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Why Do Vitamins Smell Weird?

It’s not you, it’s them.

Have you ever noticed that distinctive odor when you open a bottle of vitamins? Or maybe it takes a few weeks before you start to realize that your vitamins have a strong smell. It’s not you, it’s them. And it’s not all of them because it’s not all vitamins. Usually, it’s the B vitamins in a multivitamin or B-complex formula. And if you don’t notice the smell right away, it’s because they haven’t oxidized yet.

Consider the avocado. It may seem fine at first, and perfect and beautiful when you first slice. But leave it out on the counter and it will gradually change color. It hasn’t gone bad, it’s just browned as a chemical reaction takes place. The same is true of vitamins. Like the avocado, even when they begin to smell or darken in color, they’re still good.

Some of the reason vitamins smell is just because of the nature of the vitamin. B vitamins, flaxseed, and assorted other supplements, all tend to have a stronger odor, sometimes caused by naturally occurring sulfur. You can sometimes lessen the odor by leaving the bottle open and “airing” it out. In other cases, the exposure may make the smell worse. Depending on the formulation, many higher end brands include compounds to reduce the possible odors. But you may still find yourself sensitive to them. Because the odor of vitamins is pretty natural, it’s next to impossible to find vitamins that are completely odor-free.

You may discover that you prefer some brands over others because the smell of them is less off-putting. Another option is to try different formulations. Liquid vitamins may be less offensive than tablets or gels.

Knowing that the smell from vitamins is common and natural may help prevent you from assuming your newest vitamins have gone bad. In general, taking vitamins is probably better than not.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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