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There is no question that your body depends on the vitamins and minerals in your diet to function at its best, but researchers continue to go back and forth on the effectiveness of taking a pill to improve health. But even though there is much debate about whether vitamins and supplements are really beneficial, that hasn’t stopped us from taking them. The question is how long do vitamins last?
As winter approaches, and certainly, with the arrival of Covid-19, people have been looking at vitamins with new interest. Most people dread falling victim to flu and joint aches and pains and they take a daily boost to banish the sniffles, but how long do vitamins last? Can you take the leftover vitamin C tablets that you bought last Winter? Do vitamins have an expiry date?
Investigate Before You Buy
There is certainly a vast array of vitamin supplements out there and the best immune supplements have evidence for preventing colds and flu, but can they still work for you when you bought them last year? How long have they been standing on the pharmacy shelves?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require the manufacturers of vitamin and dietary supplements to put an expiration date on their packaging.
There are, however, some companies that do voluntarily, put a ‘use by’ date on their container labeling. If you do not find this, there are research scientists who tell us that the typical shelf life for vitamins is 2 years. Vitamins in tablet form, when stored correctly, can retain their potency for a number of years.
They Become Less Potent
How long do vitamins last is not a case really of vitamins deteriorating as in becoming unsafe to ingest, but rather a case of them becoming less potent with time? But then again, the rate at which vitamins lose their potency will also differ.
This is because of the way the vitamins were manufactured, when they were manufactured, and how they have been stored.
It is also important to know that there are some vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin K and thiamine that break down quicker than other vitamins. It is interesting to know that vitamin C, being a water-soluble vitamin, is not stored in the body.
How Long Do Vitamins last – Is It Good For Health?
But how long do capsules last that have fish oil in them? Does the fish oil expire and what about plant-based oils? Would not that be a better choice? Fish oil can spoil and there can be side effects with the person consuming expired fish oil capsules.
Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids and it is quite possible for the supplements to deteriorate because of improper lighting and temperatures with their storage. Some probiotics too, although not vitamins, are made from yeasts and live bacteria and can also become less effective once expired.
Omega-3 fatty acids that have this oil are important for the proper functioning of all tissues of the body, but researchers tell us that they are e best obtained through a plant-based diet and supplements.
Scientists with plant-based supplements always conduct rigorous tests, more so on the key ingredients to see how they behave in different conditions and storage facilities. This guides them in knowing what expiry date to put on the container.
There is no doubt that healthy eating still is the best source of vitamins and minerals and vitamin supplements are not designed to be a substitute for good food. But if you are in circumstances where you do not have access to constant good food, they can be a good nutritional back-up. There are other good reasons to use vitamins as they can help with preventing many diseases.
How Long Do Vitamins last – Do Your Own Detective Work
When all is said and done as regards how long do vitamins last, the whole idea is to do research first of all. Do what you can to assess the quality, safety, and efficacy of the vitamins you want to take and read up on their manufacture.
You want to make sure you buy your vitamins from a reputable source and that you are getting a quality product. When you bring the vitamins home, store them away from extreme heat and sunlight.
Store them in a cool, darkish cupboard away from the likes of microwaves and stoves. For the best results, start using them right away and continue with them till the container is empty. These are just general guides on how to become a more discerning vitamin user.