Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on December 07, 2010

Sources

American Dietetic Association. U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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Video Transcript

CAROLYN O'NEIL: Well, I've remembered to take my daily multivitamin-- that's a good thing. But what's wrong with this picture? Well, I can tell you what it is-- the vitamins are stored next to the kitchen sink. In fact, storing your vitamins anywhere in the kitchen where there's moisture and there's heat is not a good thing because it actually reduces the potency of the vitamins. They won't last as long.

The other place people like to keep their vitamins is in the bathroom. Again, not a good choice to have them in the bathroom cabinet with showers and the heat and the moisture. Instead, think of cool, dry places in your home that are convenient to your routine like the family breakfast nook, your dressing or bedside table, even your office, but not your car.

The key is to choose a spot away from moisture, heat, and direct light. Keeping your vitamin tablets in the refrigerator is another poor choice. That's because going from cold temperatures to room temperature and back again can cause condensation, and that moisture affects the potency of vitamins.

While the FDA does not require that vitamin companies put expiration dates on their products, most of them do anyway. And it's a good thing to look for. If the expiration is out of date, it doesn't mean that the product is bad for you, it just means that the vitamins might have lost their potency. Another thing to keep in mind when you're storing your vitamins at home, keep them away from children. Even if they have a child-proof cap, it's just not worth the risk because vitamins taken in high doses can be toxic.

So here are the important points to remember. Avoid heat, moisture, and direct light. Avoid using the refrigerator unless directed to store them there. Examine the expiration date. And keep all supplements far away from children.