You’ve made a commitment to eating healthier and taking a daily supplement to cover all your bases. Now you’re wondering if those supplements you bought last year are still any good or whether you have to shell out money for a new supply. Stored correctly, vitamins usually last about four or five years, Food and Drug Administration chemist and nutritionist Glen M. Shue told “The New York Times.” After that, you can’t be sure whether the active ingredients will be as potent as promised.
Check for an Expiration or Manufacture Date
Many supplements have a date printed on the label. This is either the date they were manufactured or the date they expire. You can count forward from the manufacture date to see if the supplement is within that four- to five-year limit, or you can simply look for a future expiration date.
In the right conditions, some vitamins can retain their potency up to 10 years, says Shue. But it’s impossible to know without having them tested in a lab. To keep your vitamins good for four to five years, store them in an air-tight container, in a cool, dark spot. Don’t store your vitamins in the refrigerator; opening and closing the lid often can cause condensation to build up in a cool bottle and degrade the vitamins, says Shue. You can store an air-tight bottle of vitamins in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them, however. Bathrooms and kitchens are not ideal places to store vitamins because of the heat and humidity. Use a bedroom, living room or office instead.
References and ResourcesThe New York Times: Consumer Saturday -- Storing Vitamins, From A to K
NatureMade: Commonly Asked Questions About Vitamins
Swanson Health Products: Expiration and Manufactured Dates