Does Creatine Go Bad? How Long Till It Expires?

Are you a fitness enthusiast who supplements with creatine regularly? If so, you may have wondered whether your creatine supplement has an expiration date.

Creatine is a popular supplement used to enhance muscle strength and performance during high-intensity exercise, but like any other product, it may lose its potency over time. 

You might be wondering about the creatine supplement’s expiration date, maybe because you want to get familiar with some terms or you may just have found an old creatine supplement that you forgot you had.

In this article, we will explore the question – Does creatine go bad? Does it expire? We will also discuss the shelf life of creatine, how to store it properly, whether expired creatine is safe to use, and more. So, let’s dive in and find out if your creatine supplement needs to go in the trash!

What is Creatine?

does creatine go bad
Image- Eugeniusz Dudzinski/iStock

Although you may already know, just for newbies it is necessary to give some introduction to creatine. It is a natural compound found in muscles and other tissues in the body. 

Creatine is used by the body to produce energy during high-intensity activities such as weightlifting, sprinting, and more. 

Supplementing with creatine has been shown to improve muscle strength, power, and endurance, as well as enhance recovery after exercise [1, 2].

It is a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders but should be used with caution and clear guidance.

Does Creatine Go Bad? Does it Expire?

In short, Yes, just like any other supplement, creatine can go bad, it has an expiration date, which is typically indicated on the packaging. Consuming expired creatine is not recommended as it may lose its potency and effectiveness. 

The expired creatine may have degraded or broken down, potentially leading to side effects such as stomach upset or nausea. Moreover, expired creatine may not deliver the desired results, and you may end up risking your health. 

Therefore, it is advisable to check the expiration date of your creatine supplement before consuming it, and if it has expired, dispose of it properly and purchase a new one.

Related- Expired Pre Workout: Does Pre Workout Go Bad?

How Does Creatine Supplement Work?

Creatine is a natural substance produced by our bodies that helps to provide energy to our muscles during physical activity. It is also found in small amounts in foods like red meat and fish. Creatine supplements are popular among athletes and bodybuilders, as they can increase muscle mass, strength, and exercise performance [1, 2].

When we consume creatine, it is converted into phosphocreatine, which is stored in our muscles [3, 4, 5]. Creatine works by increasing the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) available in the muscles, which is the primary source of energy for muscle contractions [5, 6]. 

During high-intensity exercise, our muscles use up their energy stores of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) quickly, which leads to fatigue. However, phosphocreatine can quickly donate a phosphate molecule to replenish ATP, allowing our muscles to continue working.

In addition to this energy-boosting effect, creatine can also increase the amount of water stored in our muscles, which can increase their size and appearance [7]. It may also help to reduce muscle breakdown and inflammation, leading to faster recovery times after exercise.

Overall, creatine is a safe and effective supplement for improving athletic performance and muscle growth. However, it is important to follow dosage instructions and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

How Long is Creatine’s Shelf Life? How Long Does it Last?

does creatine expire
Image – Jun/iStock

Creatine has a shelf life of about 2-3 years from the manufacturing date, depending on the type of creatine and the storage conditions. The expiration date is typically indicated on the packaging, and it is important to check it before consuming the supplement. 

Studies show that creatine supplements once broken down into creatinine can lose their potency and do not offer the same benefits as before [8].

Creatine monohydrate is typically considered a stable type of creatine that can last for 2 years more than the expiry date. It is doubtful to break down into creatinine even after a long time and at high temperatures.

A 2011 research has shown that CM (creatine monohydrate) did not show any signs of a breakdown even for a longer period of time like 4 years at high temperatures [9].

Other types of creatine like liquid creatine which is known to help with absorption and Creatine Ethyl Ester are less stable than creatine monohydrate and can break down into creatinine faster than it. Thus, they have a lesser shelf life than creatine monohydrate supplements.

The role of stability of creatine is important because it affects the usefulness of the supplement. 

Another study found that the creatine concentration in the solution decreased over time, which indicates that the stability of the supplement is not optimal [10]. Additionally, the study found that the formation of crystals was caused by a decrease in solubility and changes in pH, which are factors that can also affect the stability of creatine. 

