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Does Creatine Go Bad?

The perpetual desire and effort of athletes to run faster, jump higher, throw farther, or just perform better in general led them to pursue means to enhance performance, aside from endless training.

The most famous means is through drugs or supplements. And the most famous of these supplements is creatine.

Creatine is widely believed to enhance muscle mass and give short bursts of powerful energy, creatine is widely used by athletes all over the world. It was first discovered by scientists in the 1970s that creatine can help boost performance.

And by the 1990s, it became the most popular athletic supplement.

However, as famous as it is, are there dangers to consuming creatine? Are there side effects? What if you take expired creatine? Does creatine even go bad? Let’s answer all these questions right now.

Does Creatine Go Bad

Does Creatine Go Bad – Are There Dangers to Consuming Creatine?

Creatine is a natural substance. It is produced in the body and it also comes from protein-rich foods like fish and meat. Once in the body, creatine turns into creatine phosphate. This creatine phosphate is responsible to produce a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the human body. ATP gives the muscles the power to contract.

Since creatine is natural, it makes sense to conclude that it is not harmful, that there is no danger to taking it. It is just an amino acid that even the body’s liver, pancreas, and kidneys make. But just because something is natural doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe. The FDA doesn’t hold the same standards to supplements as they do to medications.

There are actually cases where taking creatine might result in something bad, especially when taken in excess. Generally, though, creatine appears to be harmless. There are yet studies to be made that will give conclusive results. It also appears to be beneficial to a lot of athletes when taken at appropriate amounts.

The thing is, taking creatine when you have kidney disorders or developing a kidney disease can have adverse effects. It is always better to talk to a doctor first before taking creatine.

Does Creatine Go Bad – Possible Side Effects of Creatine

Creatine can have side effects in some cases, particularly when too much is taken. Here are the possible side effects as listed by WebMD.

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety (creatine is also found in the brains, so too much creatine can possibly affect the brain)
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Kidney problems
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Stomach upset
  • Rash

Other side effects can be muscle cramping, dizziness, heat intolerance, dehydration, and water intolerance. If you’re taking creatine, make sure to drink ample amounts of water to avoid dehydration.

WebMD also suggests avoiding taking creatine along caffeine and ephedra, as those stimulants can accelerate the effects of creatine. It is also suggested to avoid taking creatine if you are under 18 years old, pregnant, nursing, or taking other supplements to control your blood sugar as creatine can also affect blood sugar levels.

People with kidney problems, liver disease, or diabetes are not recommended to take creatine. If you’ve never taken creatine before, make sure to consult your doctor first before trying it out.

Does Creatine Go Bad?

Does creatine expire? And what would happen if you accidentally take creatine that exceeded its expiration date?

A study published in the National Library of Medicine says that although creatine supplements list an expiration date that’s around 2 to 3 years from the date of production, the supplement can last longer than that.

In the same study, it’s mentioned that the supplement creatine monohydrate (powdered supplement), is extremely stable. It’s highly unlikely to break down into creatinine, its waste product form. This is the case even if exposed at high temperatures or stored a long time.

Even then, if the supplement turns in creatinine, it is not particularly harmful. Creatinine is merely a lot less potent. It won’t give you the power boost that creatine normally does. But it won’t necessarily harm you, either.

One study even mentions that creatine does not break down into creatinine even after four years since production. Even if stored at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius).

However, liquid forms of the supplement can break down a lot more easily.

Are There Adverse Effects When You Take Expired Creatine?

Creatine is considered safe to consume. And if it expires, it will only lose its potency. It shouldn’t become harmful.

If your creatine powder becomes lumpy, don’t worry. It is not expired. It’s likely that it has been exposed to moisture. But that will not do you harm. It will also still have its potency.

However, if you left your creatine jar open at room temperature, or exposed the creatine to a lot of liquid, it can lose its potency. It won’t be harmful. It just won’t be as effective.

But if your creatine looks different, smells different, or tastes different, it’s best to stop consuming it. It didn’t expire or go bad. But it was probably exposed to bacteria. This is likely when you leave your creatine jar open for a few days at room temperature.

If you have any cause for worry about your creatine supplement, it is suggested that you stop taking it. Creatine is widely available and affordable anyway. You can easily replace your creatine.

Creatine is Safe and Widely Available

Creatine is generally safe. But if you have any medical conditions that you think creatine might aggravate, consult a doctor first before taking creatine. And don’t worry about expired creatine. It’s not harmful. And creatine doesn’t expire easily anyway.

Just be concerned about your creatine when it looks, smells, or tastes bad. It’s best to replace it altogether. You don’t want to risk taking something that will hurt your body. Creatine is cheap anyway, it won’t cost you that much to replace bad creatine.


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