Is it Safe to Take Expired Calcium, Magnesium or Zinc?

Question: Is It Safe To Take Expired Calcium, Magnesium, And Zinc Caplets?

Asked by jreed

I have a bottle of 250 calcium, magnesium, and zinc caplets that expired 5 years ago. Are these safe to take?


It is not uncommon to find products in your medicine cabinet that have expired. While 5 years is quite a long time, there is likely no risk in taking the expired vitamins, though it is quite possible that they will have lost some of their potency. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Dietary Supplements regulates all vitamins, minerals, and supplements. While the FDA does not require that supplements have expiration dates, most reputable companies will list an expiration date of when they feel the vitamin or mineral will being losing its potency.

My advice would be to discard the caplets since it’s been so long after their expiration date. You will likely not see the full effect of the supplement on your health. Make sure that in the future you are storing the caplets properly to avoid premature loss of potency. Store them in a cool, dry place with no exposure to direct sunlight. If the vitamins or minerals have a strange odor or are discolored, discard them immediately.

You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional.

Ask HealthCentral
Meet Our Writer
Ask HealthCentral

At its core, HealthCentral is about patients helping patients. That’s why we’ve created Ask HealthCentral, so you – the patient or caregiver – can ask HealthCentral’s experts your pressing questions about living with a chronic condition, or managing a healthy lifestyle. Comprised of patients and medical professionals, our Ask HealthCentral board addresses the questions you submit through our question form. Have a question? Ask HealthCentral.