Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vitamins stored in bathrooms, kitchens may become less effective

03.03.2010
High humidity present in bathrooms and kitchens could be degrading the vitamins and health supplements stored in those rooms, even if the lids are on tight, a Purdue University study shows.

Lisa Mauer, an associate professor of food science, said that crystalline substances - including vitamin C, some vitamin B forms and other dietary supplements - are prone to a process called deliquescence, in which humidity causes a water-soluble solid to dissolve. Keeping those supplements away from warm, humid environments can help ensure their effectiveness.

"You might see salt or sugar start to cake in the summer, start to form clumps, and that's a sign of deliquescence," said Mauer, whose findings were published in the early online version of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. "You can also get chemical instabilities, which are a little more problematic if you're consuming a dietary supplement with vitamin C for that vitamin C content."

Kitchen salt, sugar and powdered drink mixes commonly cake, Mauer said, making their measurement more difficult but not rendering them useless. Chemical changes become more than a nuisance in vitamins and dietary supplements, however.

"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 said. "You can get complete loss of the ingredients. It depends on the conditions. It depends on the formulations. Within a very short time - in a week - you can get complete loss of vitamin C in some products that have deliquesced."

Bathrooms and kitchens can increase the detrimental effects because of spikes in humidity in those rooms. And Mauer said storing vitamins or supplements in containers with lids doesn't always help.

"Opening and closing a package will change the atmosphere in it. If you open and close a package in a bathroom, you add a little bit of humidity and moisture each time," Mauer said. "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 percent."

Mauer used a gravimetric moisture sorption balance to determine the humidities at which substances would deliquesce. The samples spiked in weight at the deliquescence point because moisture was being adsorbed, meaning humidity was condensing on the solid and then the solid dissolved.

Different crystalline substances deliquesce at different humidities, Mauer said. For example, at room temperature, sodium ascorbate would deliquesce at 86 percent humidity, ascorbic acid at 98 percent humidity and fructose at 62 percent. Some ingredient blends deliquesce in as low as 30 percent humidity. Different forms of ingredients, such as the two forms of vitamin C studied (ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate), have different deliquescence points, different sensitivity to moisture and different degradation rates. At high enough humidities, samples dissolved completely.

Once humidity or temperature is brought back down, the product will solidify, Mauer said, but the damage has been done.

"Any chemical changes or degradation that have occurred before resolidification don't reverse. You don't regain a vitamin C content after the product resolidifies or is moved to a lower humidity," she said. "The chemical changes we've observed are not reversible."

This information could be important to anyone using vitamin-containing products, ranging from the consumer to the food and dietary supplement industry and ingredient suppliers. Storing products in dry conditions, below their deliquescence relative humidities, can avoid unwanted ingredient loss.

Consumers could notice liquid in vitamin containers, but Mauer said another sign of nutrient degradation is brown spots, especially on children's vitamins. Mauer suggested discarding any dietary supplement that is showing signs of moisture uptake or browning.

"They're not necessarily unsafe, but why give a vitamin to a kid if it doesn't have the vitamin content you're hoping to give them?" Mauer said. "You're just giving them candy at that point with a high sugar content."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Lilly Endowment Inc. funded the research.

Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050, bwallhei@purdue.edu
Source: Lisa Mauer, 765-494-9111, mauer@purdue.edu

Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>