Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Watch Where You Store Those Vitamins

The claim: Always store vitamins in the medicine cabinet.

The facts: The bathroom medicine cabinet may seem like an ideal place for keeping vitamins and supplements. But research suggests otherwise.

In studies, scientists have found that the warm, moisture-rich conditions found in most bathrooms tend to degrade vitamins and other supplements over time.

Researchers have found that this process, known as deliquescence, can reduce the potency of vitamin B, vitamin C and other water-soluble supplements - even rendering them useless. Airtight lids do not necessarily solve the problem as opening and closing them allow humidity and moisture to get in.

In a study published this year by food scientists at Purdue University, researchers measured the stability of different vitamin C supplements in various temperatures and levels of humidity. They showed signs of degradation above 80 per cent humidity, a level of bathroom humidity that the steam from a hot shower could produce.

Other studies have found similar effects on thiamin, vitamin B6 and other water-soluble nutritional products expose to humid environments.

Even if you do not keep your vitamins in the bathroom, not that the average humidity in Singapore is 84 per cent.

Humidity levels can spike in kitchens as well. Fore best results, try keeping vulnerable products - like multivitamins, children’s vitamins or powdered health products - in a cool, dry area with little humidity, like the fridge. If your vitamins soften or develop dark spots, it means they have started degrading and should probably be discarded.

The bottom Line: Storing vitamins in a medicine cabinet and other humid areas can reduce their effectiveness.

- The New York Times 

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