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Question:
Can heat and humidity destroy whey protein and other sports nutrition supplements (e.g., creatine, BCAAs, digestive enzymes) during shipping or while storing at home?

Answer:
If in a dry, powder form (tablets, capsules and powders for scooping), supplements containing whey protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, and/or digestive enzymes are quite stable and should not degrade unless temperatures exceed 115° F (46° Celsius). However, once they are opened, they can be affected by humidity. Moisture levels above 10% can cause protein, amino acids and creatine to begin to degrade. To reduce exposure to moisture, especially in humid climates, it’s best to store powdered products in several small containers rather than one large container. Do not store these supplements in the refrigerator, because if you remove them and leave them open, moisture may accumulate due to condensation.

On the other hand, liquid supplements containing these ingredients, such as ready-to-drink sports drinks, are generally more sensitive to heat and can become unstable and degrade quickly. For example, tests by ConsumerLab.com found a liquid creatine product to contain little creatine and a large amount of a degradation form of creatine. If you live a hot climate, it may be preferable to refrigerate these, particularly after opening.  

For more information about using supplements containing protein, BCAAs and creatine, plus our tests of these products, see the Review of Protein Powders and Drinks and the Review of Muscle Enhancers (Creatine and BCAA).

Information about the effects of heat on other types of supplements, and how to store them, can be found



Do vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements lose effectiveness with exposure to high temperatures and is it safe to order supplements by mail in the summer? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
COMMENTS

Kelley16258   December 3, 2017
I was wondering the same thing about protein powder because so many health "gurus" are promoting their recipes that use protein powders in baked goods -- everything from muffins and pancakes to homemade protein bars and granola. These recipes usually call for baking temps between 200 and 350. So, if 110 degrees F is the threshold for protein powder degradation, then baking with protein powder is a waste of money?

ConsumerLab.com   December 19, 2017
Hi Kelley - Proteins remain chemically intact in the baking process, so there should be no issue baking with protein powders.

gary164   September 17, 2014
Didn't fully answer the question consumer labs.
What about regular ol' vitamins,i.e. C,B's one-a-day,flaxseed,
garlic,bee pollen etc.,etc.etc. in capsule or pill form?
I live in the Florida Keys but my home is air conditioned
and kept in the 70's temperature wise. Where should I shelf
my vitamins? On the kitchen counter,in a cupboard or in the frig?

ConsumerLab.com   September 25, 2014
Hi Gary - This question was specifically about whey protein and sports supplements, but your question is a good one!

We've added a link at the bottom of the Answer where you can find information about storing other types of supplements. Also, be sure to check product reviews for advice on storing.

For example, here is some information about storing supplements that contain flaxseed oil: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews//flaxseed/#storage

Christine161   September 17, 2014
What about storing other supplements and vitamins, including Omega-3 fish oil capsules and other oil-based capsules such as Vitamin E, etc.? Can they safely be stored in the refrigerator, and should they be?

ConsumerLab.com   September 18, 2014
Hi Christine - You can find more information about the effects of heat on supplements, and storing other types of supplements, here: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/vitamin_temperature/, as well as in individual product reviews. For example, information about keeping fish oil fresh can be found here: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/fish_oil_supplements_review/omega3/#fresh.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 9/17/2014. Last updated 8/8/2017.
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