How to keep your creatine supplements lasting longer.
Most commercial creatine powders come in big containers. It can certainly feel like a neverending process to try to polish off a creatine supplement before that pesky little expiration date on the bottom.
But how much relevance does an expiration date have for creatine supplements? Does creatine expire, and can using expired creatine supplements come with dangerous health consequences?
In this article, we’ll unpack what happens when your creatine hits its expiry date.
Should you toss it or keep it? Take a look below to find out.
What Causes Creatine to Expire Faster?
As a chemical compound, creatine is very stable compared to things like perishable food items.
That being said, there are factors that, over time, can impact the effectiveness, taste and palatability of a creatine powder supplement. Although most of the time “expired” powders can be consumed safely, they might not be enjoyable for you or give you the same results.
Keep in mind factors like:
- Moisture: Absorbing too much water will cause a creatine powder to break down over time. It’s important to make sure you’re storing your creatine in a dry environment so it doesn’t begin to degrade.
- Heat: Is your creatine getting too hot? Overheating creatine supplements also degrades the particles and makes them break down faster.
- Light: Keeping supplements of any kind in bright light most of the time is not advisable. Not only can it get hot, but the light can affect the integrity of your creatine supplements as well.
- Air: Does creatine expire if opened? When exposed to air, maybe. Commercial creatine products can come with additive ingredients like flavoring, for example, that are sensitive to air or oxidation. Keeping the lid on tight makes sure that no air gets in that could degrade your creatine products.
- Additives and Flavor: As mentioned, flavoring can make taking creatine supplements a more enjoyable experience. But some additives you’ll find in your products are more sensitive to air exposure and oxidation. Creatine itself is not at high risk of oxidizing, but added ingredients can cause these types of reactions.
Is it Safe to Take Expired Creatine?
There is evidence to show that creatine monohydrate may remain stable for years, even at high temperatures without adverse health effects. That being said, any expired supplement can come with potential risks, and this article does not recommend consuming products beyond their expiration dates.
Old creatine may also come with some unpleasant side effects that you’ll want to keep in mind. Make sure to consider:
- Potency: Old or expired products can become less potent. While this doesn’t usually pose a direct health risk, it can be disheartening to notice less of an effect when you work out. Because of the impact, creatine has on explosive movements and muscle power, you may find yourself feeling sluggish or struggling to perform moves you can usually crush easily if your powder isn’t working in your favor.
- Clumping: Even when it’s not expired, creatine products can clump. Often this is due to contact with water or other liquids. When it comes into contact with water, creatine breaks down into creatinine, a waste product that you don’t want in your body. That being said, too much clumping can be a sign that your product is going off. However, independently, clumps don’t mean your product is spoiled. You can take clumpy creatine, it just may be less pleasant. If you notice your creatine powder is clumping, check for other factors that it has spoiled. Scent, a bad taste or discoloration can all be indicators that it may not be wise to continue taking a supplement.
- Contamination: Close that lid! Sealing your creatine container in a way that keeps your creatine safe from bacteria or other harmful particles is a key part of keeping it safe. Too much moisture that gets let in or exposure to sweat and other bodily fluids or chemicals in your environment can cause nasty things to get in. On top of this, some commercial creatine products have flavoring or other additives in them. Although
- Bad taste or smell: Expired supplements can begin to develop a bad odor or taste. Even if they’re technically “safe” at this stage, it may stop you from wanting to consume them and could throw off your supplement routine.
How Long Can You Use Creatine After Expiration Date?
When does creatine expire? If properly stored, some creatine products are safe up to 2 years after the printed expiration date. Keep in mind what type of creatine supplement you are taking. Creatine monohydrate generally lasts longer beyond its expiry date than liquid creatine or other less stable forms.
Does Creatine Expire?
It doesn’t traditionally “expire” like, say, rotten food might. But creatine can still come with undesirable effects if it’s too old which makes the supplements unpleasant to take.
When it’s properly stored, creatine has a long shelf life.
To prevent your creatine products from going bad before they’re due, you can:
Keep them cool
Store your creatine in a cool, dry location. Remember, heat and moisture can cause creatine products to deteriorate over time, so be mindful when you pick a storage spot for your supplements.
Direct sun exposure also contributes to the breakdown of creatine over time. Consider an opaque or dark-colored container so you’re not letting too much light hit your creatine powder. This is especially important if you can’t control the storage light environment directly.
Ensure your container is properly sealed
Does creatine expire if opened? Ever been excited to crack open a Tupperware in your fridge to eat some leftovers only to find out in dismay that you didn’t seal it right? Once too much air has leaked in over time, there’s a good chance whatever food you were craving is no longer good.
The same thing applies to creatine. It seems like a simple mistake, but improper storage is a major cause of food waste and applies to your supplements just as well. Tighten the seal on your creatine container to make sure you’re not letting in air and moisture that will cause your product to spoil.
Will Freezing Creatine Make it Last Longer?
Not really. The freezer shouldn’t cause your powder to deteriorate at a quicker rate than it would at room temperature.
But although freezing is a popular way to prolong the shelf life of many food products, we don’t yet have the evidence to show that it will help your supplements.
Do Certain Types of Creatine Last Longer Than Others?
It’s hard to say. Since monohydrate creatine has been studied the most, we know that it generally has a very long shelf life. When does creatine monohydrate expire? The highly stable form of creatine can last up to two years beyond its printed expiration date when stored properly.
Other types of creatine like micronized creatine require more study.
If you’re wondering about liquid creatine vs. powdered creatine, liquid products in general tend to expire more quickly. So if longevity is your focus, a creatine powder is more likely to last.
Creatine can expire. That being said, due to high levels of testing for commercial creatine products, it’s unlikely that it will make you sick.
However, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of consuming your products by their expiry dates just in case.
When does creatine expire? Monohydrate creatine may be safe up to around two years after its printed expiry dates. That being said, check for clumps, mold, bad smells, tastes or physical changes. This is always a good idea when it comes to keeping your powder safe.
If you’re finding it challenging to consume a full container of creatine before it’s set to go bad, try looking for containers with a smaller amount of creatine. That way, you won’t put anything to waste.
It could also be a sign to up your workout program!
We recommend speaking with a healthcare professional before making any big changes to your diet, supplement, or workout regimen.
While you’re checking in on the freshness of your creatine supplements, don’t forget to check on your workouts as well! Flex AI offers an all-in-one workout platform to help you learn new exercises, visualize your fitness journey and keep all your PRs in one place.
We’ve made it simple to work on customized fitness plans or to introduce a little friendly competition to your fitness community by sharing exercises with your friends. Get started for free through the Flex fitness app.