Science

Can You Take Expired Vitamins? Your Primer to Multivitamin 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.

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Do vitamins expire? The short answer is yes. But keep in mind that 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 our multivitamins. 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. How and why that happens really comes down to the way a multivitamin is formulated.*

Just another reason why we take so much pride in our formulation method - so you can trust that you’re getting high-quality and traceable labeled ingredients.

Ritual multivitamin bottles have an expiration date so you don't have to worry about expired vitamins.

How Long Do Vitamins Last?

Multivitamins can degrade over time. Like food, medicine, and beauty products, multivitamins 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. In other words, when the nutrients in a 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 multivitamins fresh.”*

The Formulation Plays a Major Role

If a multivitamin contains food-based ingredients or herbs (or it's a gummy or probiotic), it might be more prone to increased levels of microorganisms, 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.* We’re aiming to take the skepticism out of choosing the best multivitamin and sticking to it.

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 Those Vitamins

In order to keep multivitamins fresh, we recommend storing them in a cool, dark, dry place like on a pantry shelf or nightstand drawer. But our most valuable piece of advice is this: take a multivitamin! If you’re sticking with our recommendation of two capsules a day, you should be right on schedule to finish each bottle in one month.* Now, that’s a habit we can get behind.

Meet Our Expert

This Article Features Advice from Members of Our Science Team.

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, PhD, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, PhD, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

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Meet the Author

vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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