Does Creatine Expire? Can Creatine Go Bad?

Creatine supplement is taken by many athletes to improve muscle development. It is an organic acid used to provide an energy source for muscle contraction.

This supplement’s use has been very popular in the sport of cycling since it increases ATP production to produce a higher power output. There are many benefits to the use of creatine. (1)

With so many benefits and creatine being in supplement form, people often question if creatine expires? What happens when we take expired creatine? Can Creatine Really Go Bad?

Does Creatine Expire? Yes, Creatine Does Expire. But if you store it well in dark and dry places away from moisture, you can consume them even for 2 years after their expiry dates.

Does Creatine Expire

If the creatine monohydrate supplements are in a cool and dark place, then you can even take them after 2 years from their expiration date. The second factor is the form you have your creatine in. (6)

Like a creatine powder can stay well for even more than 2 years, but if it’s in a liquid form it might not stay long after its expiration. Make sure you are consuming it before the expiry date.

There is a study that shows that creatine was put at a high temperature of 60°C for as long as 4 years. But even these extreme conditions didn’t have any negative impact on the creatine supplement.

While this is only true for the creatine monohydrate form, other types like creatine ethyl ester, liquid creatine are not very stable and will undergo transformation into creatinine soon once they cross expiration dates. (7)

Can Creatine Really Go Bad?

Creatine is a common supplement used by athletes and bodybuilders to help increase muscle mass and strength. But can creatine really go bad? The answer is yes, it can.

When creatine is stored for long periods of time or exposed to high temperatures, it can break down and form creatinine, a by-product that can be harmful to the kidneys. So, if you’re using creatine, be sure to use it within the expiration date and store it in a cool, dry place.

Shelf life of BCAA

Shelf Life Of Creatine

Shelf life is just another term for expiration date. It signifies the time a supplement can stay on your shelf ready to use without getting bad.

Creatine is a natural supplement that is popular with athletes and bodybuilders. The shelf life of creatine is not known, but it is probably best to store it in a cool, dry place.

How Long Does Creatine Last

Whenever you buy a creatine supplement, there is always an expiration date written on it which is always 2-3 years from the production date. But there have been many pieces of research and studies that show that creatine supplements can last much beyond that. (8)

Very specifically, creatine monohydrate powder doesn’t break into creatinine(it’s waste) even in worse conditions. Consuming creatinine would be of no use, as it’s creatine’s waste product.

So, we can say that nothing will happen to your creatine supplement within 1-2 years after expiration if stored in the right conditions.

Summary

If stored correctly in dry conditions, away from moisture and sunlight, creatine monohydrate supplements stay good for at least 1-2 years after their expiration dates. This might not be the case for different forms of creatine like liquid creatine.

Can Expired Creatine Make You Sick

Well, in the number of researches creatine has gone through, it hasn’t shown any bad side effects or issues. It came out to be a safe supplement everytime. (9)

Also, we saw above that creatine can last quite long after its expiration and shouldn’t cause any potential shortcomings.

Read : Do BCAAs Expire?

In many cases, when creatine comes in frequent contact with moisture, clump formation does take place even before the expiration. Having clumps is nothing bad and you can still consume them without any fear of lumpy creatine making you sick.

While consuming clumpy creatine would be quite alright, but do not consume if there is a change in its color, or it starts smelling bad, or the taste goes unpleasant. You should stop your creatine consumption at that very moment.

These occurrences signify the presence of bacteria which is not a common case. It only happens when the supplement has been left open for long.

But on the other hand, if your container was left open and the supplement had have good contact with moisture, then it might have lost its effectiveness.(10)

Also, it would be really great if you could avoid supplements with adulterations like artificial colors or additives. Because these additives might get stale much before the powder and will make the supplement uncomfortable for you.

Summary

It’s very uncommon for an expired creatine to make you sick. Though, if you feel doubtful anytime, you can always get yourself a new one, as it isn’t much expensive.

What Are The Signs Of Expired Creatine

It might be difficult to figure out whether the creatine has gone bad just by looking over it. This is so because even if creatine gets converted into its waste product, creatinine, it doesn’t really undergoes any changes in its structure.

But you should look for these indications to confirm if your creatine has expired:

Your Creatine Got A Different Smell

You must have gotten used to the regular smell of creatine monohydrate. So, after some time, if you found that it got a pungent smell, different from the regular one. You know it’s the sign to throw it away.

Formation Of Lumps

Lump formation is a sign that your creatine powder has come in contact with moisture. Though it might not be a clear signal of expiration, it does make the expiration process faster.

Any changes in the texture? That is one of the common things as many times some water droplets get spilled over the powder by mistake. So if you find any other indication like smell or color change along with lumps, you know it’s the time.

