This Is How You Should Be Storing Your 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 to keep your pills from degrading.

Forego the fridge

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Before the question of storing vitamins and supplements comes into play, it's important to figure out which ones you really need to take in the form of a pill. For example, these 8 vitamins aren't worth your money and can even be dangerous. Only after you've done your research and talked to your doctor should you purchase and safely store the pills. 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.

Bypass the bathroom

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Here's your dose of irony for the day: You should never keep medication or supplements in your medicine cabinet. 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. Once you've moved the drugs to a safer location, follow these steps to give your medicine cabinet a much-needed makeover.

Reconsider the kitchen

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Since vitamins are often taken with food, it seems only logical to keep them in the kitchen. Just check with a doctor to see if there are any foods you should avoid while taking certain supplements. (This is also one of the most important questions to ask before taking prescription meds.)  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.

Think high and dry

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Nutritional supplements may seem (or even be) “natural”—like these natural supplements that can clear up your acne—but they’re also potentially poisonous when taken in high doses. In fact, they're the number one cause of household poisoning. 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.

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Don’t redistribute

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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. While you're at it, make sure you're not making any of these vitamin mistakes either.

Check the expiration date

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You already know to check for these foods in your fridge that expire quickly, and doing the same for vitamins is equally important. 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. Use these vitamin secrets that doctors only tell their friends to find out what medical professionals really think about the pills you're popping.

[Sources: NYTIMES.com, LIVESTRONG.com, WebMD]

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