Do Vitamin C Supplements Go Bad or Lose Potency?

How Does Vitamin C Degrade?

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate. It can undergo a type of chemical reaction known as oxidation, which changes its chemical form. The oxidized product of vitamin C is known as dehydroascorbic acid, or DHAA. Although this compound can be converted back into vitamin C, that chemical reaction does not occur naturally.

Storage Conditions Matter

Another thing that affects how quickly a vitamin C supplement is broken down is how it is stored. Once the container is open, the supplement will begin to degrade more quickly, so unopened vitamin C supplements have a longer shelf- life than opened ones. Keeping vitamins in the bathroom or kitchen, where the humidity can rise, can increase the rate at which they degrade. Vitamins should be stored in a cool and dry part of the house, such as the bedroom.

Considerations for Taking Vitamin C

Not all vitamin C supplements have printed expiration dates, and you can still take old vitamin C tablets. However, if they have changed color or begun to dissolve, they won't be as effective. Do not take higher doses of the supplement to counteract this loss of potency, however, because you may accidentally take too much vitamin C. This can cause diarrhea and other health problems.

Adding Vitamin C to Your Diet

Getting your vitamin C from a balanced diet is always the best choice. The recommended intake for vitamin C for males age 19 or more is 75 mg; for women, the DV is 60 mg. You'll find vitamin C in a variety of fruits and vegetables, with the highest concentration being in grapefruit, sweet yellow peppers, kiwi, broccoli, chili peppers and greens, such as kale, parsley and mustard spinach. Some ways to boost your vitamin C intake are:

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