Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD
Goli has made apple cider vinegar (ACV) fun with great branding, and in this article we’re going to analyze their product formulation to determine whether the gummies are actually beneficial to your health, and worth the money. We’ll assess the dosages and form of both the active and inactive ingredients to conclude whether this is a product with a superior formulation, or just a great marketing team (spoiler: it’s the latter).
General Comments on Formulation
Before getting into the specifics, we want to note that Goli’s formulation contains active ingredients with listed dosages, and “Other Ingredients” with unlisted dosages. We find it to be deceiving for the brand to highlight ingredients in their marketing that are present in their formulation in such small quantities that they’re not even listed as an active ingredient.
As an example, Goli highlights pomegranates in both their website and Amazon product title. Their website states that “The rich color and unique flavor of pomegranate helps give our Goli ACV Gummies their signature red appearance and delicious taste.”
Pomegranates are listed as an “Other Ingredient” on their Supplement Facts label, and this is almost exclusively done by supplement companies when the dosage is so small it would look crazy to list as an active ingredient (where the dosage must be publicly disclosed).
The entire Goli gummy serving is only 15 calories (which includes all component ingredients). A full pomegranate is 234 calories. Pomegranate is such a small percentage of the 15 calorie formulation that it’s dosage isn’t listed, so perhaps there’s 50 mg or so of pomegranate in the formulation.
How much “signature appearance and delicious taste” are you getting for a miniscule fraction of a pomegranate? Supplement companies add absurdly small amounts of exotic ingredients to their products so they can highlight the ingredient in marketing.
Dosage and Claims
Goli contains 500 mg of ACV standardized to 5% acetic acid. The standardization is sound, as many medical studies on ACV standardize to 5% acetic acid. However the dosage appears to be substantially underdosed. Most of the studies we’ve come across on ACV supplementation with human subjects involve at least 15 mL daily dose, which is significantly more than that in Goli. We haven’t come across one study with human subjects at a dose as low as 500 mg, and Goli doesn’t cite any on their website.
Goli’s branding makes vague claims about the health benefits of their ACV gummies. Their Amazon listing states you can “feel as your body detoxes with Goli gummies.” There is no published medical research suggesting ACV provides detoxification support in humans, at any dosage, never mind the low dose in Goli’s gummies.
There is also no clinical research on humans proving ACV aids in immune function, although there is some preliminary research on animals.
We’re not anti-ACV. It’s a whole food with a unique nutritional profile including prebiotic compounds. We’re anti-unscientific claims.
Other Active Ingredients
Goli contains 1.2 mcg of a poorly-absorbed, synthetic form of Vitamin B12 called cyanocobalamin. The superior form is called methylcobalamin and supplements with efficacious formulations tend to prefer it. Methylcobalamin is bio-identical to the B12 in our body, and to that in the animal products we consume.
The other vitamin in the active ingredients is folic acid, which is a synthetic form of Vitamin B9 that humans struggle to metabolize and may be associated with increased cancer risk (study 1, study 2, study 3.)
Even if the cancer association is weak based on available research, the choice to use folic acid rather than the bioavailable form l-methylfolate is, in our opinion, a sign that a company has absolutely no clue when it comes to basing formulations on established medical research.
Goli also contains added sugar. Many gummies do, so they’re not alone in this regard, but it’s strange to have a company touting the immune benefits of their product with added sugar.
Lack of Published Product Testing
Goli’s site claims that the company “test[s] at every stage of the process” and that “the highest quality ingredients are used”.
Perhaps they do, but without telling us what they’re testing for and publishing those test results, consumers have no reason to believe it.
All supplement companies should publish testing to prove that their products are accurately labeled, as potent as advertised and low in contaminants. This type of radical transparency is what we’ve built our whole brand around, and what we hope becomes commonplace in an industry full of product recalls and vague pseudo-scientific claims.
We do want to highlight that Goli does good work in regards to charity, donating 6 months of vitamins to a child in need with every purchase of their product, which seems quite generous. They do this in partnership with Vitamin Angels.
We’re a Benefit Corporation that also has a charity pledge, so we love seeing other supplement companies supporting change.
If you’re a health-conscious consumer interested in the potential benefits of ACV, we’d recommend you just buy ACV instead of using Goli’s ACV gummies. For the cost of one Goli bottle, you can get multiple bottles of actual ACV and avoid the added sugar and unnecessary added synthetic vitamins.