GEM Vitamins Review: A Multivitamin Alternative

By | July 21, 2022

Sometimes, swallowing a vitamin pill feels like such a chore — which is only compounded if you’re also taking a probiotic, and a vitamin D softgel, and a… you get the idea. Not to mention, they can sometimes make you feel a little nauseous.

But GEM is here with a solution for all that. They make chewable, food-based vitamins that provide some of the basics (like vitamin D and magnesium) along with some extras (like probiotics and ashwagandha).

Pros and cons at a glance

Pros of GEM vitamins

  • Food-based and full of nutrient-dense ingredients
  • Contains probiotics and phytochemicals
  • May be easier to digest and more convenient than vitamin pills
  • Offers Daily Essential as a multivitamin replacement and Sleep Essential for sleep support

Cons of GEM vitamins

  • Way more expensive than most multivitamins
  • Some reviewers say the taste and texture aren’t great

Want to know more? Let’s hit the GEM.

GEM vitamins
Courtesy of GEM

GEM vitamins facts

Let’s run down some essential details about GEM vitamins.

What are they?

GEM vitamins are the vitamins to take if you don’t like vitamins. See, they’re actually totally food based — so much so that they’re classified as a food rather than a dietary supplement. (How can you tell? They have a Nutrition Facts label, rather than a Supplement Facts label.)

They are small bites made out of real foods and nutrient dense ingredients. They provide an easy-to-ingest dose of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants.

GEM vitamins are made in the US, however, they actually don’t have any certifications that you may expect from a typical vitamin because they aren’t technically a dietary supplement.

How much do they cost?

GEM vitamins cost $60 for a 30-day supply. GEM operates as a subscription service, so you’ll receive a monthly shipment of your GEM vitamins until you cancel or pause your subscription. Shipping is free.

Who are they for?

GEM vitamins are designed for adult women who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding, but they say that they have plenty of male customers too (with the caveat that GEM may be missing some nutrients that men need more of every day, like zinc).

It’s a particularly good fit for people who dislike regular vitamins, or who get an upset stomach when taking them. Because GEM is made from whole food ingredients, it may be a bit easier to digest than some supplements.

Types of GEM vitamin products and reviews

GEM offers two base products: Daily Essentials and Sleep Essentials.

Daily Essentials

Daily Essentials is GEM’s take on a multivitamin. It comes in three regular flavors (cacao, lemon, and peppermint) and seasonal citrus ginger.

Each bite provides:

  • Vitamin D: 100% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Biotin: 100% of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 70% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid: 50% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 40% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 35% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 50% of the DV
  • Niacin: 35% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 30% of the DV
  • Folate: 30% of the DV
  • Iron: 10% of the DV
  • Potassium: 2% of the DV

In addition, each bite contains some additional potentially helpful ingredients, like:

  • Spirulina: Spirulina is an algae that serves as a good source of plant-based vitamin B12 (s/o to all the vegans in the house), as well as several other vitamins and minerals.
  • Chlorella: Another algae, chlorella contains some amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids and potentially offers some antioxidant benefits too.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that can colonize in your large intestine. These bacteria can help optimize your digestion, immune health, and brain function.
  • Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb that may provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It’s also considered an adaptogen, because it may help you *adapt* better to stress and feel more relaxed and energetic.
  • Curry tree leaf extract: Curry leaf extract has some antioxidant properties that may help to prevent free radical damage to your cells. Forget “good for the soul,” it’s good for the cells.
  • Vitamin K2: Vitamin K2 is a type of vitamin K often found in fermented foods and cheese. It may help improve bone health and reduce inflammation.
  • Astaxanthin: Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, a type of antioxidant found in red and orange produce. It has some potential anti-inflammatory and immune strengthening effects. And it kinda sounds like it could be a villain in Sailor Moon, tbh.

Reviewers say that the taste and texture can be… a challenge, but many note that they got used to it after a while. Most customers also say that they prefer either the citrus ginger, cacao, or lemon flavor. No peppermint stans here.

Several reviewers report feeling more energetic after being consistent with GEMs, while others say they didn’t really feel much of a difference.

Sleep Essentials

The Sleep Essentials GEM is designed to help whisk you sweetly off to dreamland. It’s available in one flavor: chocolate cherry. (YUM!)

It contains:

There are lots of great reviews about the taste of the Sleep Essentials, and several reviewers even said that it’s like a tiny, portion-controlled dessert. Many reviewers also say that these bites really do help them to fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.

Our review of GEM supplements

Our Editor-in-Chief, Rita Mauceri, tried GEM supplements for 30 days. Here’s her review.

