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It is common to accumulate a number of vitamins over the years. Having a cupboard full of vitamins that you haven’t used or are half-full is a normal reality for many homes across the world. Unlike our food, we are unlikely to monitor and be as vigilant with expiration dates on things such as vitamins and supplements.
We'll go over how to see the expiration date on your vitamins and supplements and how to keep track of it, as well as the potential adverse effects of taking them after they've expired and how to properly store them.
Vitamins do not expire the way food does, but they do lose their strength and efficacy with time - this is true for both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The term "potency" refers to the fact that the vitamins are more potent than the doses mentioned in the supplement section on the rear panel of the products.
Chewable vitamins, for example, deteriorate faster than others because they absorb water more readily, reducing their efficacy. Most vitamins are claimed to have a shelf life of up to two years if properly maintained.
The FDA does not require an expiration date but it is worth being aware of the date listed as there is a reason that it will be listed on that vitamin. Depending on the type of vitamin that you have, the shelf life can alter from one, two or even three years.
There are many signs to look out for that could indicate that it is past its expiration date, aside from losing their potency and you may start to notice off-colours as well as strange odours.
It will make a significant impact on the longevity of your vitamins as well as their potency. While different vitamins have varied effects, there are undoubtedly more secure and healthier places in your home where you may store your vitamins.
Surprisingly, the bathroom is the worst place to put your vitamins and supplements. Even if they are kept in containers within a medical cabinet, having them in there will expose them to heat and humidity on a daily basis, affecting their potency and lifespan. Similarly, the kitchen may also cause the same issues as being somewhere where there is cooking, heat and steam.
Consider storing them somewhere high and dry, like you would do with any other medication. As well as this, keeping them out of harm's way of children and taking away that potential is key for safety. A cupboard is a great place to store them as they are recommended to avoid windows or heating pipes as it is key to keep them out of a place where temperature and humidity might fluctuate.
Expired vitamins need to be disposed of properly, the safest way to dispose of vitamins and supplements is at a drug take-back location which you could maybe find online, or at the chemist or shop they were purchased from.
It is important to consider when throwing them away in the bin as they could be found and cause harm to animals and children. To bypass this problem, the FDA recommends mixing the old vitamins with something that you would throw in the bin regardless and mix with it, such as coffee grounds or even cat litter. Alternatively, seal within the container that they came in or within a sealed container or bag.
As vitamins become a more common part of people's everyday life, it is vital to know how to store your nutrients properly and making sure that you are aware of their expiration dates, what to look out for if you are worried they are expired and how to get rid of the vitamins safely and securely.
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