Do vitamins expire and are they safe to take?


VITAMIN supplements do lose potency over time and however, after their expiration date, vitamins do not generally become unsafe to take.
The rate at which vitamins lose their potency depends on the form of the supplement, the storage methods, and the date of manufacture, according to a 2019 study.
The shelf life of a supplement depends on its form, its contents, and how someone is storing it.
Chewable or gummy vitamins are more susceptible to moisture than capsules or tablets. Vitamins in tablet or capsule form may remain potent for several years.
Additionally, some vitamins may last longer than others. An older study, from 2008, indicates that vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B-1, which is sometimes called thiamine, may break down more quickly than others.
Other factors that can contribute to vitamins losing potency include:
• extreme temperatures
• exposure to light
• exposure to oxygen
• pH levels
Unopened vitamin supplements are more likely to retain their potency because moisture, light, and oxygen are less likely to affect them.
It is worth noting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not require supplement manufacturers to provide expiry dates on vitamin or mineral supplements.
The companies may choose to include this information, but only when valid data support the date, and when it is not false or misleading. As a result, a person may prefer to only purchase supplements that contain expiration dates.
However, to ensure the quality of supplements, it is a better idea to choose those that have undergone independent third-party testing. These will advertise verification labels. The United States Pharmacopeia provide “USP Verified” certification, for example.
In general, it is relatively safe to take an expired vitamin supplement. It is unlikely to cause harm, as most expired medications and supplements do not usually become toxic.
Military-funded research, for example, reports that 90% of over 100 prescription and over-the-counter medications tested remained suitable for use, even 15 years after their expiry dates.
These findings suggest that expired medications are still generally safe to use with some exceptions.
Regarding supplements, a person should not take those that:
• show signs of mold
• have a strange odor

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