Without any doubt, Creatine is one of the best supplements you can take for better athletic performance. It’s a naturally produced chemical within our body and helps trigger faster energy production.
During intense or long workout sessions, your body might run out of natural creatine. In that case, supplementing with artificial creatine helps your body find the energy that it needs.
So, that’s what creatine is. But what about the shelf life of creatine? Or how long they last.
Well, it turns out that creatine can last several years before going bad. That makes it different from almost all other supplements that can last for some months or a couple of years at best.
That being said, there are a number of factors that determine when your creatine powder expires and several other factors you need to keep in mind before you start using them.
Through this article, we will guide you on everything you need to learn about creatine shelf life, how to tell if it has expired, and most importantly, how to ensure a better shelf life.
So, read along!
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine is the best as well as the most popular athletics performance booster around. It is basically a chemical produced naturally by our body and facilitates energy production.
ATP is what provides energy to cells.
Researches show that by using a creatine supplement, you can trigger an increase in the production of ATP. It gives your cells more energy and as a result, you will have a better athletic performance.
So, you can go through an intense, longer workout session without getting exhausted. Creatine also helps in better fat burning, as it also improves metabolism.
Does Creatine Expire?
Yes, like any other supplement, or any other chemical, creatine does expire after a period of time. But what is different about creatine is that unlike other supplements like whey protein, it can go a long way before expiring.
The major reason why it takes a lot of time for creatine to expire is that it is chemically less reactive, or more stable. But does creatine go bad even after expiry date? Not in most cases!
That being said, keep in mind that creatine in powder form has this much longer expiration date. Liquid ones would expire rather early. Also, creatine monohydrate has a longer shelf life than other creatine compounds like creatine HCL.
How Long Does Creatine Last?
Creatine is well known for lasting longer than most other workout supplements and can go for 2 to 3 years or even more!
But the exact creatine shelf life depends on several factors like its chemical combination, whether it is in powder or liquid form, etc.
The creatine monohydrate in powder form, which is what we commonly use, lasts longer, like up to 3 or even 4 years. That means you won’t have to worry about replacing your creatine supplement for around 3 years!
That was about the powder form. But if you use a creatine liquid supplement, you may have to replace it sooner than 2 or 3 years. What makes liquid creatine prone to going bad sooner is, water can trigger a faster reaction unlike in creatine powder.
But there also, your liquid creatine can still last for several months or years.
Like the liquid versions, there are a few more types of creatine that may also go bad earlier than three years. For instance, creatine HCL, which is more effective than creatine monohydrate, will go bad earlier than the latter.
Also, there are a few more things that determine the shelf life of creatine. The most important factor is, how properly you store it!
What Happens When Creatine Expires?
Here is what happens when creatine expires:
- Creatine converts to creatinine which is basically a waste product
- You will not get the usual pump
- Bacteria may start to grow
Is Expired Creatine Safe?
Yes, in most cases, expired creatine is still safe to consume. This is due to the extreme stability of creatine molecules, especially creatine monohydrate.
That being said, you need to stop using it if you feel some clumsiness in it. Clumsiness itself isn’t an indication to dump it away, and you can check the odor and appearance of the supplement to confirm if it’s gone bad.
So ultimately, can you use expired creatine? Yes is the answer in most cases except if you notice any clumsiness or change in odor or color.
If you notice a change in smell or odor, it is a sufficient warning that your creatine is most probably infected with bacteria. In such a case, no need to think twice, replace it with a new tub.
Otherwise, if you don’t notice these changes, it is safe to use, and is not at all harmful. But at the same time, expired creatine may (or may not) be less effective than before.
How to Store Creatine?
As we have already mentioned earlier, proper storage is crucial to ensure the long life of creatine.
The most crucial thing to do is to ensure that your creatine is not coming in consistent exposure to moisture. If it comes in frequent contact with moisture, it will facilitate the growth of bacteria, which in turn makes the entire tub useless.
So, make sure that you store it in an air-tight container.
You should also try avoiding bringing your creatine in direct exposure to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight may also trigger some reactions and thereby affect the stability of molecules in the supplement.
And, needless to say, make sure that the tub is placed not in very hot surroundings either.
In short, store your creatine supplement in an air tight container in a cold, dry place with little sunlight exposure. In addition, never leave the tub open after you use it.
If you store it properly, you can use the creatine supplement for as long as 4 long years!
How to Tell if Your Creatine is Expired
It may be because of careless storage, frequent contact with water, or even that it has been several years, your creatine may expire one day.
But how to tell you if your creatine has expired? Here are the indications:
- An unusual, pungent smell
- Change in original color
- Change in taste
Although clumpiness is not a direct indication of expiration, you can take it as a hint and check whether the odor, appearance, and smell of the supplement have changed or not.
If you notice any such changes, replace your tub as soon as possible.
The Bottom Line
In addition to being an excellent supplement that boosts athletic performance, creatine has also got a very impressive shelf life. For these reasons, creatine is one of the most important supplements you should have in your supplement stack.
The key takeaway here is that your creatine is safe for up to 3 or 4 years if you store it properly. And you can go on using it unless you notice any unusual smell or appearance.
And if you notice such changes, do replace your current tub with a new one. Speaking of the prices, creatine is pretty cheap, and buying a new tub won’t cost you big bucks!