Do Vitamins And Other Supplements Actually Expire?

Do Vitamins And Other Supplements Actually Expire?

It happens, we’ve all bought supplements that end up getting thrown in the cabinet and forgotten about.

When we happen to find them again… it’s been THREE YEARS?

Well, the seal hasn’t been opened and if there’s no mold it’s okay…right?

Surprisingly, YES!

Well… sort of.

In this brief blog post I’ll be talking about vitamins/supplements and “expiration” dates.

In under 5 minutes you should have learned the following:

  • What The term “expiration date” means
  • The term “potency”
  • How a supplements potency is affected by its environment.
  • What “room temp“, “store cool” ,”store frozen“, refer to.

Do Supplements Expire?

To oversimplify, No.

Supplements do not “expire” in the same way that milk, meat, or eggs do.

As in, you most likely* won’t get food poisoning or become sick from consuming them.

*(There are nuances; moldy products, dairy supplements which have been adulterated, etc.)

They do however; become less effective over time.

Supplements will become less effective over time because they lose “potency”

I’m going to go ahead and just steal the definition from wikipedia to save everyone here some time.

"In the field of pharmacology, potency is a measure of drug activity expressed in terms of the amount required to produce an effect of given intensity."

So think of it like this:

Fresh Supplement“Expired” Supplement
Example of Degradation/Potency loss.

Let’s say you need to take 300mg of Choline.

Instead of 3 tablets, you would need 4.

This is because the Fresh/Non-expired is yielding 100mg of choline.

Meanwhile the “Expired” supplement has become less potent and only gives you 75 mg per dose.

Simply put , the “Expiration Date” refers to the specific date that a product can be guaranteed to maintain its potency when stored under ideal conditions.

“Ideal conditions”

Photo by Tiger Lily: support them here!

(*These definitions According to Organization of Good Manufacturing practices)

MOST vitamins/minerals/supplements ideal conditions are just as follows:

  • Store frozen: transported within a cold chain and stored at -20°C (4°F).
  • Store at 2°-8°C (36°-46°F): for heat sensitive products that must not be frozen.
  • Cool: Store between 8°-15°C (45°-59°F).
  • Room temperature: Store at 15°-25°C (59°-77°F).

If not explicitly listed, MOST items (powder/capsules) will be below 60% humidity and room temp.

A softgel or anything reconstituted(coming soon) will often be best stored in the refrigerator away from direct sunlight.

“Ideal” room for room temperature & closing.

Photo by Mark McCammon:

When it comes to “Room temperature” the room you choose and what spot is important.

  • Counter next to the stove/sink? lots of humidity.
  • In the Bathroom? Typically, a LOT of humidity and HEAT
    (SOME PEOPLE just LOVE scalding hot water FIRST THING in the morning.)
  • Kitchen table, the cupboard/pantry or closet? Those are away from sunlight AND room-temp!

Those last few could be great options to use!

In wrapping up, we can see “expiration” typically is referring to product quality.

Friendly reminder, this is for GOOD PRACTICES MOVING FORWARD.

I am NOT endorsing the purchase of, or one’s utility of exclusively expired supplements.

(also ESPECIALLY not for the utility of life saving medications like insulin or nitroglycerin)

This is to give a GENERAL idea behind the concept of expiration and potency..

When Implemented properly, in accordance to their labels, these practices may help to reach your supplements “expiration date” safely.

Until Next time, Toodles!

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