Does Creatine Expire? (Should You Still Take It?)

January 8, 2024

Supplementing with creatine helps boost your creatine stores and, subsequently, your performance. Given that vegan or omnivorous diets generally supply 0 to 1.5 g/day of creatine and the fact that creatine stores are not fully filled, it is suggested to aim for 2–4 g/day of dietary creatine to optimize these stores [1, 2]. But does creatine expire, and is it still safe to take it?

Creatine does have an expiration date, typically taking a couple of years to expire (around three years in dry, cooler conditions). If you adhere to the recommended doses, the likelihood of your creatine expiring before you finish the entire container is very low.

Let’s look at what happens when creatine expires and what you can do to make creatine last as long as possible.

Does Creatine Expire?

Creatine is a non-protein amino acid compound that exists naturally in meat and seafood [3] and is created as a supplement by combining three amino acids, methionine, glycine, and arginine, and two enzymes, l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT) [4].

Professional organizations recommend using creatine monohydrate as it is the most extensively researched and effective form of creatine found in nutritional supplements [5, 6, 7].

So this article will mainly be referring to creatine monohydrate when speaking about “creatine.” Read this article for more information on creatine monohydrate vs creatine HCl.

When creatine is “expired,” it breaks down to the compound creatinine, which is not effective in improving muscle creatine stores and, as a result, performance [6].

How Long Does It Take For Creatine To Expire?

How Long Does It Take For Creatine To Expire

In its powdered form, creatine is highly stable and exhibits no signs of degradation even when exposed to elevated temperatures for extended periods, remaining unchanged over the years [8].

One study reported that creatine did not break down to creatinine even at 40 °C (104 °F) for over three years [9].

Even when creatine was stored at 60 °C (140 °F), there were only trace (minimal) amounts of creatinine after 44 months of storage [9].

When creatine is in liquid form (in solution), it degrades faster. In addition, creatine degrades faster when the pH decreases (becomes more acid) and the temperature increases [8, 10, 11].

That is why it is recommended that creatine should be taken immediately after mixing it with an acidic liquid, like fruit juice, or put in the refrigerator and taken within a couple of days to slow the breakdown to creatinine.

However, when creatine is in a neutral liquid form, it can still be 70% stable for 3 months, and in a liquid form at a very low pH (less than 2.8), it can still be 100% stable for 12 months [6].

How To Tell If Creatine Is Expired

First of all, it is important to define a few terms:

Best Before Date:

The “best before” date is an indication by the manufacturer of when a product is expected to be at its peak quality in terms of taste, texture, and nutritional value.

  • Implication: It does not necessarily mean that the product is unsafe to consume after this date, but it may start to lose its optimal quality.

You often will see this on the creatine tub you buy at the store.

Expiry Date:

The “expiry date” is synonymous with the expiration date and is the date set by the manufacturer to indicate the end of the period during which the product is expected to be safe to consume.

  • Implication: Consuming the product after the expiry date may pose health risks, as the safety and effectiveness of the product cannot be guaranteed.

Sell By Date:

The “sell by” date is provided to retailers as a guide for how long to display a product for sale.

  • Implication: It is not necessarily an indicator of the product’s safety for consumption. Consumers are generally advised to purchase the product before the sell-by date for optimal freshness, but the product may still be safe to consume after this date if stored properly.

If your creatine is past the best-before date on the tub, it is not necessarily expired – but often, this is a few years in advance of buying and should be already consumed if taken at the correct dose.

However, creatine is usually white and flavorless; if the color, flavor, or taste is off, it can be degraded and not be consumed.

When creatine forms lumps, it does not automatically mean creatine has expired; however, it indicates moisture in the tub, which can accelerate expiration. To prevent this, make sure that you store your creatine in an airtight container in a dry area.

Does Expired Creatine Still Work?

Expired creatine, or creatine degraded to creatinine, will not be effective in improving performance because it will not help increase your body’s creatine stores.

If creatine is past its sell-by or best-before date, it may still be effective for a while, depending on how the supplement company determined these dates.

Can Taking Expired Creatine Make You Sick?

When creatine is degraded, it forms creatinine. Creatine is seen as a waste product and excreted by the kidneys. Taking too much creatine, e.g., at a loading dose, may put pressure on the kidneys.

How To Store Creatine So It Doesn’t Expire Quickly

Here are a few tips to slow the breakdown of creatine to creatinine:

  • Keep creatine in a shaded spot away from direct sunlight.
  • Ensure the storage area is dry and free from moisture.
  • If your creatine supplement contains a silica pad, refrain from removing it.
  • Always tightly close the lid after each use.
  • For extended storage, if feasible, use an airtight container.


Creatine does expire, rendering it ineffective, but it takes a very long time (up to 3 years) before this happens.

If you take creatine at the recommended doses daily, it is very unlikely that your creatine will expire before it is used. Ensure you store creatine in an airtight container in a cool, dry area to prevent it from expiring prematurely.


  1.  Suzuki, T., et al. (2004). Evolution and divergence of the genes for cytoplasmic, mitochondrial, and flagellar creatine kinases. *Journal of Molecular Evolution, 59*, 218-226.
  2.  Kreider, R.B., & Jung, Y.P. (2011). Creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. *Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry, 15*(2), 53-69.
  3. Bertin, M., et al. (2007). Origin of the genes for the isoforms of creatine kinase. *Gene, 392*(1-2), 273-282.
  4. da Silva, R.P., et al. (2009). Creatine synthesis: hepatic metabolism of guanidinoacetate and creatine in the rat in vitro and in vivo. *American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 296*(2), E256-61.
  5. Wyss, M., et al. (2007). Creatine and creatine kinase in health and disease–a bright future ahead? *Creatine and Creatine Kinase in Health and Disease*, 309-334.
  7. Kreider, R.B., Jäger, R., & Purpura, M. (2022). Bioavailability, Efficacy, Safety, and Regulatory Status of Creatine and Related Compounds: A Critical Review. *Nutrients, 14*(5).
  8. Sykut-Cegielska, J., et al. (2004). Biochemical and clinical characteristics of creatine deficiency syndromes. *Acta Biochimica Polonica, 51*(4), 875-882.
  9. Jäger, R., et al. (2011). Analysis of the efficacy, safety, and regulatory status of novel forms of creatine. *Amino Acids, 40*, 1369-1383.
  10. Jäger, R. (2003). The use of creatine monohydrate in sports nutrition. Freising, Germany.
  11. Edgar, G., & Shiver, H. (1925). The equilibrium between creatine and creatinine, in aqueous solution. The effect of hydrogen ion. *Journal of the American Chemical Society, 47*(4), 1179-1188.
  12. Cannon, J.G., et al. (1990). Acute phase response in exercise: interaction of age and vitamin E on neutrophils and muscle enzyme release. *American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 259*(6), R1214-R1219.
About the Author

Hanli is a Registered Dietitian with a special interest in sports nutrition. She has a Master's degree and is currently a PhD candidate focusing on adolescent athlete nutrition. She has published research in the Obesity Reviews journal and is a research coordinator at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa.

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