Taking a probiotic supplement to support gut health? That means you’re also taking positive steps to support your overall wellbeing with all those beneficial live bacteria. But knowing that the bacteria are alive, one might wonder: do probiotics expire?*
The short answer is, yes, there is such a thing as probiotic expiration—as living things, probiotics do die—but when that is and what that means depends on the specific supplement at hand. We consulted our team of experts and are here to explain exactly how probiotic expiration works, what to watch out for, and why Synbiotic+ does not require refrigeration.
What Is the Shelf Life of Probiotics?
The most accurate place to look for the shelf life of probiotics is on the packaging of the supplement itself, which should also list the CFU count, or number of colony-forming units of live probiotic bacteria, contained within the supplement. Most probiotics have a shelf life of about a year, but some expire sooner or later depending on how they are encapsulated and whether they require refrigeration. Some probiotics, due to their design as well as what bacterial strains are used, are less stable than others.
One might also wonder: can you take expired probiotics? It is recommended that probiotics be used before their expiration date to help ensure what's on the label is what's inside the probiotic. Testing performed on expired probiotics has shown that after their expiration date, their effectiveness declines over time. (1)
The Shelf Life of Synbiotic+
When we were designing our Synbiotic+, we wanted to make sure that it was as convenient to take as possible to encourage people to take it every day. That’s why we made it shelf stable (aka: does not need to be refrigerated), with a moisture-controlled bottle designed to protect its probiotic strains. (2) We also used two of the world’s most clinically studied strains, Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis (BB-12®). According to our Director of Innovation and Product Development, Dr. Shilpa Raut, Synbiotic+ has a shelf life of about 1 year. “We have run stability studies to ensure that Synbiotic+ product meets label claims for 1 year from date of manufacturing when stored in the recommended conditions.”*
And what are those storage recommendations? Easy: we recommend storing Synbiotic+ right on the shelf next to your multivitamin. As Dr. Raut says, “We have designed the Synbiotic+ packaging to help maintain the stability of the biotic strains. Hence it's recommended to keep them in their packaging. Always make sure to store probiotics and any other supplements in a cool dry place away from sunlight.”
At Ritual, we work hard to ensure the probiotics in Synbiotic+ are formulated and stored to maintain their potency up until the expiration date. Now that you’re well informed on the shelf life of probiotics and what that expiration date means, you can feel confident about what you’re putting into your gut.