How to Store Vitamins and Supplements

Refrigerator or counter? Kitchen or bathroom? It really does make a difference where you store your vitamins and supplements. Learn the basics below.

By Reader's Digest Editors

Refrigerator or counter? Kitchen or bathroom? It really does make a difference where you store your vitamins and supplements. Learn the basics below.

 

1. Forego the fridge.
For optimal potency, vitamins and other dietary supplements should be stored in a cool and dry place. A refrigerator is certainly cool, but it’s also full of moisture, which can reduce vitamins’ shelf life and effectiveness. The exceptions to this rule are supplements whose packaging specifically recommends refrigeration.

 

2. Bypass the bathroom.
Storing your vitamins in the same small room in which you shower means exposing them to heat and humidity on a daily (or at least frequent) basis, even if they’re stashed away in the medicine cabinet.

 

3.  Reconsider the kitchen.
Since vitamins are often taken with food, it seems only logical to keep them in the kitchen. The problem is that the temperature and humidity in your kitchen rises and falls as you use the oven and stovetop. If storing your vitamins in close proximity to your food is important, opt for the dining room or breakfast nook instead.

 

4. Think high and dry.
Nutritional supplements may seem (or even be) “natural,” but they’re also potentially poisonous when taken in high doses. Store them as you would any medication, in their original containers and out of reach of children. Be sure to avoid any cabinets or shelves that are close to windows or heating pipes where temperature and humidity might fluctuate.

 

5. Don’t redistribute.
Another reason to keep vitamins in their original containers is that they may require a specific type of packaging for optimal potency. Some supplements lose their effectiveness when exposed to light, for example, and must be stored in opaque or dark-colored containers. Avoid transferring your vitamins to larger or smaller bottles for convenience or combining them with other supplements in the same container.

 

6. Check the expiration date.
Taking an expired supplement won’t kill you, but it probably won’t do anything positive for you either. Vitamins lose potency with age, so taking them after their expiration date may not produce the health benefits you’re hoping for.

 

Sources: NYTIMES.com, LIVESTRONG.com, WebMD

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

Sending Message
how we use your e-mail

  • Your Comments

    • Gia

      “Room temperature”, that is so annoying. Some people have 65 degrees or even less . For others it’s 77 degrees or so. Some people don’t mind even 80 degrees, so “room temperature” is not clear enough.

    • maguro_01

      Buying supplements in large bottles to save makes preserving them after opening important. Fish oil tabs, in particular, smell rancid if left out. Refrigerating them on a door shelf is probably harmless and they don’t go rancid. Nearly a year’s supply of multivitamin tabs is a common size. Yet their smell changes after a few months. Should they be refrigerated or should they only be bought in smaller size bottles? ??? Other supplements I’ve tried have not had this problem so far. As the article suggests, they are neither in the kitchen nor the bathroom.