October Fun Facts

Pharmacy Times, October 2022, Volume 88, Issue 10

Q: Do gummy multivitamins work?

A: For many children, and some adults, nothing screams multivitamin more than gummies, those candylike, colorful, pillowy-soft confections. But gummy candy…er, gummy vitamins, often are so sweet because they are laden with sugar.1

The American Heart Association suggests limiting sugar consumption to 25 grams per day for women and 36 grams per day for men. But gummies can average between 2 and 8 grams of sugar per serving. This could consequently account for up to one-third of the daily recommended sugar intake.1 Children should steer clear of gummies, and try pills or chewable vitamins instead.

In addition, nutritional value might not be high in gummy vitamins.1 To keep them, well, gummy, gummies are not as stable as chewables and dried pills. This results in their efficacy waning before users can get the full dosage indicated on the label.1

Although supplements and vitamins reportedly are a $30-billion-a-year market in the United States, research results published in BMJ Open suggest that the benefits of multivitamins may be a placebo effect.2

Extracting data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, investigators looked at 21,000 multivitamin users and nonusers in the United States. “Multivitamin users self-reported better overall health, despite no apparent differences in clinically measurable health outcomes,” according to the study.2

Although new research points to the benefit of certain mineral and vitamin supplements in specific circumstances, most evidence suggests that healthy individuals will not benefit from multivitamins.2

Q: What alchohol-drug combo was used to treat plague victims in the 1600s?

A: Laudanum. Paracelsus, born Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, was a Swiss philosopher and physician credited as a pioneer of the medical revolution during the Renaissance and a father of toxicology. Paracelsus is also credited with opium use increasing during the 16th century. The physician referred to the drug as the “stone of immortality,” which may have been the impetus for his fine tuning it to develop laudanum.3

Laudanum—coming from “laudare” in Latin, which means “to praise”—was named by Paracelsus in view of his strong feelings toward the drug. Paracelsus said laudanum was “superior to all other heroic remedies.”

References

  1. Do gummy vitamins work as well as traditional vitamins? Cleveland Clinic. May 14, 2021. Accessed August 12, 2022. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/do-gummy-vitamins-work-as-well-as-traditional-vitamins/
  2. Curley B. Multivitamins don’t provide many health benefits, researchers say. Healthline. November 16, 2020. Accessed August 12, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/multivitamins-dont-provide-many-health-benefits-researchers-say
  3. Gussow L. Toxicology rounds. Emergency Medicine News. 2013;35(4):25. doi:10.1097/01.EEM.0000428937.47609.e3