Convincing children to take vitamins regularly can be quite a challenge for parents, especially if the children find some vitamins difficult to swallow or dislike the aftertaste of chewable vitamins. One approach to making vitamins more appealing to children was a vitamin gumball marketed as a Vitaball®, which has been discontinued but might still be purchased online or from some retailers. This multi-vitamin supplement, which was manufactured by Amerifit Nutrition, Inc., used a flavored bubblegum base and hard candy shell to help disguise the presence of 11 essential vitamins and other nutrients. Children simply chewed the Vitaball® for 5-10 minutes to release all of the water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins that it contained. The Vitaball® then became a simple piece of bubblegum that is suitable for bubble blowing or chewing pleasure.
The vitamins in a Vitaball® were mostly synthetic forms, and did not include minerals such as iron or zinc. Minerals would not do well in a soft, chewable candy gum. Instead, a Vitaball® contained vitamins A and C, several B-complex vitamins and biotin. The water-soluble vitamins were mixed into the soft gum base, and the fat-soluble vitamins were mixed into the hard outer shell. By chewing the Vitaball® for a sufficient amount of time, all of the water-soluble vitamins were carried into the body through the saliva, and the fat-soluble vitamins soon followed.
To overcome some of the bitterness associated with synthetic vitamins, the manufacturers of Vitaball® used a small amount of artificial and natural sweeteners. These sweeteners did not add significant amounts of calories to the gumballs. They did, however, help mask the sometimes disagreeable aftertaste of chewable vitamins. This product came in four flavors: cherry, grape, watermelon and classic bubblegum.
There were some concerns raised over the use of Vitaballs® on a regular basis. This product resembled a standard bubblegum ball, so some children might have been be tempted to consume more than the recommended daily dosage of one Vitaball®. Some vitamins can become toxic to the body if taken in large quantities, especially fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E. The manufacturer of the Vitaball® suggested that parents should carefully monitor the administering of the vitamin gumballs and should advise older children not to take more than one a day.
The effects of swallowing a Vitaball® also was a concern for some parents. The manufacturer said that a swallowed Vitaball® should not have been cause for alarm, however, because the body should digest the gum naturally. The vitamins might not be fully delivered if the gum was swallowed early, but a dangerous level of vitamin toxicity would require repeated overdoses for months at a time.