Why do supplements have expiry dates?

Supplements just like food have expiry dates. This may be alarming for some when you accidentally take an expired supplement. However, don’t be worried, supplements don’t technically expire in the traditional sense. You may be thinking that expired supplements may become dangerous if ingested, but that isn’t the case. To put it simply, they just become less potent, meaning less effective the longer they’ve expired. In addition, many companies aren’t obliged to put an expiry date on supplements, but some add a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ section to indicate to customers when the vitamins may become less effective.

The typical shelf life for most vitamins is around the 2-year mark, however, this may vary depending on the properties of the vitamins, for example, if the vitamins are in a chewable form, they’re most likely to absorb more moisture than a standard pill form vitamin. When stored correctly, vitamins in a pill form often retain their potency for numerous years. For example, our Viteyes products contain this information on the back of the pack, which is easily detectable.

Taking an expired supplement is very unlikely to cause you harm. Unlike food, vitamins don’t go bad in the normal sense, and they don’t become toxic or poisonous. Currently, there haven’t been any documented cases of illness or death resulting from expired vitamins. Expiration dates on vitamins and dietary supplements are mostly in place to ensure consumers receive the best quality products. For best results, avoid using vitamins that are past their expiration date. These vitamins may not be as potent and therefore you might not be able to see any results that were ‘promised’ on the packaging. If you’ve got vitamins that have only just expired this shouldn’t be a problem, like mentioned above the expiration date is a guideline and most pills retain their potency for an average of two years.

Are there any indications as to whether I can take an expired supplement?

Yes, there are plenty of ways to determine whether taking an expired vitamin is a good idea or not, if the vitamin has an unusual smell or if it has changed colour, we advise you not to take this supplement, bin it immediately, and buy a new pack. For example, if your MacuShield GOLD becomes speckled or has unusual dots then this may be a sign that the vitamins have gone mouldy, never take supplements that have an unusual texture, and try and store the vitamins in a dry place, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Always read the storage instructions on the pack.

Did you know that storing some supplements in the refrigerator can extend their shelf life and keep their potency? The vitamins that can be placed in the fridge are:

  • Liquid Vitamins. Liquid vitamins are fresher and more potent than pill form, so they require refrigeration to maintain this freshness and potency.
  • Fish Oils
  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Probiotics

We hope you found this blog informative, we have a wide variety of blogs on different eye health topics. If you have any questions about our products, our friendly team is always happy to help, head over to our ‘news’ section, to read more or click here.