Olly is a supplement brand that became popular for their tasty gummy vitamins. They now sell many products across various supplement categories, but their gummies are still their most popular items.
In this article we’ll review the formulation of some of Olly’s most popular supplements to determine if they’re likely to be effective, as well as provide some alternatives that may be healthier and more effective.
Olly Sleep Gummies Review
Olly’s most popular product is a gummy supplement which is formulated for improving sleep quality.
L-theanine is the first listed active ingredient. This amino acid is typically used for inducing relaxation, as it modulates alpha brain wave activity. At only 100 milligrams (mg) in Olly Sleep, this ingredient appears to be underdosed.
We identified three medical trials on l-theanine for sleep (1, 2, 3), and the lowest dose used in any of them was 200 mg/day, double that in Olly Sleep. We haven’t come across any research suggesting that 100 mg l-theanine is effective for sleep so we’ll conclude this is underdosed.
3 mg of melatonin is the second ingredient, and this is an effective dose for inducing sleep based on medical studies. Melatonin is the most well-studied and non-toxic supplement for sleep.
Chamomile extract at 17 mg is the third ingredient, and this again appears to be significantly underdosed based on medical research. We can’t find a single study on chamomile extract for sleep using a dose less than 200 mg, and even that level is 11x what’s included in Olly Sleep.
Passionflower extract is the fourth-listed ingredient, and again appears to be significantly underdosed at 17 mg. One study on passionflower extract for sleep used the lowest dose we could identify, which was 60 mg, and the researchers in that study even noted “The dosage of passionflower extracts [in this study] was relatively low, compared to commercially available products which mostly contain 250-900 mg of passionflower. We can conclude this ingredient is ineffective due to low dose as well.
The final ingredient, at a 16 mg dosage, is lemon balm extract. The most well-cited medical trial on lemon balm extract for improving sleep contained a dosage of 600 mg, or 3800% as much as in Olly Sleep. We can’t find any data suggesting it’s effective for sleep in as low a dose as that in this product.
Olly Sleep also contains added sugar since it’s a gummy product, and we don’t recommend supplements with added sugar for health reasons (even though the amount in this product is relatively low).
Overall we find that, while the ingredients selected are well-studied for improving sleep, the dosage has significant issues. Every ingredient in Olly Sleep is significantly underdosed based on medical research other than melatonin, which can be acquired much cheaper and taken in isolation. We don’t recommend this product, and don’t believe it should be any more effective than taking 3 mg melatonin alone.
Olly Stress Gummies Review
Olly’s second-most popular product is called Goodbye Stress, and claims to help users “stay calm”. This product only contains three active ingredients: GABA, l-theanine and lemon balm extract.
GABA functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain, and can help the body manage stress. Its dose is 50 mg in Olly Stress Gummies. A thorough review in the Frontiers in Neuroscience Journal found that the effective dose range of GABA for stress reduction was from 2.01 mg - 100 mg, so this ingredient should be effective.
The second ingredient is l-theanine at 50 mg. This seems significantly underdosed according to this medical review which concluded: “Our findings suggest that supplementation of 200-400 mg/day of l-theanine may assist in the reduction of stress and anxiety…”.
Lemon balm extract is the final ingredient at a dose of 75 mg, which again appears significantly underdosed. Examine reviewed over 10 studies on lemon balm and stated that the lowest active supplemental dose appears to be 300 mg.
This is a poor formulation that suffers from the same shortfalls as Olly Sleep; effective ingredients at ineffective doses (with the exception of GABA). We don’t recommend this product, and it also contains unnecessary added sugar which may be harmful for health.
Olly Vitamins Review
Olly sells gummy multivitamins, with products for men, women and children.
We know from medical research that multivitamin use is not associated with any positive health outcomes on a population level, so paying for a health product which already has no benefit on average, which contains added sugar, seems pointless.
We know added sugar is harmful to human health and these products are already likely to have no benefit on average, so we don’t recommend them. It’s a waste of money.
The products we’ve previously reviewed are at least somewhat likely to be effective for their stated label claim, while we don’t believe these products are likely to be beneficial to any specific end.
Olly Probiotic Gummies Review
Olly sells three standalone probiotic gummies: Probiotic Tropical Mango, Probiotic Bramble Berry, and Extra Strength Probiotics.
The first two products contain a probiotic dose of 1 billion colony-forming-units (CFU). This seems underdosed for any health benefit. A thorough medical review of probiotic trials suggested a minimally-effective dose of 10 billion CFU.
Even the Extra Strength Probiotics contain only 6 billion CFU.
These products all also contain more added sugar than Olly’s products we previously reviewed, with 4 g added sugar for the regular strength products.
We don’t recommend any of these products and don’t believe they’ll provide any gut benefit. As we stated in our probiotic review article, the healthiest and most cost-effective way to get probiotics is by eating traditionally fermented foods like sauerkraut or Greek yogurt.
Olly Hair Vitamins Review
Olly sells a supplement for hair health and growth called Ultra Strength Hair Softgels.
The main active ingredient is keratin at 150 mg, which is one of the structural proteins in hair. We can’t find any research suggesting this is an effective dose. The only study we identified proving keratin supplementation improved hair quality used a dose of 500 mg.
We can’t find any data at all supporting the use of the two other active ingredients, amla extract and silica.
Olly Ultra Strength Hair Softgels do contain biotin, which is effectively dosed and proven to aid in hair quality maintenance, but overall this is a poorly-formulated product. We don’t recommend its use.