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?
If in a dry, powder form (tablets, capsules and powders for scooping), supplements containing whey protein
, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
, 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 here
This CL Answer initially posted on 9/17/2014.
Last updated 8/8/2017.