account for about 8 % of this industry. According to some estimates, there has been a 25 % increase in gummy sales in the past 3 years. Worldwide, gummy vitamin sales ares expected to increase from its present 2.7 billion dollar estimate to 4.2 billion by 2025. North Americans are chomping on the gummies at the highest rates with Europe in second place.
Gummy multivitamins are now produced in a variety of shapes and flavours. Gummy bears and gummy fruits are popular. For those who don't want the extra sugar that many gummy multivitamins contain, there are now sugar free versions.
My views on multivitamins are simple: if one is deficient in a particular vitamin or mineral, it makes sense to replenish it. Getting vitamins through foods (i.e. fruits and vegetables) remains a far better option that through vitamins. If this is not an option, or foods do not seem to restore levels, one can consider multivitamins. Multivitamins may be particular important for certain subpopulations - including the elderly, alcoholics, patients undergoing bariatric surgery and women taking oral contraceptives. Many patients however require a different mix of vitamins and minerals and a one fits all approach may not work.
I am willing to admit that there may be some evidence that supplementation of certain compounds could be beneficial for some patients even if one is not deficient. Examples of this later category include amino acids like L-lysine and cysteine although more research is needed. Overdosing on vitamins is common and could have negative effects on the body and hair. High levels of vitamin A are well understood to cause hair loss.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887