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 supplements.
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, and suggest some alternatives that may be healthier options.
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 (similar to meditation). At only 100 milligrams (mg) in Olly Sleep, this ingredient may 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, which is double the amount in Olly Sleep. We haven’t come across any research suggesting that 100 mg of l-theanine is effective for sleep.
3 mg of melatonin is the second ingredient, and this is an effective dose for inducing sleep, according to a medical review published in the Nutrition Journal. 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 that dosage is 11x of the amount included in Olly Sleep.
Passionflower extract is the fourth-listed ingredient, and may be underdosed at 17 mg. A clinical trial 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 will assume this is another ineffective dosage.
The final ingredient, at a 16 mg dosage, is lemon balm extract. A clinical trial on lemon balm extract for improving sleep used a dosage of 600 mg, or 3800% as much as in Olly Sleep. We can’t find any data suggesting this botanical ingredient is effective for sleep at the dosage in Olly Sleep.
Olly Sleep also contains 2 grams (g) of added sugar per serving. While this is a relatively low amount for a gummy formulation, we recommend avoiding health supplements containing added sugar.
Another additive ingredient in Olly Sleep we recommend avoiding is citric acid, which is a preservative and flavor enhancer shown in a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal to cause whole-body inflammation in some patients. It appears that only a small subset of the population responds this way to citric acid, but we still recommend avoiding it.
Overall we don't recommend Olly Sleep. While the supplement does contain a number of ingredients shown in medical research to positively impact sleep, the only one that we consider to be effectively dosed is melatonin. Olly sleep also contains several additive ingredients we recommend avoiding.
Sleep Gummies Alternative
Bulletproof sells a Sugar-Free Sleep Gummies supplement that we would consider healthier and more effectively dosed than Olly Sleep.
Bulletproof Sleep Gummies contains the same effective melatonin dose per serving (3 g) but it contains 200 mg of l-theanine which we established in the previous section to be an effective dose for relaxation and sleep.
This product is also sugar-free, using sugar alcohols such as xylitol as natural sweeteners. We consider this a healthier alternative to added sugar. Unlike added cane sugar, xylitol appears to have favorable effects on metabolism. A well-cited medical review from 2020 described xylitol as having "anti-diabetic" and "antihyperglycemic" effects.
Bulletproof Sugar-Free Sleep Gummies does contain citric acid (like Olly Sleep) and natural flavor, both ingredients we recommend avoiding. So while we don't recommend this product overall, we do consider it to be a healthier alternative to Olly Sleep for consumers who are seeking a sleep gummy supplement.
If we find a sleep gummy supplement that's free of added sugar and any questionable additives we will update this section of our article to recommend it.
For consumers willing to consider a capsule sleep supplement rather than gummy sleep supplement, Bulletproof sells a Sleep Supplement that we consider a much healthier alternative to gummy formulations, and which we would recommend.
This sleep supplement contains an effective dose of melatonin, but most importantly is entirely free of any questionable additive ingredients like added sugar, natural flavoring agents and citric acid.
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 to 100 mg, so we would consider this ingredient and dosage 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 stress, and concluded that the lowest therapeutic dose appears to be 300 mg.
Olly Stress Gummies also contains 2 g of added sugar, citric acid and natural flavors; all ingredients we recommend avoiding.
We don't recommend this product or consider it to be particularly effective. We would consider the GABA dose as the only effective dose, and there are three additive ingredients we recommend avoiding from a health perspective.
Olly Vitamins Review
Olly sells gummy multivitamins with separate products for men, women and children.
We know from medical research that multivitamin use is not associated with any positive health effects on a population level, so we typically don't recommend multivitamins to healthy individuals.
For patients with a documented vitamin deficiency, multivitamins are likely to be beneficial.
Olly multivitamin gummies contain added sugar, natural flavors and citric acid.
For consumers seeking gummy multivitamins, we would recommend Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin Gummies. This brand uses whole fruit ingredients like organic strawberries and organic apples as sweeteners, which we consider to be healthier and more nutritious alternatives to added sugar.
Llama Naturals gummies are free of citric acid, and contain organic flavor rather than natural flavor. We consider this a higher standard of safety and purity based on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines on flavoring ingredients.
Olly Probiotic Gummies Review
Olly sells three probiotic gummies: Probiotic Tropical Mango, Probiotic Bramble Berry, and Extra Strength Probiotics. The ingredients list above is from the Tropical Mango flavor.
These products all also contain more added sugar than Olly’s products we previously reviewed, with 4 g added sugar per serving. We find added sugar to be especially inappropriate in the context of a probiotic formulation, given that high-sugar diets appear to cause microbiome (gut) inflammation based on medical research.
We're not suggesting that the 4 g added sugar dose in Olly Probiotic Gummies is likely to cause gut inflammation alone, but since many Americans already consume high levels of added sugar daily, we believe it's logical to avoid additional added sugar from health supplements.
As with Olly's other products we've reviewed, this product contains citric acid and natural flavor, which we recommend avoiding.
We would also urge Olly to publish the specific probiotic strain, as they have only published the probiotic species on their Supplement Facts label. Different probiotic strains within the same species can have different effects, and it's a sign of a high-quality supplement brand to publish the specific probiotic strain.
We recommend Llama Naturals Probiotic Gummies as our top probiotic gummies choice. It contains natural sweeteners organic mangoes and organic peaches, and provides 5 billion CFU per serving, making it 5x more potent than the Olly probiotic formulation.
Llama Naturals publishes the specific probiotic strains on their Supplement Facts label. A meta-study published in the Beneficial Microbes journal found that Bacillus subtilis DE111, which one of the probiotic strains in Llama Naturals, can improve cholesterol levels and may benefit endothelial function.
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 we consider this a poorly-formulated product. We don’t recommend its use.
Olly Vitamins Real User Reviews
Olly has been reviewed tens of thousands of times on Amazon, which we consider to be a more objective source of reviews than manufacturer websites. Their most-reviewed product on Amazon at the time of updating this article is a multivitamin called Olly Ultra Women's Multi Softgels. It has an average rating of 4.6/5 stars with over 31,000 total reviews.
This product receives a D grade on FakeSpot, which is an algorithm that detects potentially fraudulent Amazon reviews. FakeSpot's adjusted rating for this product is 2 stars rather than 4.6.
The top positive review of this product from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Ashley" who claims the gummies taste good:
"These are good gummies and decent for the price. Texture is good (not too firm or soft) and the taste is fruity without tasting like syrup. No idea if they made me any healthier but they didn't hurt."
The top negative review of this product from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "TaylerBootz" who didn't like the smell or taste of Olly vitamins:
"I could smell the old horse pill vitamin in full force...Tastes like eating the old horse pill vitamins too. Seriously, buy some cheap vitamins, crush them up and add them to your jello cubes. You'll get the same flavor."