Are expired vitamins still good?

In this article, we are going to answer: are expired vitamins still good, what is the expiration date, what happens if you use vitamins after the expiration date, what are vitamins for, how long vitamins last, and how to store vitamins to last longer. 

Are expired vitamins still good?

No, vitamins are not good after the expiration date. Supplements such as vitamins lose potency or quantity of vitamins according to the nutritional label. So if you consume vitamins after the expiration date printed on the vitamins, you will not receive the amount that is on the nutritional label. 

What is the expiration date?

The expiration date in the product tells the consumer the last day a product is safe to consume. The expiration date is not in all products. It is required on certain products that have a specific nutritional composition that could change after the expiration date. 

The expiration date is required in some products such as

  • Liquid diets
  • Foods sold by a pharmacist
  • Meal replacements
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Infant formula 

If a product has passed the expiration date, it should not be consumed.

What happens if you use vitamins after the expiration date?

Vitamins or supplements after the expiration date are very unlikely to cause you harm but it is not recommended to use them after this date. Some research has found that supplements might remain safe for about 15 years after the expiration date but they still lose potency. 

If vitamins were not stored correctly, show signs of mold, smell weird, or have changed in color or texture, then throw them away. Any of these signs means vitamins are no longer safe to consume. 

What are vitamins for?

Each vitamin has a specific function and depending on what you need you might take a multivitamin or the vitamin by itself. Here is a list of all vitamins and what is their main function. 

VitaminFunctionUpper level
Vitamin A known as retinoids and caroteneEssential for vision health
Might lower cancer risk
Important in bone growth and immune system
Have a major action as antioxidants
3,000 mcg
Thiamin (vitamin B1)Major role to convert food into energy
Healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain 
Now known
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)Major role to convert food into energy
Healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain 
Now known
Niacin (vitamin B3)Major role to convert food into energy
Healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain 
35 mg
Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5)Major role to convert food into energy
Help to make lipids, neurotransmitters and hormones 
not known
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)Reduce homocysteine level
Key in sleep, appetite and moods
Create red blood cells
100 mg
Cobalamin (vitamin B12)Lowers homocysteine 
Lower the risk of heart disease
Makes red blood cells 
Promotes DNA formation
Not known
BiotinHealthy bones and skin Now known
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)Promotes skin health 
Formation of collagen
Immune system 
2,000 mg
CholineNerve and brain activities 
Plays a major role in metabolizing fats
3,500 mg
CalciferolBone health50 mcg
Alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E)Protect lipids form damage
Antioxidant
1000 mg
Folic AcidEssential to prevent neural tube formation1000 mcg
Vitamin KEssential to activate protein and calcium
Essential to blood clotting
Not known 

If you need more information on vitamins, function and sources follow this link.

How long do vitamins last?

The shelf life of vitamins depends on some variables such as what vitamin is, how many vitamins it contains, how it is stored, and their presentation. 

  • Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E, D, A, and K might last longer but are more sensitive to light. 
  • Vitamin C might have a shorter shelf life because it is very heat sensitive and breaks down easily. 

Some factors that directly affect how much vitamin can last is high temperature, exposure to sunlight or artificial light, exposure to oxygen, and pH levels. 

How do you store vitamins to last longer?

Vitamins should be stored in a cool dry place, away from sunlight or artificial light, and keep moisture low to prevent them from losing potency. You need to read the label of the vitamins you are using to know exactly how to store them because each supplement might need different storage. 

For example, some might be best stored in the refrigerator while others do not need it. If you need more information on how to store vitamins follow this link

Conclusion

This article answered are expired vitamins still good, what is the expiration date, what happens if you use vitamins after the expiration date, what are vitamins for, how long vitamins last, and how to store vitamins to last longer. 

Citation

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/do-vitamins-expire#:~:text=Vitamins%20don’t%20%E2%80%9Cexpire%E2%80%9D,become%20less%20effective%20over%20time.

https://www.verywellfit.com/is-it-safe-to-take-expired-vitamins-4165676

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/do-vitamins-expire

​​https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/listing_of_vitamins

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.