You wouldn’t leave milk sitting out on the counter or stash frozen spinach in the pantry—but do you put the same care into storing your supplements properly? Yes, there is a right and wrong way to store your supplements—and it can make the difference between reaping the benefits of your regimen and wasting your hard-earned cash.
3 Tips For Proper Supplement Storage
The right way to store a supplement depends on the supplement itself. Keep the following guidelines for storing your supplement in mind.
1. Take Note Of Temperature
Ever notice the instructions on most supplement bottles that read “store in a cool, dry place?” Don’t ignore them.
“It’s important to store supplements properly because storage temperature can effect product quality,” explains Brian Tanzer, M.S., C.N.S., nutritionist and Manager of Scientific Affairs for The Vitamin Shoppe.
Avoid storing supplements in the bathroom, where moisture and heat—both of which can damage supplements—accumulate, Tanzer says. Otherwise, every time you take a shower, you could sabotage your supplements’ effectiveness.
Some supplements, meanwhile, require an even cooler home. This is most common with probiotics, which might contain strains of bacteria that are sensitive to heat and moisture.
“Though most dietary supplements do not require refrigeration, some companies put ‘keep refrigerated’ on their product labels,” Tanzer says. These companies typically have a refrigerated supply chain, meaning their products are kept cold from storage through shipping, Tanzer adds. Follow the label instructions and pop these supplements in the fridge.
2. Keep Light, Air, And Moisture Out
Ideally, you’d store supplement bottles in dark places—like inside the cupboard—in order to avoid light’s potential impact on their stability and potency, says Tanzer.
And keep those bottles closed tightly, since exposure of certain ingredients to the air can also mess with their stability and potency.
Also, avoid reaching into a supplement bottle when your hands are wet. Doing so exposes the contents of the entire bottle to moisture, which can—you guessed it—affect the product’s stability and potency.
3. Stick To Proper Packaging
Maybe you got carried away at the Container Store or simply want to better organize your supplement routine. Either way, Tanzer recommends keeping your supplements in the bottles they came in.
“Supplements come in specific packaging for a reason,” he says. “Some utilize a desiccant-lined bottle to help keep moisture out, while those particularly sensitive to moisture come in a blister pack.”
Think twice before throwing your supplements in a plastic baggy. “A plastic bag is not the ideal place to store supplements long-term,” Tanzer says. “Ingredient stability evaluations are based on the packaging the manufacturer uses.” (Plastic baggies don’t do much to keep light and moisture from messing with your supps.)
If you prefer to take your supplements on the go, use a proper pill case. “Most pill cases are high quality and are opaque to keep light out,” Tanzer says. Still, don’t stash away more than a week’s worth of supplements at a time.
The Bottom Line
“Manufacturers put specific storage directions on the label for a reason,” Tanzer says. “They perform stability studies on products in their original packaging and under specific guidelines.”
To ensure you get the most out of them, always store your supplements according to the label directions.