T Nation

Supplements and Expiration Dates


#1

Hello

Was just curious what the take on expiration dates are with a) protein powders and b) pre workout supplements.
Do they become toxic to the body, or just less beneficial?
Do you toss your supplements once they go bad, or wait another x months/weeks?

The one I came across was a pre workout, with creatines and amino acids.
4 months after expiration, tastes vile but did so fresh as well.
Had a horrible workout, getting an exertion headache and pulling some muscle in my neck, but was stressed and tons of other factors that might've played in. I know migraines can be linked to diet so thought I would look into the supplement going bad.

Thanks for reading over,
Garrett


#2

There isn't a universal rule. The main issues are oxidation and absorption of moisture: some compounds are prone to these to greater or lesser degrees and others are not. Expiration dates are also sometimes very conservative and have nothing to do besides allowing reasonable time, from the commercial standpoint, for the product to be sold and don't actually mean the product is even starting to go bad at that point.

In other cases there is a known rate at which potency is lost (an active chemically changes to something else) and often an expiration date will be set at the point prior to where the loss of any active has reached 10%.

So it really is a different question for each product.


#3

This is kinda related.. a friend of mine just yesterday was explaining that the expiration date set on various 'medicines' is usually double the length of the studies conducted on their safety, and that most prescription meds don't ever actually 'expire'. I don't know if this is 100% true, but it certainly made me pause for moment.

S


#4

Quite a few drugs are extremely stable and would be unchanged after a century. However there are also many that degrade at a slow rate.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers don't see a commercial value or need to go to the expense to validate that their product might actually have, for example, a shelf life of 20 years. It would be easier to decide that, for example, 2 years is plenty for commercial purposes and then just go and validate 2 years.

But in other cases the 2 years might really be 2 years, in terms of retaining 90%+ potency.