Can out-of-date vitamins make you sick?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can out-of-date vitamins make you sick?”, and what is the best way to store vitamins?

Can out-of-date vitamins make you sick?

No, out-of-date vitamins won’t make you sick. Out-of-date vitamins are just not potent enough to provide you health benefits. 

Do vitamins expire?

Is it possible?

Yes, vitamins do expire but not like the food. Thye does not become spoiled or unsafe for consumption. Instead, they lose their potency. 

They won’t be as beneficial to health as before the expiry. This is because the ingredients or contents of the vitamins start to decompose over time. The events are rapid past the expiry.

What is the average shelf-life for vitamins?

Vitamins do not require an expiration date, as per the FDA. Some brands might print a use-by or best-before date on the packaging. They do it voluntarily and this not only earns them customer’s attention but also trust. 

Customers tend to trust brands that have a proper best-by date or use-by date on the package. At least that is the cashew ith food. On average, vitamins last 2 years. 

Chewable vitamins and vitamin gummies are more hygroscopic, therefore, they tend to have a shorter shelf-life. But the shelf-life largely depends on the type of the vitamin and the storage conditions. 

Shelf-life of individual vitamins 

Vitamin C: Moisture is the worst enemy of the quality of Vitamin C because this vitamin is deliquescent. Vitamin C absorbs moisture until It dissolves. 

Therefore, keeping the Vitamin C supplement in a humid environment is going to make it degrade faster. This also happens If the vitamin has damaged packaging or is poorly sealed.

Thiamin: Thiamine is a very unstable B vitamin. Similar to Vitamin C, thiamine is also deliquescent. Therefore, you need to make sure its packaging is properly sealed. Keep away from humidity.

Vitamin K: If vitamin K is one of the ingredients in a multivitamin supplement, it will break down more quickly.

Is it safe to take vitamins or other supplements past their expiration date?

The best-by or use-by date on the package of the vitamins indicates quality, not safety. Any supplement including vitamins will degrade faster past this date and will be less potent. 

A less potent vitamin or supplement won’t hurt you in the sense of making you sick. But It is the point where the brand acquits itself of the health claims mentioned on the package. 

What are the side effects of taking an expired vitamin or supplement?

It is not dangerous, poisonous, or toxic to take expired vitamins or supplements. But it sure is a waste of your time, effort, and money and nobody wants that. It is because the expired supplement or vitamin is not providing you the same health benefits as it was intended to because it has lost its potency. 

If the supplement or vitamins give off a strange odor or develop an undesirable color, discard them immediately. 

Company policies and expiration dates

Centrum: The company features an expiration date on the product label based on the least stable ingredient in the product.

NOW Foods: NOW Foods also assign an expiration date on the product’s label.

Swanson Vitamins: This company either brands the product with a manufacture date or best-by date. 

If the label is printed with a manufacture date, the company recommended consuming the product within 2-3 years except for probiotics and liquids which should be consumed within a year

How should I dispose of expired vitamins?

Expired vitamins should not go in the trash can especially If you have pets or kids in the house. They should be drained down the toilet as well because you do not want to contaminate the water for aquatic life. 

According to the FDA, expired supplements or vitamins should be discarded in the following ways:

  • Mix the expired vitamins or supplements with cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  • Transfer this mixture to a plastic bag or any other sealed bag.
  • Toss the bag in the trash. You can also check to see If your city has a special site for the disposal of hazardous material.

What’s the best way to store vitamins?

Vitamins should not be removed from the original containers. The rule of thumb is to keep the vitamins somewhere cool and dry. 

Unlike the popular tradition, the kitchen and bathroom are not good storage areas for vitamins or any other supplement. It is because both of these areas have high humidity. In the kitchen, the vitamins are at risk of exposure to heat as well. 

Therefore, keep your vitamins in a linen closet or a bedroom drawer. Some vitamins require refrigeration like fish oil, flaxseed, vitamin, and probiotics

While other like vitamin A and D require to be kept in a dark place as sunlight makes them lose their potency.


In this article, we answered the question “Can out-of-date vitamins make you sick?”, and what is the best way to store vitamins?


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