Do Probiotics Expire Or Not? Yes, They Do


Probiotics can expire, with their effectiveness diminishing over time, but they remain safe to consume after their expiration date in most cases.

Probiotics are generally safe to consume after their expiry date because the expiration date represents the point at which their potency may start to decline, but they do not become harmful or dangerous to health.

What's The Shelf Life Of Probiotics?

The shelf life of probiotics typically ranges from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the probiotic and storage conditions.

If you bought your probiotic supplement from a reputable USA-manufactured brand then simply flip the bottle upside down and check the expiry date of your probiotics.

This is a legal requirement and a sign that your probiotic supplement is from a reputable brand.


FlowFlora Probiotic Expiry Date

This bottle of flipped upside down bottle of FlowFlora 40 Billion CFU probiotics in the photo above shows that it will expire in September 2023 and the closer it gets to that date the higher the chances the CFU count will decrease.

When Do Gummy Probiotics Expire?

Olly gummy probiotics for example typically expire after 18 months and that is because of the water, cane sugar, gelatin, lactic acid, and citric acid ingredients. Bacillus Coagulans in capsule format however would have a much longer shelf life.

Figuring out the manufacture date, expiry date, and then the CFU count of a probiotic supplement can let you calculate when the probiotic will eventually expire.

5 Tips To Help A Probiotic Not Expire Fast

All probiotic supplements will eventually expire regardless of any steps you take to protect the efficacy but there are some steps you take to protect the potency & shelf life of a probiotic. Here 5 tips to help avoid faster expiration.

  1. 1
    Keep Your Probiotic Refrigerated.
  2. 2
    Order Your Probiotic Domestically & Not Internationally.
  3. 3
    Keep The Probiotic Bottle Out Of Direct Sunlight.
  4. 4
    Clean Your Hands Before Taking A Capsule Out Of The Bottle.
  5. 5
    Keep The Capsules Away From Any Moisture And The Lid Tightly Sealed.

Keeping probiotics refrigerated can help extend their shelf life by slowing down the growth of harmful bacteria and maintaining the stability of the live probiotic cultures, thereby preventing premature expiration.

Ordering domestically can limit the amount of time your probiotic spends in harsh environments. Keeping it out of sunlight can limit heat exposure that kills certain probiotic bacteria.

Cleaning your hands can help a prevent any pathogenic bacteria from getting to your probiotic capsules. Finally keeping the capsules tightly sealed helps to avoid exposure to moisture that can cause mold.

What Happens If You Take Expired Probiotics?

Taking expired probiotics is unlikely to be harmful, but their effectiveness in promoting gut health may be reduced, as the live cultures can diminish over time, potentially leading to fewer health benefits.

Probiotic Supplements Passed Their Expiry Date Aren't Harmful. Don't Panic!

Bad bacteria and mold won't get the chance the grow and instead all that will happen is the probiotic bacteria will die off and you won't get a high CFU dose of probiotic bacteria.

How To Know If Your Probiotic Is Real?

Sometimes a sign that your probiotic is a fake or bad is when nothing happens after taking a probiotic supplement. One test I recommend to readers is splitting open your probiotic capsule and pouring it into a glass of organic whole raw milk.

After that, leave it out in the open over-night and check if it turns into yogurt. If the milk does not slowly change into a yogurt texture then there is a good chance that your probiotic has expired.

Is Yakult Good After It Expires?

Yakult is not ideal to consume after its expiration date because the probiotic cultures it contains may have significantly diminished in potency, rendering it less effective in promoting gut health. The self-life of Yakult is just over 1-month from the date of manufacture which is not very long.

Does Yogurt Expire If Not Opened?

Yogurt can expire even if unopened due to the gradual breakdown of its active cultures over time, exposure to environmental factors like temperature fluctuations, and the growth of unwanted bacteria or molds through the packaging, affecting its taste and quality.

Closing Thoughts

If your probiotic has expired it's best to just order a new fresh bottle or request a refund if a brand has shipped out a useless probiotic supplement.

Over time, the CFU count of probiotics will likely drop but storing it and taking care of the bottle can help preserve the Colony Forming Units.

With fermented foods like Kimchi, Kefir, Yogurt, Sauerkraut and Miso Paste the CFU count does get stronger over time before eventually losing its freshness but after a certain period of time they will not be safe to consume.

Most powdered probiotic capsules on the other will be safe to consume but they simply won't do anything and the bad bacteria will win their fight against the bad bacteria.

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