Women should be at approximately .5 to 1 milligrams of creatine for every deciliter (1/10 of a liter) of blood, while men can have a slightly higher concentration of creatine, capping out at around 1.2 milligrams a deciliter.
In order to know what a healthy creatine level is, you must first understand what creatine is and how it is produced.
There are two different ways to measure your creatine levels. The first and most accurate way of measuring your creatine levels is to have a blood creatinine level test conducted.
A creatinine clearance test will tell you how much creatine is being expelled in your urine. When your urine is measured for creatinine levels, doctors use a chart that analyzes the milliliters of creatinine that are displaced each second.
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What Is the Difference Between Creatine and Creatinine?
Creatinine, unlike creatine, is highly toxic, especially when found in large quantities. When creatine is processed, creatinine is produced and must be eliminated from the body.
Essentially, all creatine tests are actually analyzing the amount of creatinine you have in your blood and/or urine. Since creatine is also found in protein-rich foods such as red meat, eating meats in excess can cause your creatinine and creatine levels to be elevated.
So what is creatine and how does it work in your body? The video below explains:
There are several different forms of creatine, with some being naturally produced in the body and others being synthesized in labs. Creatine is responsible for the production of adenosine triphosphate, otherwise known as ATP.
Bodybuilders and professional athletes take creatine supplements to improve physical performance. Adenosine triphosphate cannot be taken as a supplement, therefore it is necessary to intake more creatine in order to increase your ATP levels.
Is Having a High Creatine Level Dangerous?
When you have high creatine clearance test or blood creatine test levels, your body is storing excess creatinine. In most cases, this happens when you have mild to severe kidney damage.
Because the kidneys filter creatinine, having too much in your urine or blood is an indication that they are not functioning properly.
Sometimes, the kidneys can regenerate and eventually your creatinine levels will go down. This is why people with kidney disease and other kidney-related illnesses are encouraged to avoid eating red meat and other protein-rich foods in excess.
High creatinine levels can also be a sign that you are not properly hydrated. Dehydration can happen as a result of being involved in strenuous activity or having a severely unbalanced diet.
While normal creatine tests may not help doctors to tell conclusively if you are dehydrated, a blood urea nitrogen test can be used to see how much creatinine is in your blood.
Although creatinine is a potentially toxic byproduct of creatine, having a high concentration in your blood or urine will not necessarily do you any harm. On the other hand, the variable factors that may be causing you to have high creatinine levels can potentially be life-threatening.
High concentrations of creatinine in the blood may mean that you have a limited amount of blood flowing into your kidneys, indicate that you are pregnant, or even have heart problems.
Elevated creatinine levels in the blood occur in pregnant women, professional athletes, and burn victims.
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What Can Cause Low Creatine Levels?
Because the production of creatine and creatinine is centered around protein and the muscle system, low creatinine levels usually occur in people who have little muscle tissue. This is especially the case with paralysis and other disorders that cause the muscles to atrophy.
Since the kidneys work to keep too much creatinine from flowing into your bloodstream, low creatine levels can also be related to improper liver function. If you do not eat a diet that is rich enough in protein, low creatinine levels can occur.
If you have a kidney disorder, having a low creatinine clearance test level is an indication that your kidneys may have completely shut down. WebMD has comprehensive resources on kidney function, creatine, and the symptoms associated with low creatinine levels.
How Can You Maintain Healthy Creatine Levels?
If you are fairly healthy, take no prescription medications, and do not have any kidney or liver illnesses, maintaining healthy blood and urine creatinine levels will not be difficult.
Those with serious medical conditions will need to have their creatinine levels tested regularly in order to ensure that no major complications will occur.
Eating too much or too little protein for a long period of time can also negatively impact your creatinine levels. Avoid taking creatine supplements unless they have been approved by your primary care doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the benefits of creatine?
Creatine helps you build muscle. Research has shown that people with more muscle tend to have a higher metabolism, allowing them to use calories from food intake more effectively. In short, when you have more muscle you burn fat easier.
Do I have to take supplements?
Unless your doctor has instructed you to take certain supplements, you do not have to take them.
Are supplements safe?
Whether or not dietary supplements are safe to take depends on a number of factors. Learn more about the safety of supplements here.
What supplements do I need to take?
No one can answer that aside from your doctor. To learn more about the various supplements that doctors commonly recommend, check out this article.
Don’t forget that any supplementation is just one part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Check out our PRO Plan today to see how we can help you stay motivated and fit all year long!