Lump Formation in expired creatine

Changes In Color

If your creatine powder lost its color or there are color patches different from the original one. You know that your creatine has got stale and bad to consume. Throw your supplement into the dustbin if you find any irregularities in color. (11)

Beware of these signs before consuming your old creatine. Also, creatine is an inexpensive supplement. You can always get yourself a newer pack.

Should You Take Creatine That Has Expired?

In a way, Yes. You can take your creatine even after the expiration date. Studies show that creatine doesn’t transform into creatinine even after several years of its production.

So, you can take your creatine monohydrate supplement at least 2 years after the expiration date. There shouldn’t be any bad side effects after consuming creatine if you checked all the expiration factors above carefully.

Still having doubts whether you should take your expired creatine? Don’t worry. It’s not much expensive so you can easily get a new one and save yourself from the worries.

The creatine which has broken down into creatinine, loses its potency and might not deliver the expected benefits.

Factors That Accelerate Creatine Expiration

Your creatine supplement’s storage conditions have a major role to play in the creatine’s expiration. The specific factors are:

Temperature

Storing them in hot or high-temperature conditions does increase their kinetic energy. This boosts up their collisions with each other and increases their chances of breaking up.

This can cause changes in their structure and texture.

Light

The light here referring to the direct sunlight. The normal LED or home fluorescent lights doesn’t count here. Sunlight has the power to trigger processes like photodegradation.

So, it is advisable to keep your creatine supplement powder away from direct sunlight.

Moisture

Moisture is one thing you need to worry about the most. Exposure to bad moisture can worsen the powder very quickly.

In a case like liquid creatine, getting bad and conversion into creatinine gets even easier.

Vibration

Yes, I know it’s not a very common thing that comes to mind, but vibrations do have a role to play.

This is due to the fact that vibrations, no matter how small, affect the rate of molecular collisions and increase the breaking down of creatine into creatinine. So, it gets utmost important to keep your creatine in still places.

How to make your creatine stay longer

How To Make Your Creatine Stay Longer

As we all understand that there is no way we can completely stop creatine from getting bad. But there are some methods we can apply to delay its expiration.

1. Avoiding Sunlight

Keeping it away from sunlight is the first thing to save your creatine. Direct exposure to sunlight can impact the photosensitive components of creatine monohydrate.

This can result in a change in color, it might make your creatine powder less effective and also leads to an increase in collisions.

2. Keeping It Dry

Another thing that you need to make sure of is to keep your creatine away from moisture. Contact with moisture can lead to the formation of bacteria which can further worsen the supplement.

So, it’s always better to keep the supplement in dry conditions as it helps prevent bacteria formation.

3. Storing Your Creatine In A Sealed Container

This also goes along the lines of a dry environment. Having a sealed container helps save your supplement from external moisture.

The sealed container keeps the supplement contents in isolation from humid conditions or high temperatures.

Storing creatine supplements in a dark, dry and cool atmosphere away from moisture will help increase its shelf life.

How Different Types of Creatine Expire

You should look for these signs in different forms of creatine to check if your creatine supplement has gone bad.

Creatine Powder

The powder form of creatine is the most convenient form to carry and protecting it from expiration. Also, it doesn’t require much effort.

You just need to keep it away from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and outside moisture. Check for these signs in your creatine powder:

  • Formation of Lumps
  • Bad smell
  • Change in color or discoloration

Creatine Pills

Creatine pills or capsules are a bit similar in their storage conditions to creatine monohydrate powder. You should keep them in dry environments away from sunlight.

There aren’t many visible signs you can see in a pill to see if it’s alright. It’s just that their structure gets weaker and loosened up.

Liquid Creatine

You should note one thing that creatine is in liquid form and has shorter shelf life than powder or pills. Keeping your liquid creatine supplement in the refrigerator helps in keeping it healthy for longer periods of time.

Check for these indications in your liquid creatine:

  • Change of smell
  • Color changing into yellowish
  • The liquid getting more vicious

What Happens If You Take Expired Creatine

If a person’s creatine gets expired, the person should not take it. This is because expired creatine can lead to side effects that may cause a person to feel uncomfortable or sick.

These side effects may include feeling sick to their stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and headaches. These side effects may be difficult for a person to experience.

If a person still takes expired creatine, they should understand what could happen and should only take it if they understand the possible side effects and want to risk taking them.

Just be sure to check the above mentioned expiry signs as there have been many studies which indicate that creatine supplements are quite well and good to use even upto 2 years after expiration date.

Final Takeaway

Does Creatine Expire? Can Creatine Really Expire? Any supplement in any form expires after a certain amount of time. You should note that you can increase a supplement’s shelf life by storing them in the right conditions.

But it’s always preferred to take your creatine supplement before it hits the expiration date. Though, it might not do any harm consuming it weeks after its expiry, but why to take the risk.

Always consult your doctor before adding any supplement in your regular routine.