Updated: Oct 12
TL;DR: Creatine monohydrate is a fairly stable powder, providing it hasn't been exposed to moisture or left opened, it is capable of lasting 1-2 beyond its expiry date.
Creatine has been proven in studies to improve exercise performance, strength, and muscular development, as well as provide other possible health advantages.
Though creatine is deemed safe to take, have you been in that situation where you see a tub of out of date creatine from years ago and wondered whether it's safe to take still?
In this article, I'll discuss when creatine expires, and will it make you ill if you took it?
Table of Contents:
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical in your body's cells. It is found in greater quantity in muscle cells, which account for 95% of the total, with the remaining 5% located in other organs.
The amino acids glycine and arginine can be utilised to create creatine by the body.
Creatine may also be consumed in your diet, either as a supplement or in the form of meat. Gym-goers, bodybuilders, and other athletes commonly use this supplement.
Your phosphocreatine stores will rise if you take creatine supplements. Phosphocreatine is a kind of stored energy that aids in the production of ATP, the body's primary energy source.
Muscle performance increases when your body has more ATP. When creatine is ingested, it triggers a slew of additional reactions, some of which may aid muscle growth and strength.
How Long Does It Last For?
Although most creatine supplements have an expiry date of 2-3 years from the date of manufacture, research indicate that they may last for considerably longer. (1)
Creatine monohydrate powder, in particular, is very stable and unlikely to degrade into its waste product, creatinine, over time, even at high temperatures.
For example, even when kept at a high temperature of 60°C (140°F), creatine monohydrate powder exhibited significant indications of disintegration only after around 4 years of storage. (3)
If creatine monohydrate is kept in cool, dry circumstances, it should last at least 1-2 years after its expiry date.
To summarise, creatine monohydrate should last at least 1-2 years beyond their expiry date if kept cold and dry.
Other types of creatine, such as liquid creatine and ethyl ester, don't last for very long, especially once they've been unsealed.
Can You Take Expired Creatine?
Creatine has been well researched and is generally regarded to be safe to ingest. (4)
Because creatine monohydrate is very stable, it will likely last for many years beyond its expiry date. It's also worth noting that clumpy creatine isn't expired, more on this further down.
However, if your tub of creatine has been left uncovered at room temperature for a few days or exposed to a significant quantity of moisture, it may lose effectiveness. (3)
Because creatine is inexpensive, if you're worried about consuming expired creatine, you may as well purchase a new tub to be safe.
To summarise, you are unlikely to get ill if you consume creatine that has beyond its expiry date. If you have any worries, you may buy a new tub for peace of mind since it is quite cheap.
Is Clumpy Creatine Safe?
Have you ever opened a tub of creatine to find it has become clumpy or even solid? This happens when the powder inside the tub is exposed to moisture.
It can happen if the seal for the tub has been broken, if the tub is old, and if the creatine hasn't been used frequently.
Although the creatine may look expired, it is typically still safe to consume if it's still within its expiry date or 1-2 years beyond it.
However, if the creatine has developed an odour, changed colours, or tastes different, it may be a sign of fungal or bacterial growth, in which case you should throw it out and purchase a new tub.
One other thing to note is that when creatine is exposed to moisture, it may lose some its strength and potency. (3)
Creatine monohydrate, the most common form, is very stable and may remain safe to consume for many years beyond its expiry date without losing its effectiveness.
Any creatine that has become clumpy is a sign of exposure to moisture, it's usually safe to consume providing it has not developed an odour, changed colour, or tastes strange.
If it's stored correctly in a cool and dry area, creatine that is beyond its expiry date is usually safe to ingest and should not produce any untypical adverse effects.
This section contains links to research, studies, and sources of information for this article, as well as authors, contributors, etc. All sources, along with the article and facts, are subjected to a series of quality, reliability, and relevance checks.
Real Muscle primarily uses high-quality sources, such as peer-reviewed publications, to back up the information in our articles. To understand more about how we fact-check and keep our information accurate, dependable, and trustworthy, read more about us.
This evidence based analysis on creatines shelf life features 4 references, listed below.
1. Lyon RC, Taylor JS, Porter DA, Prasanna HR, Hussain AS. Stability profiles of drug products extended beyond labeled expiration dates. J Pharm Sci. (2006, Jul) ✔
2. Wyss M, Kaddurah-Daouk R. Creatine and creatinine metabolism. Physiol Rev. (2000, Jul) (Review) ✔
3. Jäger R, Purpura M, Shao A, Inoue T, Kreider RB. Analysis of the efficacy, safety, and regulatory status of novel forms of creatine. Amino Acids. (2011, May) (Review) ✔
4. Kreider RB, Melton C, Rasmussen CJ, Greenwood M, Lancaster S, Cantler EC, Milnor P, Almada AL. Long-term creatine supplementation does not significantly affect clinical markers of health in athletes. Mol Cell Biochem. (2003, Feb) ✔
✔ Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.
The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.
Real Muscle leads the way in terms of transparency and privacy, which is why we want to let you know that some of the outbound links in this article may be affiliate links in which we may earn a small commission through. Despite this, our product recommendations are completely unbiased.