Vitamin storage turns out to be, yes, important

March 9, 2010

Looks like a Flintstone vitamin!

Where do you store your vitamins?  We keep our vitamins in the kitchen and I know people who store them in the bathroom. The bathroom and kitchen seem two logical places to store them and for most of us, where we keep them is how we can remember to take them. Apparently  then, most of us are headed down the path to scurvy.

Maybe not really, but a new study reported on WebMD notes that the high humidity and temperatures often found in bathrooms and kitchens can degrade the potency of vitamin C and shorten the shelf life of vitamin supplements.  Most types of vitamin C are apparently prone to a process called deliquescence, in which humidity causes a water-soluble substance to dissolve. Researcher Lisa Mauer, associate professor of food science at Purdue University, said in a news release, “The humidity in your kitchen or bathroom can cycle up quite high, depending on how long of a shower you take, for example, and can get higher than 98%. “

Even with the bottles closed tightly, deliquescence can occur and vitamin C can be completely eliminated from the supplement.  Researchers say keeping vitamin supplements out of warm, humid rooms can help prolong their effectiveness.

Brown spots are usually the first sign of nutrient degradation, especially on children’s vitamins.  “They’re not necessarily unsafe, but why give a vitamin to a kid if it doesn’t have the vitamin content you’re hoping to give them?” Mauer says. “You’re just giving them candy at that point with a high sugar content.”

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