After starting a creatine supplement, let’s check a common question most fitness enthusiasts ask. Well, you know the question: How long does creatine last?
Creatine can last about two to three years, depending on the form of the supplement. But storing the supplement in a cool, dry place can last four years (one to two years past the expiration date). However, among all the forms, creatine monohydrate is the most stable type of creatine available.
Let’s learn more about the shelf life of creatine, how to determine the rotten ones, and how long the supplement lasts in your system.
How Long Does Creatine Last?
While most creatine supplements expire 2–3 years from production, studies indicate they can remain effective longer.
Creatine monohydrate powder, in particular, is highly stable and doesn’t break down into creatinine over time, even at high temperatures.
Creatinine is a byproduct that has reduced potency and benefits.
Research shows that creatine monohydrate powder maintains its quality for nearly 4 years, even when stored at a high temperature of 140°F (60°C). If you store your creatine monohydrate supplement in cool, dry conditions, it should remain usable for at least 1–2 years beyond its expiration date.
In comparison, other forms of creatine, like ethyl ester and liquid creatines, are less stable and tend to break down more quickly into creatinine after expiration.
So, if you handle and store your creatine correctly, it can last longer than the expiration date. Isn’t it great? – you can buy the supplement in bulk and enjoy its benefits for a long time.
How to Tell if Creatine is Bad?
Determining if creatine has gone bad is crucial to ensure its effectiveness and safety. Here are some symptoms that you have to look out for.
- Change in Color: Any significant discoloration, such as darkening or unusual pigmentation, may indicate spoilage or degradation.
- Foul Odor: Take a sniff of your creatine. Fresh creatine should have a relatively neutral odor. If you detect a pungent or unpleasant smell from your creatine, it could be a sign that it has degraded.
- Clumping or Hardening: Check the texture of your creatine powder or capsules. Creatine that has absorbed moisture or been exposed to humidity can clump or harden. Look for any lumps or solid formations, as they may suggest spoilage.
- Unusual Texture: Pay attention to the texture of your creatine. If you notice a gritty, sticky, or grainy texture in your supplement, it could be a sign that it has degraded or spoiled.
- Excessive Moisture: Moisture can compromise the quality of creatine. Check for any signs of moisture or excessive dampness inside the creatine container, which can lead to degradation over time.
- Inefficacy: Assess the effectiveness of your creatine. If you consistently take the recommended creatine dosage but fail to experience the expected benefits, such as improved strength or endurance, it could indicate ineffective or degraded creatine.
If you observe any of these symptoms, it is best to err on caution and discard the creatine. Spoiled or degraded creatine may lead to reduced effectiveness or potential health risks.
How Long Does Creatine Stay In Your System?
To understand how long creatine stays in your system after stopping it, you must understand its elimination half-life – approximately 3 hours. This means after about 3 hours, 50% of a dose will be cleared from your plasma.
Based on this, we can calculate that 100% of the exogenous creatine you’ve taken should be out of your system within 16.5 hours after your final dose. In simpler terms, after 24 hours have passed since your last creatine dose, there won’t be any remaining exogenous creatine in your plasma.
It’s important to note that exogenously administered creatine forms metabolites, including phosphocreatine (67%) and creatinine (2%).
Learn what happens when you discontinue creatine.
A study on athletes supplemented with exogenous creatine for 7 consecutive days found that around 46% of creatine was excreted within 24 hours after discontinuation.
However, another study observed that muscle creatine levels took up to 30 days to return to normal baseline with longer supplementation and higher loading doses.
Simply put, your intramuscular creatine levels may take up to a full month to return to pre-supplementation levels. These findings highlight that while exogenous creatine clears from your plasma relatively quickly, its accumulation in muscle tissues can take longer to decline.
How Does Creatine Schedule Affect Creatine Stores?
Here’s an expanded and more informative step-by-step process.
|Loading Phase||Take higher doses of 20-25 grams of creatine daily for 5-7 days to saturate muscle creatine.|
|Transition to Maintenance Phase.||Reduce creatine dosage to 5-10 grams daily to maintain optimal levels.|
|Discontinuation during loading||Stopping creatine early in the loading phase may result in incomplete saturation of creatine stores.|
|Time to Reach Saturation||It may take up to one month of consistent creatine supplementation to fully saturate your body’s creatine levels and reach the maintenance phase.|
|Elimination Phase||After discontinuing creatine, intramuscular creatine levels can take up to 30 days to decline back to their baseline, known as the elimination phase.|
|Influence of Dosage||Higher doses of creatine results in a longer presence in the blood and a slower excretion rate.|
Proper Way To Store Creatine
The manufacturers usually indicate the recommended storage conditions for creatine products on the packaging. However, storing creatine in a cool and dry place is generally advised.
Creatine in powder form is highly stable, even at higher temperatures. Unlike proteins that can unfold and degrade when exposed to heat, creatine’s structure is similar to amino acids. It is not prone to heat-induced degradation.
Although temperature can impact mixed creatine solution, the main concern is the storage conditions of the dry creatine powder. Chemical reactions occur more rapidly in higher temperatures.
Can you cook creatine? Let’s check.
The dry storage condition is more crucial than the storage temperature itself. Properly sealing the creatine container and avoiding exposure to moisture is important. Moisture from the air can enter the container through improper sealing or during regular use, leading to potential mixing with the creatine.
Though the risk is low, prolonged exposure to moisture may cause creatine to break down into creatinine.
Keeping creatine in a cool and dry place, ensuring proper sealing of the container, and minimizing exposure to moisture will help maintain its stability and integrity over time.
How Long Can I Use Creatine After the Expiration Date?
Creatine powder can be consumed up to 1-2 years after expiration. But check for any color, smell, or texture changes before using to ensure safety and effectiveness.
How Long Does Creatine Last Before It Expires?
Creatine has a shelf life of approximately four years before it reaches its expiration date. Store it in a cool, dark room, away from direct sunlight or heat sources, to ensure longevity.
Is It Safe to Use Expired Creatine?
Expired creatine is generally safe if it’s only expired for a year. However, check for any color, scent, or texture changes before using it. If you notice significant changes, dispose of it and get a new one. It’s better to be safe than sorry with expired supplements.
Creatine monohydrate can last up to four years, even in high temperatures. If stored correctly, it can even last past its expiration date. Other types of creatine may degrade faster.
To maximize its benefits, store creatine in a cool, dry place and check for changes before use. And always consult a healthcare professional before trying new supplements.
Keep your creatine effective and support your fitness goals for longer!
Read our blogs for more information on creatine.
I started my professional career as a sports medicine consultant in Rola, Missouri. My primary role was to suggest suitable supplements for my patients according to their pre-existing conditions and lifestyle goals. I believe a healthy lifestyle is the most important if you want to make your life really meaningfull.