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Expired Supplements and Vitamins and Minerals


Supplements, Vitamins, and Minerals that have expired are safe, unless the nutrient is a sensitive one or in liquid form. Example of sensitive nutrient: Vitamin E, oils, and fats stored in pills, capsules, or bottles may in fact lose a lot of nutrition over time.

However, most nutrients, such as calcium, zinc, iron, minerals, etc. will not degrade over time in a bad enough way to harm. Multi-vitamin tablets and capsules will still be very beneficial even after the expiry date if they don't have sensitive nutrients in them (for example ones that oxidize).

The reality is most multi-vitamins will last years and years after the expiration date. But to increase sales and to increase only slight results from the pill, the expiration date is stamped on the pill. Don't take the expiration date as a serious danger notice.


Most minerals for example, are the same as rocks. Rocks are not alive, and are not easily affected!(so unless your calcium and zinc pills have a river running over top of them all day long, they aren't going to be affected very much at all).
Fats and liquid supplements are different, because they can be oxidized and affected by light.
If your supplement contains anything that would be fatty or raw, such as vitamin E, the vitamin may just degrade a bit over time. If your supplement contains liquids, including water and others, it can definitely go bad past the expiry date (i.e. liquid mineral supplements, liquid vitamin supplements, bottles of flax oil).
If your vitamin or supplement is in liquid form, do not take a risk and use the supplement if it is say 2-5 years past expiry.
With drugs, the idea is similar to multi-vitamins, in that they generally just very very slowly degrade if certain ingredients are in them, but most of the time they do not degrade significant enough amounts to measure. However some drugs do change over time (very few and rare ones).

With drugs, even though most won't be affected much over time, it is best to throw out expired bottles.

With pills/capsule form multi-vitamins that contain no fats or sensitive substances, they have a very long shelf life with expiration dates being of low importance.

If a liquid nutrient such as vitamin E has been stored in a fridge and the capsules are sealed shut in gelatin, it may be worthwhile to take the vitamin E even if it is passed the expiry date by 3-6 months. It may help your body or have no effect on it, or slightly harm it. Oxidation can be slightly cancerous. Dehydrated milks that have been exposed to light and heat for months/years can be slightly cancerous - although there are other nutrients in the milk that could outweigh the oxidized fat carcinogens.

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