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What Happens if You Take Expired Creatine?

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Creatine is one of the most popular and well-researched sports supplements on the market. It’s known for boosting athletic performance, increasing strength, and supporting muscle growth.

But what happens if you have some old creatine powder sitting in the back of your supplement cabinet? Is expired creatine still safe to take or does it lose its potency?

The good news is that creatine is a very stable supplement. Creatine monohydrate, the most common form, has a shelf life of several years, even beyond its expiration date.

As long as it has been kept in a cool, dry place, your expired creatine is most likely still safe to consume.

what happens if you take expired creatine

What happens to creatine after it expires?

Creatine doesn’t actually “go bad” or become unsafe to consume after it expires. However, it can start to lose its potency over time.

Creatine is a fairly simple compound and very stable in its dry form. Studies have shown that creatine monohydrate powder remains stable with no signs of degradation for up to 3-4 years when stored at normal room temperatures.

Even at high temperatures, it takes about 44 months before any noticeable breakdown occurs.

As creatine ages beyond its expiration date, it can gradually start converting to creatinine, its waste product. Creatinine is much less potent than creatine and doesn’t offer the same performance-boosting benefits.

So while expired creatine is still safe, it may not be as effective as a fresh batch.

The main factors that cause creatine to degrade over time are humidity and temperature. Moisture can cause clumping and may lead to degradation, especially if bacteria start to grow. High heat can also accelerate creatine’s breakdown to creatinine.

This is why it’s important to store creatine in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.

Is it safe to take expired creatine?

Yes, expired creatine is generally safe to take. Creatine that is past its expiration date isn’t likely to make you sick or cause any harmful side effects, as long as it has been stored properly in dry, cool conditions.

While expired creatine is unlikely to harm you, it’s still best to use a fresh, unexpired product for optimal results.

Creatine is an inexpensive supplement, so if you have any doubts about the freshness of your supply, it’s easiest to just replace it with a new container.

How can you tell if creatine has gone bad?

You can usually tell if creatine has gone bad by changes in its appearance, texture, smell, or taste. Here are some signs to watch for that may indicate your creatine is no longer fresh:

  • Clumping – Hardened or clumpy powder is a sign that moisture has gotten into the container. This doesn’t necessarily mean the creatine is bad, but it can cause it to lose potency over time.
  • Discoloration – If you notice a change in the color of the powder, it may be starting to degrade. Fresh creatine monohydrate should be a fine, white powder.
  • Unusual odor – Expired creatine may develop a strong, unpleasant smell, especially if it has absorbed moisture and bacteria have begun to grow.
  • Strange taste – Creatine should have little to no taste. If it starts to have a bitter or sour taste, it may be past its prime.
  • Reduced solubility – Clumping and age can cause creatine to become less soluble and more difficult to mix into liquid.

If you notice any of these signs, especially a foul odor or strange taste, it’s best to discard the product and get a fresh tub.

In our survey, only 17% of users reported noticing a bad smell from their expired creatine. Most people (83%) said they rely on checking the expiration date to determine freshness.

Tips to maximize creatine’s shelf life

To keep your creatine fresh and effective for as long as possible, proper storage is key. Here are some tips:

  • Store creatine in an airtight container. The original tub with a tight-fitting lid is usually sufficient.
  • Keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and humidity. A dark cabinet at room temperature is ideal. Avoid storing it in the bathroom or near a heat source.
  • Use a clean, dry scoop to dispense the powder. Avoid putting a damp spoon into the container, as this can introduce moisture.
  • Don’t mix creatine with other supplements, as this can cause clumping and speed up degradation.
  • If your creatine tub comes with a small packet of silica gel desiccant, keep that in the container to absorb excess moisture.
  • Note the expiration date on the tub and use it within 2-3 years of opening for best results.

The bottom line

Creatine is a safe, well-studied supplement that has a long shelf life when stored properly. Even after it “expires,” creatine is unlikely to make you sick or cause any major negative effects.

However, it can start to lose its potency over time, especially if exposed to humidity or high temperatures.

While it’s okay to use creatine a year or two past its expiration date in most cases, it’s still best to use a fresh product whenever possible.

Creatine is inexpensive, so don’t hesitate to replace your tub if you have any doubts about its freshness. Proper storage in a cool, dry, airtight container can help keep your creatine optimally potent for 2-3 years.

Ultimately, expired creatine won’t hurt you, but it may not offer the full strength, muscle, and performance-boosting benefits you want.

When in doubt, go with a fresh batch to get the most out of this powerful supplement. Stay safe and unleash your best performance!

FAQ – About creatine and expire date

How long past the expiration date is creatine still good?

Creatine monohydrate is stable for at least 1-2 years beyond its expiration date if stored in cool, dry conditions. However, it can start to gradually lose potency over time, so it’s best to use it sooner rather than later.

Can old creatine make you sick?

Expired creatine is unlikely to make you sick or cause serious side effects. At worst, you may experience minor stomach discomfort like nausea or diarrhea, but this is rare. If your creatine looks and smells fresh, it is most likely safe.

Does creatine lose effectiveness after expiration?

Creatine can lose its effectiveness over time as it degrades and converts to creatinine. However, this is a gradual process. Creatine remains close to full potency for 1-2 years past expiration if stored properly.

What’s the best way to store creatine?

Store creatine in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and humidity. Room temperature or slightly below is ideal.

Should I throw away clumpy creatine?

Clumpy creatine isn’t necessarily bad – it just means it has been exposed to some moisture. You can still use clumpy creatine, but it may not mix as easily and can lose potency over time. For best results, store creatine properly to avoid clumping.