Dietary Supplement Expiration Dates

In contrast to prescription and over-the-counter medications, manufacturers of nutritional supplements are not required by the FDA to print expiration dates on their products. However, many do some voluntarily. If there is a labeled expiration date, the company is required to have stability data demonstrating that the product will still have 100% viability of all the listed ingredients until that date.

Over time, most of the ingredients in nutritional supplements gradually decompose. This makes the product less potent, although typically not dangerous. To address his phenomenon, many companies add higher amounts of the ingredients listed on the label, especially those like vitamins C and B12 that decompose rapidly.

Most supplements retain their full potency until 2 years after the label date. Probiotics, liquids and oils, which are less stable, typically retain full potency for about a year. Be sure to store your supplements in a dark, dry place, except those that have direction labels requiring refrigeration.

When deciding on supplement brands, check out consumerlab.com, an independent testing company, which routinely analyzes competitive brands and reports on the veracity of their ingredients as well as cost.