Do Vitamin Supplements Expire?

Taking daily vitamins can be a helpful addition to your diet. They provide essential nutrients that many people don't get from their normal diets, such as vitamin B, vitamin D, and calcium, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. However, you may notice that some supplement bottles have a date on them. It could be written several different ways, such as "Best by," "Sell by," or "Use by." Some don't have a date at all because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't require manufacturers to add them for vitamin supplements (via Insider). But should we be concerned about our vitamin's expiration date?

Experts suggest that when it comes to vitamins, consuming them past their "Best by" or "Use by" date is usually not a health risk, according to Healthline. It's more likely they lose their potency over time. Chelsea Tersavich, Nutrition Outreach Fellowship participant for the Physician Assistant Foundation, tells Insider, "The breakdown can be to the vitamin itself or the compounds it is mixed with to create the vitamin tablet, pill, chewable, or gummy."

How quickly do vitamins lose potency?

If a manufacturer chooses to have a date on their labels, they are required to make sure their product will have 100% of the ingredients listed until that date, Tod Cooperman, the president of, tells the New York Times. Sometimes, the potency can last far beyond the expiration date. According to Dr. Shanna Levine, vitamins can stay safe to consume up to two years after the date on the bottle if they are properly stored (via Prevention). In general, this means not moving the vitamins into another container, keeping them in cool, dry locations, and away from sunlight, according to CBS News. However, different vitamins may have different storage instructions so be sure to check the bottle for details.

While there are generally no side effects from consuming expired vitamins (assuming they aren't moldy), the loss of potency may be a problem for some people. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends pregnant people take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. If a pregnant person consumes an expired folic acid supplement, they may not be getting the recommended amount.

Generally, it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to expired vitamins and if you're discarding them, you can follow the United States Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for safe disposal.