Can I Still Take Vitamins After the Expiration Date?

  • Author:
    Betty Kovacs Harbolic, MS, RD

    Betty is a Registered Dietitian who earned her B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from Marymount College of Fordham University and her M.S. degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is the Co-Director and Director of nutrition for the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

Is it absolutely necessary to get rid of vitamins by the expiration date on the bottle? Or is there a certain amount of time that they can be kept after that date? How long after that date are they still effective?

Doctor's response

The expiration date on food and supplements has become an ending point for some and a starting point for others. I have heard many people discuss how much time you have left once you hit the expiration date whereas others get rid of something the day before the expiration date.

The expiration date on vitamins is there for a reason. The date lets you know when the vitamins will no longer be effective. I would not recommend taking them past the expiration date. If you find that your vitamins are expiring before you are able to finish them, you would be better off buying them in smaller quantities. You want to get all of the vitamins and minerals from your supplement, so take them as instructed before they lose their effectiveness.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"General Information and Resources for Dietary Supplements"

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Last Editorial Review: 6/28/2017