Elderberry gummies are a popular supplement for adults and children. Many people take them to help prevent or treat colds.
Elderberries may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects. However, human studies don’t currently provide much evidence to support these uses (
This article reviews common uses for elderberry gummies and explains whether they’re effective.
Elderberry gummies are a chewable, gummy supplement that contains the juice or extract of berries from the elder plant (Sambucus nigra).
Elderberries are a popular ingredient in supplements that claim to boost immune health and treat cold and flu symptoms naturally.
Because these berries are naturally sweet and fruity, they lend themselves well to gummies and syrups — which are the most popular forms of elderberry supplements.
Gummy supplements are great for children who may not like syrups or be able to swallow pills.
They’re an excellent choice for adults as well, as they’re useful for people who have trouble swallowing pills, and they may help reduce the number of pills required for those who take multiple medications or supplements.
Keep in mind that elderberry gummies frequently contain other ingredients. These included added sugar, as well as preservatives to keep them shelf-stable and thickeners to give them their gummy consistency.
Most elderberry gummies are thickened with pectin, a type of fruit fiber that’s also used to make preserves like jellies and jams.
Many elderberry gummies also provide other nutrients or herbal extracts that are regularly used for immune support, such as vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc.
Elderberry gummies are taken by adults and children alike. Many contain added sugar and preservatives in addition to elderberry juice or extract.
Many people take elderberry gummies to support immune health and fight cold or flu symptoms. However, human studies on these effects are lacking.
Here’s an overview of common health claims associated with elderberry gummies.
May provide anti-inflammatory effects
Test-tube and animal studies note that elderberries provide many anti-inflammatory compounds (
Although short-term inflammation is a normal immune response to illness or injury, chronic inflammation may contribute to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions. Thus, lowering inflammation may lead to better health outcomes.
However, research is lacking on elderberries’ inflammatory effects in humans.
Boast powerful antioxidants
Elderberries are rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, which give the berries their dark blue-purple color (
Antioxidants may help prevent cellular damage caused by unstable compounds called free radicals, which may cause health problems if they reach harmful levels in your body. This is why it’s important to eat antioxidant-rich foods (
However, there’s currently little direct evidence that elderberry supplements improve antioxidant activity in humans.
May provide antimicrobial benefits
Elderberries may possess antimicrobial effects that may neutralize disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
One test-tube study noted that liquid elderberry extract killed certain strains of bacteria and inhibited the replication of the influenza A and B viruses (
However, in these types of studies, the extract is applied directly to bacteria or viruses. As such, elderberry gummies may not exhibit the same effects, as they’re taken orally. More research in humans is needed.
May reduce cold and flu symptoms
Elderberry products are commonly used to manage cold and flu symptoms, though little high quality research in humans exists.
In one study, 158 people were given 300 mg of elderberry extract daily for 15–16 days to determine whether it could reduce cold duration and severity (
Researchers found that elderberry use slightly decreased the likelihood of catching a cold, but the difference wasn’t significant. Those who did catch cold had fewer sick days and milder symptoms than those in a placebo group (
Additionally, a review of four studies found that elderberry supplements may reduce symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections, including the common cold and flu (
However, all of these studies were fairly small, so more research is needed before any definitive claims can be made.
Test-tube and animal research has noted elderberry extract’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects. Additionally, a handful of human studies suggest that elderberry products may ease cold symptoms. Still, more research is necessary.
The effectiveness of elderberry gummies is currently unclear.
A small body of research supports using elderberry products to fight inflammation, free radicals, infections, and colds. None of these studies used elderberry gummies specifically, but rather varied doses of elderberry extract in several forms, such as syrups or lozenges.
A handful of these studies have noted reductions in cold and flu symptoms, so the dose size appears to matter more than the form of the supplement.
However, there’s also insufficient evidence from human studies.
Although the existing research is promising, more high quality studies are needed to fully understand how elderberry gummies affect inflammation, antioxidant status, viral infections, and cold and flu symptoms in humans.
It’s important to note that very little human evidence supports using elderberry supplements, and no specific research on elderberry gummies exists.
Whether you try an elderberry gummy is up to you. While some evidence supports their use for reducing cold symptoms, it isn’t enough that these claims can be made definitively.
If you decide to try elderberry gummies, make sure to choose a high quality product that contains a research-backed dose of elderberry.
Choosing an elderberry gummy
To choose a high quality product, assess elderberry gummies based on the following criteria before making your purchase:
- Production standards. Look for elderberry gummies that are produced in certified Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) facilities. This stamp ensures that the facility meets standards set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Testing protocols. Try to find gummies that have been tested by an independent lab. Third-party testing assesses whether what’s in the product matches the ingredients and amounts on the label and checks for contaminants like heavy metals or other ingredients.
- Elderberry content. One of the strongest, most recent elderberry studies in humans linked a dose of 300 mg to a decrease in cold duration and severity. If you can, choose a gummy that provides at least 300 mg of elderberry extract per serving (
If you decide to try elderberry gummies, look for one that’s made in a cGMP facility, has been third-party tested, and contains at least 300 mg of elderberry extract per serving.
Other commonly used elderberry supplements include elderberry syrups and capsules.
Like gummies, most elderberry syrups contain added sugar. If you’re trying to decrease your sugar intake but still want to take elderberry, capsules — which contain powdered elderberries — are the best choice.
When choosing any of these forms, read the label to find one that’s high quality, third-party tested, and properly dosed.
Other common forms of elderberry supplements include syrups and capsules. If you’re trying to limit your sugar intake, choose the capsule form.
Both adults and children widely use elderberry gummies to help support immune health and treat colds.
However, while some human evidence supports these uses, more research is needed.
If you decide to try an elderberry gummy, look for one that’s made in a cGMP facility, has been third-party tested, and contains at least 300 mg of elderberry extract per serving.