Do Vitamins Expire? Safety, Side Effects, and Storage

What Are the Different Types of Vitamins I Can Take?

Part of having a healthy lifestyle means supplying our body with the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that it needs. While we can get many of these micronutrients that our bodies need from our diet, sometimes supplementation is needed to meet our daily requirements.


When it comes to supplementing dietary needs, there are various types of products available on the market. How do you know which is best to choose?


Some of the most common forms are:


  • Gummies: These chewy, yummy supplements are often naturally or artificially flavored. They’re great for kids thanks to their taste and texture, as well as how easy they are to take. Many adults opt to take gummy vitamins, too. Many gummy vitamins use gelatin — which is sourced from animals. But MaryRuth’s gummies are always vegan, and often pectin-based.


  • Chewable Tablets: Similar to gummies, these supplements are often sweetened and flavored to make them more pleasant to take. Chewable tablets are a great choice for anyone who has trouble swallowing pills or capsules.


  • Liquids: This form of supplement may be the easiest to swallow, and can even be given to infants or small children who are teething. Liquid vitamins are also great for adults, many of whom favor them for their great taste and easy-to-swallow formula. Plus, liquid formulas make it easier to modify dosage if necessary, and can be mixed into other liquids.


  • Pills: Possibly the most traditional type of supplement, vitamin pills are more difficult to swallow but typically contain few added ingredients. Pills are primarily intended to be taken by adults.


  • Capsules: A variation of pills, capsules often contain vitamins and minerals in powdered form. Capsules can be difficult to swallow for small children, and, like pills, are generally intended for adults. Capsules are more shelf-stable than most liquids, so for people who like to keep their supplements for longer, these may be a great option.


Each of these types of vitamins may be effective, but the experience you’ll have when taking them can differ. Different types of vitamins and supplements may also have different dosages, storage guidelines, and other recommendations as well.


To get the most out of your vitamins and supplements, it’s always wise to follow guidelines like dosage recommendations, storage rules, and expiration dates.


Where Do I Find The Storage And Dosage Guidelines For My Vitamins?

Most vitamins and supplements come with specific instructions for storage. Some forms of vitamins – mainly liquids – need to be stored in the fridge after opening, but can be shelf-stable before their protective seal is removed. Other vitamins simply need to be stored in a cool, dry place to stay fresh.


Following the printed expiration date on your vitamins may help to prevent any unwanted issues. Sticking within the expiration parameters that are printed on your vitamins’ container may also ensure that your vitamins are still as robust as possible.


You can typically find the storage and dosage guidelines – as well as other relevant warnings and instructions – printed on the side of the container that your vitamins or supplements came in. Make sure to read these instructions before you take your first dose!


Taking too much of certain supplements can leave you with uncomfortable side effects, and it’s always wise to stick with the guidelines for doses unless otherwise directed by your physician.


In addition, if your vitamins have passed their expiration date, you definitely will want to replace them with new, fresh ones to gain the most benefit and ensure they are not spoiled.


Once vitamins have passed their expiration date, it typically means they have lost some of their strength and are not as effective.




What Happens If I Take Expired Vitamins By Accident?

In general, if you take anything that is beyond its expiration date, you may be concerned about consuming something that has “gone bad” or has bacterial contamination. If you accidentally take a supplement that is past its expiration date, and you’re concerned, you can reach out to the poison control center to help you decide your next steps. Next steps could be as simple as monitoring your symptoms if there are any or immediately calling 911 depending on the severity of the situation.


Usually, however, there isn’t too much to worry about if you accidentally take expired vitamins, as they may have just lost some of their potency.


To make sure that you don’t accidentally take expired vitamins or supplements, you can set a notification on your phone or write yourself a note to remind you when your bottles need to be replaced. In most cases, you’ll have already gone through your bottle of vitamins before you actually reach their expiration date if you take them as part of your daily regimen.


However, if you take any “as-needed” supplements, these may be more important to keep tabs on and double check the expiration dates for.


What About Liquid Vitamins?

One form of supplement that requires a slightly different approach when it comes to expiration dates is liquid vitamins.


Liquids are a great way to support your daily nutrient needs, especially if you aren’t a fan of taking pills. A liquid multivitamin, probiotic, or other liquid supplement is easy to take, and you can find multiple different liquid supplement options from MaryRuth’s.


Our liquid vitamins and supplements are vegan, non-GMO, and suitable for many allergen-free diets. If you’re looking for a supplement that’s simple and easy to take, and tastes great, liquid vitamins are a great choice!


You can find MaryRuth’s selection of liquid supplements here!


While there are plenty of perks to taking liquid vitamins, there are also a few important guidelines to know about.


The first is that some of these vitamins need to be refrigerated after you open them. While liquid vitamins can remain shelf-stable for longer when they are sealed and unopened, some need to be kept cold in the fridge once you break that seal and start taking them.


MaryRuth’s liquid multivitamins and other supplements that need refrigeration after opening can last up to two years unopened on your shelf, and they can stay fresh for up to six months in the fridge after you’ve opened a bottle. While some liquid supplements require refrigeration, others can be stored in a cool, dry place after opening. However, similar to traditional supplements, if you are taking a dose each day, you’ll generally need a new bottle long before you reach the expiration date!


If you do end up passing the expiration date printed on your bottle of liquid vitamins, it’s best to throw the bottle away and just open or purchase a new one. Liquid vitamins, like many other supplements, can lose their potency after their printed expiration date, and it’s best to play it safe and replace a bottle that has expired.


MaryRuth’s vitamins and supplements typically contain enough servings to last around a month, some even longer! This gives you plenty of time to miss a few days and pick up where you left off without worrying about reaching the expiration date in most cases.


When Should I Talk To My Doctor?

When taking vitamins, it’s always wise to stick with the recommended dosage printed on your container. If you are considering increasing your intake of a specific vitamin or supplement, it’s best to consult your doctor first. Talking to your doctor before making changes to your supplement regimen can help you stay safe. Your doctor can advise you regarding any safety concerns with dosages, side effects, and anything else you might be worried about in relation to your vitamins and supplements.


Keep your healthcare provider in the loop whenever you make changes to your lifestyle, including adjusting the amount or types of vitamins and supplements that you take!


You can also talk to your doctor whenever you want additional information about the benefits of a specific supplement for your health in particular. That way, you’ll be able to stay informed about any new vitamins or supplements that you are considering taking.


Your doctor can also warn you about any potential interactions that certain vitamins or supplements might have with medications that you already take. Some supplements may be completely safe for some people, but have negative interactions with medications that you may take.


If your doctor has any concerns about a new supplement that you are introducing into your diet, they can provide guidance before you actually start the supplement. It’s always best not to navigate the world of vitamins, supplements, and nutrition on your own.


If you have questions, talk to your doctor – they can help you stay informed about your diet, lifestyle, and the vitamins and supplements that you add in to support your health!


How Should I Store My Vitamins To Keep Them Fresh?

To keep your vitamins as fresh as possible for as long as possible, follow these tips for storage:


  • Store shelf-stable vitamins in a cool, dry place. Moisture and extreme temperatures can affect their quality over time!


  • Refrigerate liquid vitamins that specify needing refrigeration after you’ve opened a bottle.


  • Protect your little ones and pets from your bottles! Keep vitamins and supplements closed and out of reach of children and pets.


  • Follow the expiration guidelines on your bottles. If a bottle of vitamins has passed its expiration date, throw it away! Play it safe and replace expired vitamins with new ones.


Good luck!


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