Most supplements have an expiration date indicating when they should be used by. This is because there is a window of time that the supplement will be safe and effective to use.
Depending on the supplement and the strength of it, there could be extremely dangerous side effects caused by consumption after the bottle’s use-by date. So, does creatine expire and, if so, how dangerous it is to use after the provided date?
While some supplements have the ability to last forever and still be just as effective, each bottle of creatine you purchase will be provided with an expiration date as eventually, its effectiveness does run out.
Depending on the brand of creatine, a bottle can last for as long as 3 years–with a 6-month buffer in which it may still be effective to use. This is, of course, provided that there are no signs of the creatine having gone bad.
With some supplements, there are ways to prolong its expiration, but with creatine, there is no sure way to make your bottle last much longer than the standard 3 years. You can stop your bottle going bad before the expiry date by storing your creatine in certain conditions:
While creatine does display signs of having gone sour and no longer being safe for use, not all of the warning signs will be obvious. Some brands of creatine may still look and feel the same so you might just want to throw away the bottle rather than risk harmful side effects from soured creatine.
The signs that indicate that you should not use creatine are:
If your creatine has developed any of these warning signs, then regardless of how little time has passed since the bottle’s expiry date, you should throw it away.
Considering that creatine is not a supplement made using food as its base, it is far safer to use after its expiration date than other supplements. This is because there is no food hidden in the supplement that could rot or go bad.
That being said, make sure to check the ingredients included in the brand of creatine you chose as some companies may include food-based supplements for flavour which may make them more harmful to take once past the expiration date.
Keep in mind when deciding whether or not to consume expired creatine that there is a general 6 month leeway on supplements which means that most chemical-based supplements are safe to use 6 months after the recommended expiry date.
If you do wish to use creatine that has expired within the last 6 months, then it is safe to assume that you can use them with no severe side effects. Especially considering that, unlike other supplements, there has been next to no reports of medical issues directly caused by the use of expired creatine.
However, keep an eye out for the expired signs mentioned above as these signs indicate that the creatine is passed the safe post-expiration use stage.
To conclude, yes creatine can expire as most supplements can, but that does not mean that once past the use by date you have to throw your creatine out. Due to the general 6 month expiration buffer that can be applied to the vast majority of chemical based supplements, creatine has not been known to cause any serious medical issues when consumed within this 6 month buffer.
As long as you keep an eye out for any signs that your creatine has gone sour as listed above, then using 6 months expired creatine will be fine.
Although, there is really no need to use expired creatine as it is one of the most inexpensive supplements on the market so you might as well throw away any that has possibly gone bad and buy a new bottle for a low price. Better to be safe than sorry.