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Your Primer to Vitamin Expiration Dates

2 min read

We looked into vitamin expiration dates so you don't have to. Get the download on reading your vitamin labels and how to know if your vitamins are still good to take.
We looked into vitamin expiration dates so you don't have to. Get the download on reading your vitamin labels and how to know if your vitamins are still good to take.

Do vitamins expire? The short answer is yes. But not all dietary supplements are created equal, so allow us to elaborate.

We include an expiration date on the bottom of our bottles to help ensure the freshness and quality of your multivitamin. But here’s a fun fact: With a few exceptions, the FDA doesn’t require that dietary supplements include expiration or “best by” dates on their packaging. Either way, it’s important to know that after a certain amount of time, nutrients in a multivitamin could potentially degrade below the amounts that the label claims—or worse, cultivate unwanted microorganism growth (aka bacteria). How and why that happens really comes down to the way a multivitamin is formulated.

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Vitamins can degrade over time.

Like food, medicine, and beauty products, vitamins can have a limited shelf life. “Expiration dates are mostly about degradation—loss of the vitamin molecular form,” says Dr. Luke Bucci, PhD, CCN, CNS and our VP of Research and Development. In other words, when the nutrients in your multivitamin are no longer at their prime, they may start to break down—which means expired multivitamins may not be meeting their label claims. Barring other possible health concerns, “it’s unknown whether this is worrisome or not,” he says. “But it’s always a good idea to keep vitamins fresh.”

The formulation plays a major role.

If your multivitamin contains food-based ingredients or herbs (or it's a gummy or probiotic), it might be more prone to increased levels of bacteria, says Dr. Luke. (Your first clue might be a weird odor—in that case, toss it.) At Ritual, we use nutrients in ideal forms and send each batch of multivitamins through testing to ensure the quality and safety of our product.

Our expiration dates take into account the formulation of our nutrients, including our omega-3 DHA oil, since liquids tend to have a shorter shelf life than dry ingredients.

Take care of your vitamins.

In order to keep your vitamins fresh, we recommend storing them in a cool, dark, dry place like on a pantry shelf, nightstand drawer, or medicine cabinet. But our most valuable piece of advice is this: Take your vitamins! If you’re sticking with your two capsules a day, you should be right on schedule to finish each bottle in one month.

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