You may have been reading about how everyone from athletes to teachers are loading up on creatine, which could prompt the question of what does a low creatine level mean.
For anyone with this concern, this will explain the causes and solutions.
Since creatine became popular as a supplement for athletes, there have been many questions about its effectiveness and the pros and cons of using it.
Bodybuilders and exercise enthusiasts often list it as the must-have item for maximum performance.
What exactly is creatine?
Creatine is a natural substance that your body produces in the liver and kidneys.
It is essentially amino acids and is found mainly in the muscles of the skeleton. Proteins are made of amino acids.
Creatine helps your body to produce more ATP or adenosine triphosphate.
ATP is responsible for the energy you use all the time, to do everything from wiggling your fingers to running a marathon.
Movement involves muscles and creatine gets additional ATP to your muscles, which increases your energy levels.
How can creatine help my muscles?
In order for muscles to perform at their maximum potential, they need the right nutrients and hydration. Creatine also helps your muscles retain water, which aids in recovery after exercise. Muscle growth occurs during the rest periods you take between workout sessions so the amount of creatine in your body is very important.
For working out, this means you can perform more reps and go longer in any exercise program before becoming tired. Additionally, it has basically no side effects.
If you have ever felt the burn that comes from a strong exercise session, you may be glad to know that creatine helps this too. It inhibits the upsurge of lactic acid which is responsible for that sensation. This could explain why athletes think so highly of creatine supplements.
How long has creatine been around?
Researchers have known about creatine for over 100 years. However, its popularity as a supplement and performance enhancer by athletes can be traced back to the early 1990s.
Due to the fact that it is completely natural, creatine supplements are perfectly legal for use in professional sports, Olympic contests and other physical competitions.
You also get creatine from food intake, mostly from fish and red meat. Your body only gets small amounts from eating so creatine supplements really help to close the gap. You can get as much creatine in a normal five gram dose as you could from eating about three pounds of meat.
When purchasing creatine supplements, be sure to stick with well-known companies. Also, it should not be taken if you have serious health issues such as kidney problems.
What does a low level of creatine mean?
There are many reasons for fluctuation in the level of creatine in your blood. Women can experience a low level of creatine when they are pregnant. An athlete who gets hurt can also have a temporary drop in creatine levels.
Not eating enough protein-rich foods can also be the source of a low creatine reading. Those who do not eat meat or other animal products are at risk for this type of problem.
Often, having a low creatine level is simply the result of getting older. Many of us lose muscle mass as we age or by reducing our amount of activity. Less muscle means less creatine in your blood.
In a few instances, a low level of creatine is discovered when testing for something else, such as kidney problems or the cause of a chronic illness. Sometimes, a low level of creatine can signal that there is an issue with your kidneys or liver which needs to be addressed, such as diabetes, urinary blockages and even kidney stones.
Medications can also affect the creatine level in your blood. It is vital to remember that each person is different and you will not find anything which lists a number for the perfect amount of creatine. Your physician can determine the normal level for you.
What can be done for someone with a low creatine level?
One way to help get more creatine is to take the supplements along with foods that have carbohydrates. This is said to increase the rate of absorption of creatine into the muscles. Starches and non-acidic juices like grape or apple are best.
According to the Mayo Clinic, lifting weights can also be part of your plan to prevent a decrease in muscle mass as you age.