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Does Creatine Expire & How Long Before It Goes Bad?

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: August 1, 2023
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Creatine is one of the most commonly consumed supplements, especially by individuals who work out. In most cases, this supplement is purchased in bulk. This has led to many individuals inquiring if it has an expiry date.

Yes, creatine, like any supplement, has an expiry date. Apart from the manufacturer's expiry date, there are other factors that might make creatine expire faster. I will also give you tips on how to determine if your supplement has expired.

Read until the end for detailed information.

Quick Summary

  • Creatine does expire. It depends on the manufacturing expiry date and how you store your supplement.
  • Creatine can stay up to two years from the date of manufacturing if properly stored.
  • Store creatine supplements in a cool and dry place to prevent them from expiring faster than their stipulated timeframe.
  • A strange smell and discoloration are early indicators that your creatine has expired.

​How Does Creatine Work?

white powder

Creatine works by boosting your ability to generate ATP energy. This amino acid that your body naturally produces is one of the most effective creatine supplements for increasing strength and endurance during high-intensity exercise.

The best creatine supplements aim to increase the phosphocreatine stores in your body [1], which is what we use to create more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) when we’ve depleted it through exercise.

Taking a creatine supplement can help athletes to train longer and harder, raises anabolic states, and improves cell signaling, amongst other benefits. [2]

Some people use creatine supplements with beta-alanine to experience optimum gains.

...Creatine supplementation increases intramuscular creatine concentrations which may help explain the observed improvements in high intensity exercise performance leading to greater training adaptations.
- Kreider, RB et al, Researcher, Texas A & M University

There are lots of different types of creatine supplement, but the most common and popular is creatine monohydrate, and most of the research and science that we discuss in this article will be relating to that.

Other product types include creatine ethyl ester, creatine hydrochloride (HCL), creatine gluconate, buffered creatine, and liquid creatine.


Does Creatine Expire?

does creatine have an expiration date

Creatine does expire. If stored correctly in cool, dry places, creatine that has passed its expiration date is safe to take and should not cause any undesirable side effects.

Creatine monohydrate supplements can last up to 2 years longer than their expiration date, but only if you properly store them. However, liquid creatine is less likely to last longer than the expiry date, and such creatine could make you sick.

Compare that to whey protein powder which may go bad within days of a six month expiration date [3].

Creatine monohydrate powder supplement is very stable and is unlikely to break down into creatinine, its waste product. Even time and poor storage do little to impact the product and cause the breakdown.

One study shows that the supplement hadn’t begun to break down even after 4 years stored at a high temperature of 140°F (60°C).

Other forms such as creatine ethyl ester and creatine are less stable and will breakdown more quickly into creatinine after their expiration dates. [4]

Should You Take Creatine That Has Expired?

expired creatine

You should still take creatine that has expired. Studies show that the breakdown into creatinine is unlikely to occur several years after production and usually for quite a while after the expiration date.

This means that expired creatine, especially creatine monohydrate supplement, should be fine to use. There should be no adverse side effects in taking it.

Creatine is relatively inexpensive, so if yours has been left out, stored incorrectly, or is past the expiration date and you have concerns, replace it. The costs are negligible, so don't risk your health in case the incorrect storage contaminated your creatine.

Once the supplement has broken down into creatinine, it is much less potent and will not work as intended. [5]

Can Expired Creatine Make You Sick?

sick man

No, these creatine supplements can't make you sick. Its effects on the body have been well studied and documented, and it's generally considered safe to consume. [4]

Given the stable nature of creatine monohydrate, it's likely to last well beyond its expiration date, and even when it does begin to break down, it will primarily lose potency, not become in any way harmful.

The only way that creatine may become dangerous to consume is if bacteria are introduced through moisture or being left out. You will notice a change in the powders color, aroma, consistency, and taste if this happens and if it does stop taking that powder immediately.

How Should You Store Creatine?

medicine container

You should store creatine in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, as it may speed up the breakdown process. [6]

By keeping your creatine stored correctly and ensuring the powder isn’t introduced to moisture, you are significantly improving its shelf life, and it should be fine to use for years after its expiration date.

Moisture is the big problem, though, as with it can come bacteria, which is the only way your creatine might truly go bad. [7]

How Long Can You Keep Creatine?

You can keep creatine for about two to three years from production as long as it is stored properly. Creatine monohydrate is more stable and could last past that estimated expiration date.

Use the expiration as a guide, store your creatine supplements properly to prolong shelf life, and stop using them if they don’t seem to be working as well as they used to.

What Does Expired Creatine Look Like?

expired powder

Expired creatine looks similar to regular creatine. It breaking down doesn’t cause much of a physical change even past its shelf life.

You might have experienced clumpy creatine or expect to see that past expiration date, but that is usually caused by moisture in some way getting into the powdered supplements.

As mentioned before, there may also be some discoloration or strange smells from older creatine powders, but this typically indicates bacteria is present, and it should be thrown out after outliving its shelf life.

In Summary

scoop with powder

So, does creatine expire?

In particular, creatine monohydrate is incredibly stable and has a long life that could well last even past the expiration dates given on the packaging.

By storing it properly and using common sense, you should be able to continue to enjoy high-quality creatine and benefit from buying in bulk.

Signs that moisture or bacteria have been introduced to the powder are the only real warning signs you should be looking at for, and they are easily spotted in most situations.

The powder may become clumpy, change color, or give off a funny smell in these instances.

Creatine will become less potent when it begins to breakdown but is not technically harmful. While it won’t work as well as it once did, it’s unlikely to make you sick.

If you do experience any new side effects or problems from taking your creatine powder, you should seek medical advice.


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One thought on “Does Creatine Expire?
Here’s How to Know When It Goes Bad

  1. One of the few things, why this is worth the purchase– creatine monohydrate’s shelf life, is 1-2 years.

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