Quality survey Health benefits Safety Reading labels Ask the supplier Standards & regulations


Testing news
Ask the expert
Contact us
Privacy policy

Ask the Expert

Shelf life of supplements

Dietary supplements are comprised of a wide range of different kinds of materials, and therefore display a broad range of sensitivity to temperature and light. Thus, some supplements tend to deteriorate or lose their potency faster than others and may need special storage conditions.

Should dietary supplements be kept in the dark or in the refrigerator to lengthen their shelf life?

Generally speaking, all dietary supplements should be tightly sealed and protected from light. This is usually not a problem since most supplements are sold in opaque plastic or colored jars or bottles.


Minerals should be stored in dry, room temperature or cool areas. These include both macrominerals (calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, sulfur) and trace minerals (boron, cobalt, copper, chromium, iron, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, vanadium, zinc) -- including chelated mineral forms.

Vitamins, herbals, and amino acids

Vitamins, herbal remedies (botanicals) and amino acids should be stored in dry, cool areas.

Fatty acids and antioxidants

Fatty acids and antioxidants, including vitamin E and the carotenoids (beta-carotene, xanthins, luteins, etc.), should be stored in dry, cool areas and tightly sealed to protect them from air oxidation. Polyunsaturated oils are especially vulnerable to oxidative damage at room temperature. Thus, store all essential fatty acids in dark bottles in the refrigerator once they are opened.

Temperature-sensitive supplements

A few temperature-sensitive dietary supplements, such as SAMe (SAM-e, S-Adenosylmethionine, Sammy, Samie), should be tightly sealed and stored in the freezer.

Other supplements

With all this said and done, the shelf-life of most, if not all, dietary supplements is much longer than the usual period of normal consumption or use. In addition, reputable manufacturers and suppliers conduct aging and shelf-life research and put expiration dates on their labels.

Therefore, simply leaving the dietary supplement in its closed bottle in a closed cupboard for normal periods of use will not cause any loss of potency.


Sources: Paul Wakfer (was Tom Matthews) & Louis Scarmoutzos




Meet our quality advisory panel.

Who is the editor@ supplementquality.com?

See other Q&As:

General quality issues

Judging quality

Getting enough vitamins

Selecting vitamins

Natural vs. synthetic vitamins

Storing supplements

Do my pills dissolve?



Talc as ingredient

Specific supplements


Chelated minerals

Folic acid, B6, B12, L-arginine

False positive for methamphetamine on drug test of ephedra users

Muscle & weight gain

Muscle and weight gain

Muscle building for women


Weight loss

Weight loss

Health benefits Safety Reading labels Ask the supplier Standards & regulations Contact us

(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.