Everything You Should Know About Creatinine Levels For Health & Fitness

Everything You Should Know About Creatinine Levels For Health & Fitness

If you’ve hit the gym regularly, you’ve more than likely overheard conversations about a variety of health topics, including creatinine (pronounced kree-at-in-een). Unlike many fitness topics, this isn’t a supplement to take or a nutrient you eat. It’s actually something you don’t want a whole lot of in your body.

Here’s the full rundown on creatinine, creatinine levels, and what all this means for your kidneys.

What is Creatinine?

Not to be confused with creatine (good stuff to supplement with), “creatinine is a chemical waste product in the blood that passes through the kidneys to be filtered and eliminated in urine. The chemical waste is a by-product of normal muscle function. The more muscle a person has, the more creatinine they produce.” (DaVita Kidney Care)

Although it is a waste product, research suggests that creatinine in the body may also play a part in fighting disease, as it has been shown to stop the growth of bacteria.

Normal levels of creatinine in the blood are approximately 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dL) in adult males and 0.5 to 1.1 milligrams per deciliter in adult females.

**healthy creatine levels chart**

This is not a lot. Other factors that may affect the level of creatinine in the blood include body size, activity level, and medications. Typically, creatinine travels in the blood to the kidneys where it leaves the body in the urine.

To keep creatinine levels low, you need healthy kidneys helping you out.

Creatinine and Kidneys

Your kidneys are in charge of maintaining healthy creatinine levels. If they slow down, then creatinine levels rise, with no exceptions. When creatinine levels are high, this is an indicator that your kidneys are struggling and are on the path to kidney disease and possible failure.

The 7 most common causes of high creatinine levels:

  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney obstruction
  • Dehydration
  • High protein consumption
  • Intense exercise levels
  • Certain medications
  • Poorly manufactured creatine

 

What a person eats can have a significant impact on creatinine levels. Meats contain creatinine, making it important to balance out your macros. Protein supplements can create creatinine buildup, too, creating extra stress. Your kidneys can process only 25g of protein per two-hour window, so make sure to evenly space out your protein intake.

Rigorous exercise can also increase creatinine levels by increasing muscle breakdown. Staying anabolic and well hydrated will help keep your system clear.

Certain drugs, like cimetidine (Bactrim) can sometimes cause abnormally elevated creatinine levels. Antibiotics, such as trimethoprim, and H2 blockers, such as cimetidine, can increase in creatinine levels, too.

Recently, elevated creatinine levels in infants were associated with bacteremia while elevated levels in adult males have been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer.

Can You Have Too Much Creatinine In Your System?

Yes. Too much creatinine induces muscle breakdown, raised blood pressure and potentially leads to kidney failure.

Can You Have Too Little Creatinine in Your System?

Actually, yes. Creatinine has its own Goldilocks zone. When creatine levels are low, this is a sign of weak muscles and muscle loss, and the liver (not the kidneys this time) is not working as it should.

If your creatinine levels are abnormally low, this is a strong indicator that you’re catabolic, meaning you’re losing all that muscle you want to keep, and you don’t have enough creatine (a beneficial amino acid) in your body. You are also in danger of developing liver disease.

Hitting the Sweet Spot for Creatinine Levels

To figure out how you’re doing with creatinine, you can take a blood on serum creatinine, or take a urine test. Normal creatinine levels in the urine for healthy women is 88-128 mL/min. and 97-137 mL/min. in males.

Both tests reflect how well your kidneys are doing. The better they function, the better they constantly clear creatinine out of your body.

The Creatinine - Creatine Connection

There is a connection between the two.  If your Creatine supplement is not made properly, you can get excess Creatinine in your system.  If Creatine is processed correctly, there is no residue.  The best thing to check on with supplementation is if the company can tell you purity of the creatine being sold.  If it is pure, you are good to go. 

Rigorous exercise can also increase creatinine levels by increasing muscle breakdown. Staying anabolic and well hydrated will help keep your system clear.

Certain drugs, like cimetidine (Bactrim) can sometimes cause abnormally elevated creatinine levels. Antibiotics, such as trimethoprim, and H2 blockers, such as cimetidine, can increase in creatinine levels, too.

Recently, elevated creatinine levels in infants were associated with bacteremia while elevated levels in adult males have been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer.

Easy Ways to Hit the Creatinine Goldilocks Zone

  • Exercise regularly but not excessively
  • Supplement with creatine if your workout routine is intense
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Get your kidneys checked
  • Lay off alcohol or at least moderate it 

 

References

  1. https://www.davita.com/education/kidney-disease/symptoms/what-is-creatinine
  2. https://www.medicinenet.com/creatinine_blood_test/article.htm
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/creatinine-test/about/pac-20384646
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322380
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319892

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