Therefore, it is important to ensure that creatine supplements are stable to confirm their effectiveness and to avoid potential side effects such as the formation of crystals.

It is also important to note that once creatine has been opened, its shelf life may be reduced. Exposure to air and moisture can cause the creatine to degrade and lose its effectiveness. Therefore, it is advisable to use the opened creatine within a few months and store it in a cool, dry place.

Takeaway: Creatine has a shelf life of about 2-3 years, depending on the type and storage conditions. It is important to check the expiration date before consuming the supplement, store it properly in a cool, dry place, and use it within a few months once opened. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your creatine supplement and achieving your fitness goals safely and effectively.

Types of Creatine

Creatine is a widespread supplement among athletes and fitness freaks. As we have talked about some types and forms of creatine in the above section, so now let’s look at what they actually mean. There are several types of creatine available on the market, each with unique features and benefits. Here are the most common types of creatine:

  • Creatine Monohydrate: This is the most common and widely used form of creatine. It is composed of creatine and a water molecule, making it easily absorbable by the body. Creatine monohydrate is known to increase muscle size and strength, as well as improve exercise performance [5].
  • Creatine Hydrochloride: This form of creatine is more soluble than creatine monohydrate, which means it can be absorbed more easily by the body. Creatine hydrochloride is also known to cause less water retention and bloating than creatine monohydrate.
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester: This form of creatine is made by attaching an ester molecule to creatine. This allows it to be more easily absorbed by the body and helps with dehydration and bloating. Although it helps with absorption, it doesn’t come out as beneficial as monohydrate. Studies have shown that creatine ethyl ester has no additional benefits when compared to monohydrate [11].
  • Buffered Creatine: This form of creatine is made by adding an alkaline powder to creatine, which makes it less acidic and easier to digest. Despite the fact that there is still some confusion, evidence states that buffered creatine is not better than monohydrate [12].
  • Liquid Creatine: Liquid creatine is a form of creatine that has been dissolved in liquid for easier consumption. It is believed to have faster absorption rates than traditional creatine supplements in powder form. However, there is limited research on the effectiveness of liquid creatine and some experts argue that it may not be as stable as powdered creatine and it does not provide superior performance benefits [9].
  • Creatine Magnesium Chelate: This form of creatine is made by combining creatine with magnesium, which can improve absorption and reduce the risk of stomach upset. There is still not enough research to prove its benefits over creatine monohydrate.

Evidence suggests that creatine is a safe and effective supplement when used in moderation in long-term creatine supplementation (upto 21 months) [13].

Creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine and is considered the best currently. It is important to choose the right type of creatine based on your individual needs and goals.

The Difference Between Shelf Life and Expiration Date

Shelf Life: The shelf life of a dietary supplement refers to the time period during which it retains its potency and effectiveness when stored properly. It is the length of time that a product can be stored without degrading or losing quality.

The shelf life of dietary supplements can vary depending on the type of supplement and the storage conditions.

Expiration Date: On the other hand, the expiration date of a dietary supplement is the date after which the manufacturer can no longer guarantee the safety and effectiveness of the product. It is the date by which a product must be consumed to ensure maximum safety and effectiveness.

The expiration date is typically printed on the label of the supplement and should be followed strictly to avoid any potential risks.

It is important to note that the shelf life and expiration date of dietary supplements are not the same thing. The shelf life is the length of time that a product can be stored without losing its potency and effectiveness, while the expiration date is the date by which the product must be consumed to ensure safety and effectiveness.

The shelf life can be longer than the expiration date as sometimes supplement retain their potency even after expiration. Still, we do not recommend you take creatine or any other supplement after its expiry date as it can be harmful to your health.

Understanding the difference between the shelf life and expiration date of dietary supplements is important for ensuring that you are consuming safe and effective products. Always check the expiration date of your supplements before consuming them and store them properly to ensure maximum shelf life.

Can Expired Creatine Make You Sick?

If you’re wondering whether or not expired creatine can make you sick, the answer is a resounding yes. Creatine is mostly regarded as safe to use but consuming expired creatine may lead to stomach upset, nausea, and other side effects, and it may not deliver the desired results.

While it may be tempting to use up that last scoop of powder even after its expiry date has passed, doing so may result in some unpleasant side effects. You may be pleased to continue using expired creatine to save money or avoid waste, it’s best to prioritize your health and invest in a fresh supplement.