I eat a fairly healthy diet and devour tons of fresh veggies daily because I truly love them. So typically I don’t feel the need to load up on extra supplements. The daily essentials I do take — as recommended by my doc — are calcium, vitamin D, and B12. I also take biotin to keep my hair and nails healthy.

I decided to try GEM after seeing their ads pop up repeatedly in my social media feeds. TBH, I was initially sucked in by the cool marketing and the idea of an edible supplement. After doing some research on their site, I was impressed by GEM’s mashup of ingredients that includes adaptogens, probiotics, and vitamins. A single GEM bite offers 100% of the recommended Daily Value for two of my staples (vitamin D and B12) and 70% of the DV for a third staple, biotin — so technically could replace 3 of the 4 pills I was taking every morning.

Despite the rather hefty price, I was intrigued enough to give GEM a try.

The product: I ordered the citrus-ginger flavor. None of the others were really candidates. This one sounded like something I’d actually want to nibble on every day, and I’m a sucker for ginger.

The unboxing: The packaging was impressive and opening my GEM delivery was downright fun. The presentation is simple and modern — from the colors and sleek metal tins (full-size and travel size), to the inspirational message imprinted on the enclosed card: “You are your greatest curiosity.”

The taste test: The first time I tasted GEM citrus-ginger, my impressions were all good. It was very flavorful, a tad spicy thanks to the ginger, and tasted like “real food.” There was a bit of an aftertaste — but not unpleasant — so I drank a glass of water right after.

The timing: I ate one GEM every morning for 30 days. I didn’t change up anything else in my daily routine during this time.

The results: The two main things I noticed during my month-long trial of GEM supplements was a difference in my gut and a lower stress level. I’m a big coffee drinker and any acidic response my stomach might sometimes have to my morning joe was gone. My stomach felt incredibly calm and less inclined to bloating or irritability based on certain foods. As for my stress level, I noticed I felt less agitated or anxious in response to normal, mild triggers (kids, workload, etc.).

The verdict:

I liked GEM. Here’s what appealed to me the most:

  • The form. I don’t hate taking pills as long as they’re very small – but I don’t love it either, especially when I’m downing 4-5 a day. The fact that GEM is an edible, all-in-one supplement was one of the strongest selling points for me.
  • The taste. Reviews are mixed on this, but I loved the taste. I actually looked forward to my morning GEM!
  • The impact on my gut. Having a consistently calm, happy gut was really nice, especially since certain foods (like onions) can set off my stomach.
  • The stress reduction. I chalk this up to the ashwagandha in GEM, and anything that reduces my stress is a winner.
  • The subscription model. For busy peeps (and who isn’t these days?), the subscription model allows you to not think about reloading your supplement supply every month. It’s super easy and hassle-free.
  • The travel tin. I went on a trip and used the smaller tin which held a week’s worth of GEMs. It was an added bonus but one I really found useful.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

  • The price. This is an often-mentioned downside of GEM in customer reviews, and I would concur that the price tag feels high. Essentially, the monthly cost breaks down to almost $2 per GEM bite. While that’s cheaper than a Starbucks coffee, it’s way pricier than the per-unit cost of my Trader Joe’s or Amazon supplements.
  • The small selection of items.  GEM offers just a few products, so there aren’t a lot of options to cater to different needs or wellness goals.

My ultimate takeaway: I will probably continue my GEM subscription for now — although if I’m looking to reduce my monthly spend at some point, this would be one thing I’d cut. I felt some positive results, but I’m not sure they wowed me enough to justify the cost, so down the road, I might be tempted to go back to my cheaper lineup of pills. I will definitely keep an eye on the brand. If they expand their line of products, I’d try something else.

GEM vitamin company policies and reputation

GEM is a subscription service, so when you place your first order you’re agreeing to recurring monthly shipments. They make it really easy to cancel or pause your subscription online, though.

Shipping is free, and you purchase optional shipping insurance through Route. GEM is currently only available in the U.S.

Unfortunately, GEM doesn’t offer any kind of money-back or satisfaction guarantee — so if you dislike the vitamins you won’t have a way to get your money back.

There are very few negative reviews regarding GEM online, but most of them are about their subscription model. Of note, it looks like GEM has responded to every complaint with attempts to resolve the issue.

Do GEM vitamins really work?

Well, the difficult thing about vitamins is that you may not feel this amazing, magical difference from taking them. (Bummer, we know.)

