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Do Vitamins Expire? Here’s What You Must Know

Article at a Glance:

  • Vitamins do expire but don’t become harmful;
  • Over time, vitamins’ effectiveness decreases due to the gradual breakdown;
  • The shelf life of most vitamins is about 2 years.

We usually don’t think of vitamins like something with an expiration date. They do expire, but not in a way you would think. Instead of becoming harmful like some medicaments, vitamins just get less effective.

Why? What is the supplements’ shelf life? Is it possible to prolong it?

The questions are plenty, and the topic is quite important for those who care about their health. So, we’ll answer them one by one.

A Complex Question of Vitamins Expiration

It wasn’t always obvious that the supplements’ expiration date has to be taken seriously. There were studies after studies conducted to see if and how manufacturers and pharmacies should test their products and prolong their shelf life. 

It turns out, a lot of medications aren’t dangerous even 15 years after their expiration date. So, the question is very complex.

But one thing is clear: medication and supplements lose their potency over time, starting with the moment of their manufacture.

The adequate period of time when a supplement is considered fresh is about 2 years.

Safety Concerns When Taking Vitamins After Their Expiration Date

It is safe but doesn’t make a lot of sense. There are no officially documented cases of poisoning with an expired vitamin supplement. However, it loses effectiveness, and you’re taking a basically empty capsule that won’t do any good.

Side Effects of Taking Expired Vitamins

There aren’t any, except you wasting time and money and getting zero effect. 

It’s also worth mentioning that if your vitamins smell differently or change color, it’s highly recommended to dispose of them immediately.

Storing Vitamins Properly

A lot depends on the environment you store the vitamins in. The following will keep supplements potent for a longer time:

  • Keeping them in original containers;
  • Storing those in a dry, cool, and dark place.

People tend to keep supplements in the kitchen or bathroom, but those places are usually hotter and more humid than the others. Consider leaving them in your bedroom.

Why a Cool and Dark Place?

Prolonged exposure to light makes vitamins, especially A and D, degrade faster. And less stable supplements, like fish oil, can lose its positive effect if stored even at room temperature. 

FAQ on Vitamins Expiration

How long are vitamins good for after the expiration date?

Vitamins lose their usefulness after the expiration date, but it’s possible to prolong their shelf life if the storage conditions are good.

Do vitamin gummies expire?

Yes, and even faster than vitamins in other forms. Gummies absorb water faster, which makes them lose effect.

Are expired multivitamins still good?

It depends on how you store them, but it’s not recommended to take any supplements after their expiration date.
The question of expiration is still open, and in the future, there will be new studies that will give us clearer answers. But as of now, refer to the date stamped on the container and don’t take expired vitamins.

Jane Bradley
Jane is a lifelong student who believes in the power of stories. She is a lover of landscapes, adventure, and genuine people. Jane and her husband recently moved from Seattle to the foothills of the of the Rocky Mountains to pursue a dream of mountain-life! She’s a professional content creator with a background in graphic design & marketing.


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