Should You Consume Vitamin Supplements That Have Expired?

Our bodies require vitamins and minerals for various purposes. Any deficiency of these nutrients can result in severe health problems. For instance, a drop in the vitamin C of your body can weaken your immune system.

Similarly, a shortage of vitamin D can amp up the risk of osteoporosis and weaken your bones too. So, you really need those vitamins. However, know that an excess of vitamins and mineral can also culminate in health issues. Therefore, you need to ensure that your vitamin intake is balanced, neither high nor low.

What Does Research Say About Vitamin Supplements?

The supplement industry is worth more than $30 billion in the US. What’s more, there are over 90,000 supplements to choose from. Research, however, is not very optimistic about the intake of vitamin supplements.

It often shows mixed results, sometimes recommending them while sometimes reaching an opposite conclusion. Still, a 2018 report in JAMA revealed that 10% of the adults in the US consumed at least four supplement products.

Moreover, half of the adult population had at least one supplement product. The figures make it clear that vitamin supplements are taken widely. It is important to note here that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve or review any dietary supplements. It also doesn’t say how effective or safe a supplement is.

A Supplement’s Expiration Date

Since the FDA does not review supplements, it does not give an expiry date for them as well. The manufacturer gives a best before or use before date though. In most cases, however, expired supplements are safe to take provided they have been stored carefully.

Shanna Levine, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York added to this. Levine told Prevention, “Properly stored vitamins are likely safe past their expiration date for up to two years.”

In this regard, proper storage refers to keeping the vitamins safe, out of direct sunlight, extremely hot temperatures, and protected from humidity as well. Some types of supplements and vitamins can expire earlier than the rest though.

These include the water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins B12 and C. These are likely to lose their potency quicker as compared to fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Moreover, storage care for probiotics is different as compared to vitamins though.

These contain live bacteria cultures. Therefore, they’ll need to be stored in a fridge. Plus, their shelf life extends no further than a year. The life expectancy of tablets and capsules containing oils and liquids is also similar. They tend to expire fast.

Should You Take An Expired Supplement?

Expired vitamins don’t turn poisonous. They normally lose their potency though. However, exceptions exist. These include supplements that are kept in humid, wet, or hot areas. These may produce mold which shouldn’t be consumed.

Summing up, it is best to talk to your physician who can lead you in the direction of whether you should take an expired supplement or not. Typically, it is best to play it safe and get a fresh bottle. Consume your vitamins before their mentioned expiry date.