Move Your Vitamins

Like many people, unless I take my multivitamin first thing in the morning, I won’t take it at all. For me, the most obvious place to sit the bottle of Centrum is in my bathroom right next to my toothbrush. According to new research, however, I couldn’t pick a worse place in my home to store it. In a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, researchers Ashley N. Hiatt, Lynne S. Taylor, and Lisa J. Mauer monitored stability of two forms of vitamin C—sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid—under high heat and humidity. The researchers discovered that when exposed to such conditions vitamin C becomes prone to a process called deliquescence and starts to dissolve and clump. This can render the product useless, depending on the conditions and formulations, and isn’t reversible.

Researcher Lisa Mauer.

“If you get some moisture present or ingredients dissolve, they’ll decrease the quality and shelf life of the product and decrease the nutrient delivery,” Mauer stated in a release. In as little as a week “you can get complete loss of vitamin C in some products that have deliquesced,” she continued. Bathrooms and kitchens are the most common areas for this to occur, thanks to varying temperatures and humidity in those rooms. “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%,” Mauer said. Some signs of product breakdown to look out for include liquid in vitamin containers and brown spots, especially on children’s vitamins. Although the vitamins aren’t necessarily unsafe at this point, Mauer still suggests discarding them. “Why give a vitamin to a kid if it doesn’t have the vitamin content you’re hoping to give them?” she said. “You’re just giving them candy at that point with a high sugar content.” Looks like I’ll be relocating my supplements to my bedroom. Here's a video of Mauer explaining the process of deliquescence:

Author: Faith Hayden

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