Creatine Monohydrate is known to be still helpful after the expiry date as its shelf life is better. Although creatine only loses its potency after it has been broken down into creatinine, it is still not worth taking the risk of consuming expired creatine.

Stomach upset and nausea are just a couple of the potential consequences of using creatine after it has expired. Plus, there’s no guarantee that it will still deliver the desired results. Even if creatine has not expired there are some conditions when you should avoid taking creatine like when its color, smell, or taste changes.

So, if you want to avoid any creatine side effects after expiry, it’s best to stick to fresh supplements instead. Always be mindful of creatine side effects after expiry and make informed decisions about your supplementation routine.

How to Properly Store Creatine?

The shelf life of creatine can be extended by storing it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Exposure to heat, humidity, and moisture can cause creatine to break down and lose its quality and potency. If creatine is kept in contact with moisture it can develop bacteria which can make the creatine go bad.

Therefore, it is recommended to store creatine in an airtight container and away from any sources of heat or moisture. 


Creatine is a popular supplement used by many athletes and fitness enthusiasts to enhance their workout performance and muscle growth. However, it is important to understand that creatine can expire and go bad over time, which can lead to potential health risks and a loss of effectiveness if consumed afterward. 

Most creatine supplements have a shelf life of around 2-3 years, but this can vary from brand to brand and according to the type and form of creatine you are using. Creatine monohydrate is termed to be the most stable form of creatine and has higher shelf life than other forms.

By following the guidelines discussed in this article, such as checking the expiration date before consuming the supplement, storing it in a cool, dry place, and using it within a few months once opened, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your creatine supplement safely and effectively.

Remember, always prioritize your health and safety when it comes to dietary supplements.

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  1. Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 20;9(1):33. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-33. PMID: 22817979; PMCID: PMC3407788.
  2. Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 18 (2017).
  3. Clark JF. Creatine and phosphocreatine: a review of their use in exercise and sport. J Athl Train. 1997 Jan;32(1):45-51. PMID: 16558432; PMCID: PMC1319235.
  4. Yquel RJ, Arsac LM, Thiaudière E, Canioni P, Manier G. Effect of creatine supplementation on phosphocreatine resynthesis, inorganic phosphate accumulation and pH during intermittent maximal exercise. J Sports Sci. 2002 May;20(5):427-37. doi: 10.1080/026404102317366681. PMID: 12043832.
  5. Hall M, Trojian TH. Creatine supplementation. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):240-4. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829cdff2. PMID: 23851411.
  6. Casey A, Greenhaff PL. Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance? Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Aug;72(2 Suppl):607S-17S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/72.2.607S. PMID: 10919967.
  7. Powers ME, Arnold BL, Weltman AL, Perrin DH, Mistry D, Kahler DM, Kraemer W, Volek J. Creatine Supplementation Increases Total Body Water Without Altering Fluid Distribution. J Athl Train. 2003 Mar;38(1):44-50. PMID: 12937471; PMCID: PMC155510.
  8. Wyss M, Kaddurah-Daouk R. Creatine and creatinine metabolism. Physiol Rev. 2000 Jul;80(3):1107-213. doi: 10.1152/physrev.2000.80.3.1107. PMID: 10893433.
  9. 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;40(5):1369-83. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-0874-6. Epub 2011 Mar 22. PMID: 21424716; PMCID: PMC3080578.
  10. Ganguly S, Jayappa S, Dash AK. Evaluation of the stability of creatine in solution prepared from effervescent creatine formulations. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2003;4(2):E25. doi: 10.1208/pt040225. PMID: 12916907; PMCID: PMC2750587.
  11. Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 19;6:6. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-6. PMID: 19228401; PMCID: PMC2649889.
  12. Jagim AR, Oliver JM, Sanchez A, Galvan E, Fluckey J, Riechman S, Greenwood M, Kelly K, Meininger C, Rasmussen C, Kreider RB. A buffered form of creatine does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations than creatine monohydrate. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Sep 13;9(1):43. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-43. PMID: 22971354; PMCID: PMC3479057.
  13. 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;244(1-2):95-104. PMID: 12701816.

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