If you’re like most Americans, your cupboards contain an array of supplements. A2018 survey showed that 75% of U.S. residents are consuming some sort of dietary supplement, whether it be a probiotic, fish oil or multivitamin.
You may spend a considerable amount of time deciding what type of supplements to take, what brands you want and where to shop for them. Perhaps you’ve already built up your own collection. But have you ever stopped to think about how long those supplements last? Do vitamins ever expire? And if so, is it safe to consume them beyond the product’s expiration dates?
We surveyed experts to find out what you should know:
Vitamins do expire, but not in the same way as, say, your leftovers.
Generally speaking, vitamins and supplements do expire, but it’s not viewed in the same way as when food expires. Expiration dates for food are put into place for public safety, as many perishable foods become harmful after they expire.
But according to Jessie Hawkins, director of theFranklin School of Integrative Health Sciences, who trains professionals on dietary supplement science, vitamins and dietary supplements don’t usually go bad in the same way, due to the preparation processes.
“They do not typically contain perishable ingredients,” Hawkins said.
Charlotte Traas, director of education and training for vitamin companyNew Chapter, Inc., explained that vitamins are made up of nutrients. The reason they expire isn’t because they go rancid or develop harmful bacteria, the way some foods do. “It’s because they experience nutrient degradation or breakdown,” Traas said.