Ever sort of…forget about various supplements that you’ve got sitting there for months or years on end? I call this, the supplement graveyard where old supplements go to die. That by the time that you do search for a bottle of, say vitamin C that you know is lurking around somewhere, you realize it’s passed the expiration date. Which begs the question:
Is it safe to take expired vitamins?
I get this question a lot on my Facebook Fan Page, so I thought I would give you guys the scoop. And something I’ve thrown into this week’s video, how to dispose of supplements safely.
But first…how do you dispose of expired supplements?
I mean chances are, you probably haven’t even really thought about this much. I mean a little dumparoo of vitamins in the trash or in the toilet is no biggie right? Well remember, when you do so, it’s not like it’s just dumping into the ether and poof! It’s gone. Nope, animals can get into it, so dispose of it, add your supplements to a bowl with a 1/4 cup of warm water. They’ll breakdown (and the timing of it will depend on the supplement) and then you’ll mix it with either kitty litter, sawdust or coffee – so essentially an inedible source so the animals won’t get into it.
Okay now a breakdown of expired supplements!
So the truth is, it’s not harmful at all. The expiration date is the date when the supplement is at it’s highest potency, so when it expires it begins to lose it’s potency. How much depends on the vitamin as some vitamins deteriorate faster. Plus if you’re storing it in a cupboard above your stove then they’ll be exposed to heat – a big no no.
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What about herbal tinctures? Do they expire fast?
According to Health Canada, herbal tinctures are good for 5 years passed the expiration date, but many herbalists and Naturopathic Doctors I’ve spoken to estimate 10-15 years!
What about probiotics? If I take them expired, will I poop myself?
Nope, not at all! It’s safe to say that most probiotics are good for 90 days passed the expiration date. But remember that not all probiotics are created equal.
Can you really bring refrigerated probiotics with you while traveling?
Absolutely and I have. In fact, I would never buy a supposed shelf-stable probiotic because I honestly don’t buy that I’m getting the strength or quality needed. So what’s a gut loving gal to do? Wrap your probiotic bottle in tin foil and store in a fridge when you can. I did this method back 10 years ago when I travelled to Brazil and never got sick. My ex, who ate out of the same pot as I did, got the worse food poisoning I had ever seen (and no, he never took the probiotics).