Creatinine and Creatine
Creatinine is a waste product resulting from the muscle’s metabolic activities in our body.(1) Creatine helps in energy production and is the primary source of creatinine in the body.(2, 3, 4, 5) Around 2% of the creatine present in the body is converted daily into creatinine and transported to kidneys to be expelled via urine from our body.(6,7)
Causes of High Creatinine Level
Like mentioned before, kidneys are responsible for removing the creatinine along with other waste from our body through urine. If there is any problem with the normal functioning of the kidneys, then it causes increased levels of creatinine in the body. Some of the common causes where there is increase in the creatinine levels are:
- Consuming increased quantity of proteins, such as red meat.(8)
- Certain medications, supplements and foods can also lead to increase in the creatinine levels.
- Strenuous or heavy exercises also cause the creatinine in our body to increase.(9)
- Kidney infections and impairment.(10)
- Diseases affecting the kidneys causing high creatinine levels are: Diabetes, gout, muscular dystrophy or rhabdomyolysis; hypertension, autoimmune disorders, urinary tract infections, blood loss and Goodpasture syndrome.
Symptoms of High Creatinine Levels
Common symptoms of high creatinine levels in blood are: Dehydration, edema/swelling, breathlessness, urinary changes, chest pain, muscle cramps, fatigue, confusion, hypertension, nausea and vomiting(11, 12)
How to Lower the High Creatinine Levels?
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Avoiding dehydration is the biggest and simplest way to lower the high creatinine levels. Creatinine levels can increase when an individual is dehydrated. Acute dehydration stresses the cardiovascular system along with other systems and can be fatal if not prevented. So, make sure to drink plenty of water daily to prevent dehydration and prevent increase in the creatinine levels. You can add a slice of cucumber, lemon or some mint leaves to a glass of water to jazz up the taste. Drinking herbal teas is also good for preventing dehydration.
NOTE: Persistent dehydration can be a sign of injury to the kidney and needs medical consultation.
Cut Down On Protein Consumption
Cutting down on cooked red meat, helps a lot in lowering your creatinine levels in the body. Red meat contains creatine and after cooking, there is a breakdown of creatine into creatinine leading to increased levels.(13) So, it is important to eat less or completely avoid red meat and instead incorporate other sources of protein, such as beans.
More Dietary Fiber for Lowering the Creatinine Levels
There are many health benefits with consumption of dietary fiber along with lowering the creatinine levels.(14) According to studies dietary fiber helps in decreasing the creatinine levels in individuals suffering from chronic kidney disease. However, more research is needed for confirmation.
Avoid the Use of Certain Medications and Supplements
Medications, such as diuretics, are prescribed to reduce swelling and water retention by removing the fluids through excessive urination.(15,16)
This can lead to increase in the creatinine levels; especially in people with a pre-existing kidney disease. So, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any diuretics, especially if you are suffering from any other health issues.
Similarly, there are certain supplements, such as herbal supplements for weight loss that can increase the creatinine levels in the body. So, it is better to avoid these supplements altogether.
Bodybuilders and athletes also take supplements, which have creatine in them for building muscle endurance and strength. Such type of supplements, if not used under medical supervision, leads to increased levels of creatinine in the body. People suffering from elevated levels of creatinine must avoid anything that has creatine in it.