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Refrigerating Supplements: What you should know

Refrigerating Supplements: What you should know

Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines, including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • Why Refrigerate Supplements?
  • Types of Supplements That Require Refrigeration
  • Supplements That Should Not Be Refrigerated
  • Proper Refrigeration Practices
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid
  • Alternatives to Refrigeration
  • Impact on Supplement Efficacy
  • Conclusion

Proper storage is critical for maintaining the potency and safety of dietary supplements. Refrigeration is a common method used to preserve certain supplements, but understanding when and why this is necessary is essential for maximizing their benefits.

Why Refrigerate Supplements?

Refrigeration slows down chemical reactions that can degrade active ingredients in supplements. This is particularly important for supplements like probiotics, which contain live microorganisms that can die off at higher temperatures. Similarly, fish oil and certain liquid vitamins are prone to oxidation and rancidity if exposed to warmth and light over time.

Types of Supplements That Require Refrigeration

  • Probiotics: These supplements contain live bacteria or yeast cultures that provide health benefits when ingested. Refrigeration helps maintain the viability of these cultures, ensuring they remain effective until their expiration date.

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  • Fish Oil: Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are sensitive to heat and light, which can cause them to degrade and become less effective. Refrigeration helps slow down oxidation, preserving the quality of the oil.

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  • Certain Liquid Vitamins: Some liquid formulations contain sensitive vitamins or antioxidants that can degrade in warm temperatures. Refrigeration helps maintain their potency.

Supplements That Should Not Be Refrigerated

Not all supplements benefit from refrigeration. In fact, some may degrade or become less effective if stored in cold temperatures:

  • Tablets and Capsules: Most vitamin and mineral supplements in tablet or capsule form are designed for room temperature storage. Storing these in the refrigerator can cause moisture to condense inside the bottle, potentially affecting their stability.
  • Dry Herbal Supplements: These typically do not require refrigeration and should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Proper Refrigeration Practices

When refrigerating supplements, it's important to follow these guidelines:

  • Temperature: Maintain a stable temperature between 35°F to 45°F (1.7°C to 7.2°C). Avoid storing supplements in the refrigerator door, as temperatures there can fluctuate more than on shelves.
  • Moisture Control: Keep supplements in their original, airtight containers to prevent moisture from affecting their potency. If transferring supplements to another container, ensure it is clean and dry.
  • Light Protection: Store supplements away from light to prevent degradation, especially for those sensitive to UV rays.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Freezing Supplements: Freezing can alter the consistency and effectiveness of certain supplements, particularly liquids and probiotics. Always check the storage instructions on the supplement label.
  • Temperature Fluctuations: Avoid frequent opening of the refrigerator door, as this can cause temperature fluctuations that may impact the stability of supplements.

Alternatives to Refrigeration

For supplements that do not require refrigeration, store them in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard or drawer. Ensure these areas are away from direct sunlight and excessive moisture.

Impact on Supplement Efficacy

Proper storage, including refrigeration where necessary, helps maintain the efficacy of supplements throughout their shelf life. Neglecting storage guidelines can lead to reduced potency and potential health risks, as active ingredients may degrade or become ineffective.


Understanding the nuances of supplement storage, including when to refrigerate and when not to, is crucial for ensuring you receive maximum benefits from your dietary supplements. By following proper storage practices and knowing the specific needs of each supplement type, you can maintain their effectiveness and support your overall health and wellness goals.

References and Resources