North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Is it time to toss your supplements?


August 1, 2018 | View PDF

Have you bought supplements, health powders, elixirs and more only to leave them in the cabinet to gather dust? If you stumble upon older items you purchased and forgot to take, it may be time to toss them. Some supplements may be safe to take, but others will need to go.

Your supplements may not have any expiration date as the FDA does not require one. Many manufactures will voluntarily add an expiration date on a supplement to show when it has reached its max potency as some ingredients will degrade over time. Meaning if you take it after the fact, it may not harm you, it’s just not as potent. Most supplements will not harm you if taken after they have expired, however it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Picking better supplements: When you have the opportunity try picking supplements that have been recently manufactured. Typically they will be more potent as the manufacturer takes into account shipping and handling time. If it’s been sitting on the shelf for months, it’s already begun to deteriorate. Also look for higher quality supplements that include an expiration date. If your supplements do not, just mark on them with a permanent marker the day you bought them. That way when you do dust them off you will know when they were purchase.

Safely Storing Supplements: Some supplements will come in a dark glass bottle. These are best to leave in the bottle as they are packaged that way to protect them from light. These should be kept in a temperature controlled place, free from humidity. Perhaps a cabinet, but not right next to the shower where it will get humid. Some supplements are best stored in the refrigerator, but not all. Check the package as some will collect condensation each time you open them. Large canisters of protein powder or other powders will deteriorate more quickly as each time you open the container oxygen will get in and slowly degrade the supplement. It’s best to purchase powders in single serve packages when possible.

The best place to store them is a place where you will remember to take them though.

Time to toss: Take a few moments to clean out your supplement and old medication supply. Anything that is expired and looks sketchy, toss it. There is no need to risk it. If it’s a liquid supplement you should definitely toss it after it’s expiration.

They’re expired, now what: Time to toss them. Please do not throw supplements in the sink or down the drains. They can get into the water systems or the soil and cause problems. Either leave them in the bottles and throw them out, dissolve them in a plastic bag and throw them out, or look for a “green” pharmacy near you who may have a disposal center. Some local police will take old supplements and medications as well to safely dispose of them.

Emily Countryman is a board certified health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness located at 2639 172nd St. NE Suite 104 in Smokey Point/Marysville She can be reached online at


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