I have a bottle of 250 calcium, magnesium, and zinc caplets that expired five years ago.
Are these safe to take?
While expiration dates are typically there for a reason, and five years is a long time post-expiration, according to the FDA, minerals and vitamins are not required to have expiration dates. The only reason a manufacturer may provide expiration dates is to convince you to buy more after the "expiration date."
Vitamins, however, do lose potency after a long shelf-life, so you could potentially be taking a very weak vitamin. What's more important than the expiration date is the way in which you have stored your vitamins and minerals. They need to be kept in a cool, dry and dark location to keep their value for the longest amount of time.
Even still, five years is quite a long time - might be a good idea to invest in some fresh vitamins and minerals!
If it is a mineral, it won't expire. The thing to think about is what has it been exposed to, over the years. If it has other ingredients in it such as fat soluable vitamins or energized vitamins like D then that portion may lose potency but minerals do not unless acted upon by some other substance. A rock made of a pure mineral can sit out in the rain for years and years and whatever is left for you to see is still good. It may dissolve with water and wash away but whatever is left is still good.
They would be great for elderly urinary incontinence. My grandmother took 10 yr old calcium, magnesium, and zinc caplets and the side effect was stopping it. She did tests and trials on herself and her brother. They are in their 80s/90s.