The main issue with taking vitamins after their expiration date is that they lose their potency and therefore their effectiveness. Generally, an expiration date indicates the last date of their highest level of potency. You are likely taking a vitamin to get some health benefits, so you want your vitamins to be as effectively potent as possible. If a label says it contains a certain amount of a vitamin, after a year or two there may only be half as much because it breaks down over time. It is difficult to quantify how much is degraded, therefore, its best to just throw away expired vitamins and supplements.
Expired vitamins do not go bad like food does and they do not turn into poison or toxins. Many expiration dates are set very conservatively because it benefits the supplement company. It is not dangerous to take expired vitamins, but as mentioned, the vitamins will lose their potency. There have been no documented cases of illness or death from expired vitamins, but throw the supplements away if they have
an off smell or have changed color.
If not stored properly, vitamins will lose their potency even faster. Exposure to heat, light, and air can cause vitamins to degrade faster. Store the vitamins in their original containers in a cool, dry place. Do not allow the vitamins to be exposed to heat or light. Many of the B-vitamins are very sensitive to light exposure. Some supplements require refrigeration or other special storage, so always follow the directions on the bottle.
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