However, GEM can help to fill the nutrient gaps in your existing diet, and you may notice some mental, immune, or digestive benefits from the other ingredients in Daily Essentials like ashwagandha and probiotics.

Additionally, the Sleep Essentials may help promote better sleep thanks to some of its snooze-inducing ingredients — but YMMV.

Only you can decide if the benefits from GEM vitamins are worth their (admittedly, extremely high) price.

Where to buy GEM vitamins and how to use them safely

You can purchase GEM vitamins online at the GEM website. It doesn’t look like they’re available through any other online retailer atm.

Note: when you purchase GEMs, you’re agreeing to receive a monthly shipment. So, be prepared to cancel if needed before your next ship date if you don’t want to keep getting mail-order GEMs.

According to GEM, your Daily Essential can be taken in the morning or in the afternoon.

If you’re prone to getting nauseous after taking supplements, you may want to take your GEM with food. Although it’s food-based, it’s still a highly concentrated little bite that may be difficult on your stomach taken all by itself.

You should take your Sleep Essential one hour before bed, so that the ingredients have time to kick in before you lay down.

How to use them safely

GEM states that you shouldn’t take more than three pieces per day because of the amount of nutrients they provide.

Otherwise, GEM vitamins are safe for most people. They are gluten, soy and dairy-free and suitable for people on a vegan diet. However, it’s mentioned on the product website that it’s processed in a facility that also processes allergens like nut and wheat, so there’s the possibility of cross contamination.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should talk to your doctor before you take them. FYI, these bites are NOT a suitable alternative to a prenatal vitamin.

Additionally, since these vite bites are made with various real food ingredients, you should carefully review the label for ingredients you may be allergic or sensitive to.

And if you have any concerns, be sure to have a chat with your healthcare provider before you start taking them.

Other options: GEM vitamins vs. competitors

Here’s how GEM measures up against some of its main competitors in the multivitamin arena:

Vitamin GEM Daily Essential Ritual Multivitamin Care/of Vitamin Packs Seed Probiotic DS-01 Athletic Greens AG1
Price $60 for 30 days $30-35 for 30 days Varies for 30 days $49.99 for 30 days $99 for 30 days
Form Chewable bite Capsule Capsule and/or tablet Capsule Powder
Purpose Multivitamin, probiotic, herbal supplement Multivitamin Multivitamin, probiotic, herbal supplement (depending on products in your pack) Probiotic Multivitamin, probiotic, herbal supplement
Subscription required? Yes No Yes Yes No
FDA classification Food Supplement Supplement Supplement Supplement
Daily dose 1 piece 2 capsules 1 pack (normally contains 4-7 pills) 2 capsules 1 scoop in 8 ounces of water

Frequently asked questions about GEM vitamins:

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Is GEM really good for you?

Yes, GEM vitamins are pretty nutritious — especially considering that they’re so tiny. Unless you have allergies or sensitivities to some of the ingredients in GEM vitamins, they can be used to offer a little extra nutrition boost.

Are GEM vitamins FDA approved?

GEM vitamins are regulated as a food, rather than a supplement. Because they are made from food ingredients that are all Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, the product itself actually isn’t required to attain FDA approval. However, it’s still subject to regulation by and audits from the FDA.

Is GEM a good product?

This is totally subjective, but we can say that GEM has excellent reviews, provides a concentrated dose of food-based nutrients and phytochemicals, and is made with high-quality ingredients. However, at $60 per month it’s pretty steeply priced.

What is in GEM vitamins?

GEM vitamins are made with whole food ingredients like dates, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, oats, vanilla, and pink sea salt. Depending on the flavor and if you chose a Daily Essential or a Sleep Essential, your GEM will contain added herbs or extracts, probiotics, and whole food flavor ingredients (like Montmorency cherry in the chocolate cherry Sleep Essential).

What do GEM vitamins taste like?

GEM Daily Essentials are available in four flavors (lemon, cacao, citrus ginger, and peppermint) and the Sleep Essential is available in chocolate cherry.

They are sweetened with dates, and their flavors come from real food ingredients (ex, cocoa powder in the cacao-flavored Daily Essential).

Are GEM vitamins organic?

GEM vitamins contain some organic ingredients, but they’re not completely organic.

Takeaway

GEMs are real food alternatives to conventional multivitamins that contain a base of whole food ingredients alongside probiotics and herbal ingredients. They deliver a nutrient and antioxidant boost in a convenient chewable bite.

GEM offers a sleep supplement too. Despite their utility bill kinda price ($60/month), they’re a great alternative if you prefer a food-based product or if regular vitamins don’t sit well with you.

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