Most of you must have heard of creatinine before. Have you thought of it just because of the people who work out? However, it is not like that. Creatinine is the substance that can have various effects on your body.
Creatinine levels are not constant always. They may fluctuate due to various reasons. Low levels of creatinine may have some negative effects on health.
But, you can improve your creatinine levels. Keep on reading to know what is it and how to treat low levels of creatinine.
What Is Creatinine?
Creatinine is a waste product produced continuously during muscle breakdown. Kidneys filter out creatinine from blood and none of it is reabsorbed.
Creatinine is produced from creatine. Creatine is very important for energy production in muscles. Every day about 2% of creatine is converted into creatinine. Then creatinine is transferred to the bloodstream through the kidneys.
Almost all of the creatinine is filtered out and none of it is reabsorbed. Creatinine is excreted from your body in urine.
Usually, the muscle mass remains constant from day to day. Thus, creatinine production also remains unchanged on a regular basis.
The Working Of Kidneys
Kidneys excrete out waste materials from your body. The entire blood flows through kidneys many times a day. Kidneys push out the liquid part of blood through nephrons. Nephrons are basically tiny filters. They reabsorb most of the fluid back into the blood. The unabsorbed waste materials are excreted out through kidneys.
The rate of blood flow through kidneys is known as glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The glomerulus is the part of the kidney that filters out blood. It is made up of microscopic bundles inside the nephrons. In this way, the blood is filtered and waste is removed.
Creatinine is removed from your body through kidneys. The levels of this waste product in your blood get stabilized with time. Basically, your body gets used to these optimum levels of creatinine. Sometimes, this level drops to a value lower than the optimum value.
Creatinine clearance is the amount of creatinine-free blood kidneys can make each minute. Basically, it is the normal level of creatinine. Creatinine clearance in a healthy person is given below:
A. For Women
95 milliliters per minute
B. For Men
120 milliliters per minute
However, the GFR rate can vary depending on age, size, and sex of an individual. The creatinine clearance is generally an estimation of the glomerular filtration rate.
Testing And How Creatinine Affects The Body
Creatinine clearance tests are done to check the renal function. The rate of creatinine clearance is checked. Creatinine clearance goes down as soon as the renal function declines.
Creatinine is tested in both the blood and in the urine. Creatinine tests help evaluate the kidney function.
1. Serum Creatinine
It is a test in which blood is taken out for a laboratory test. Then, doctors find out the amount of creatinine in the blood.
Basically, the GFR is estimated using a single blood level of creatinine. The GFR reduces with increasing levels of creatinine. This test is preferred more than the urine test.
2. Creatinine Clearance Test
It is done using a timed urine sample. It means the urine passed out in a set time period is collected. The urine sample is tested to find out how much creatinine is removed from your body. It is useful for the patients with less or more muscle mass.
If low levels are confirmed, your doctor may suggest another test. Basically, it is done to check for a muscle disease. It may include a muscle biopsy or muscle enzyme test.
Creatinine is present in your bloodstream and is removed through the kidneys. It is excreted in urine from your body.
Although it is a waste it helps your body fights diseases. Creatinine has been shown to inhibit the bacterial growth.
Causes Of Low Creatinine
There are various causes of low creatinine. People with muscular dystrophy have reduced levels of creatinine. Also, people with low muscle mass are at high risk to low creatinine. Here I have penned the causes of low creatinine:
1. Liver And Kidney Problems
Creatininee is produced in the liver. An unhealthy liver is not able to produce creatine. The chronic liver disease may result in 50% reduction in creatine production. It means that there is a reduced amount of creatininee in the blood.
Poor liver function negatively affects the creatinine production. Thus, it causes low creatinine levels.
Kidney problems may also result in lower creatinine levels. Some problems such as fatty liver disease and hepatitis may cause low creatinine. Consult your doctor if you observe symptoms of these disorders.
2. Low Muscle Mass
Creatinine levels indicate the amount of muscle in your body. Low muscle mass is a common cause for low creatinine. Creatinine is produced by the breakdown of muscles.
Thus, people with low muscle mass often suffer from this. Low levels of creatinine can be due to temporary problems. That means there is not always a serious medical problem behind low levels of creatinine.
Low levels of creatinine are due to low muscle mass. Creatine levels may decrease with a particular illness. Low levels of creatinine show that muscles are not working properly. It shows that muscles are deteriorating.
Malnutrition can also be a reason for low creatinine. It leads to loss of muscle mass. When you don’t get calories from food, your body needs an alternative source of energy. For this, the breakdown of proteins and fats from muscles take place.
3. Deficiency Of Proteins
Most of the creatine is produced in the body only. However, a small amount of creatine can be taken from food.
Creatininee is majorly found in meat. So, you should consider adding meat to your diet. Thus, vegetarian people are more likely to have low levels of creatinine.
Eating disorders may also cause low levels of creatinine. Else, not eating for a long time can cause low creatinine levels.
Pregnant women may have low creatine levels. It is usually seen during the second trimester. Basically, it is due to the higher concentrations of plasma. The more is the plasma volume, more is the blood filtered out through kidneys.
Therefore, more creatinine is excreted from your body. It results in decreased levels of creatinine. However, it is completely normal. The creatine levels get back to normal post pregnancy.
Older people usually have reduced muscle mass. It can be due to malnutrition or eating a low protein diet. It results in low levels of creatinine with the person getting older.
Ageing also leads to reduced metabolism. It is because of many hormonal changes with age. Research shows that after every 10 years, the body mass gets reduced by 10 pounds. Therefore, it results in low levels of creatinine as you get older.
6. Liver Diseases
Low creatinine can be due to liver diseases. The liver is the site of protein synthesis and breakdown. If the liver is not working properly, it can result in low protein synthesis. Ultimately, it leads to low levels of creatinine.
7. Excess Water Intake
Excess water intake is a less common cause for low creatinine. It is because water dilutes the concentration of blood.
Certain medications may also interfere with some measuring methods of creatinine. It can cause an erroneously low reading.
Hypothyroidism also has a negative effect on the kidney functioning. It can affect the removal of waste through kidneys.
Symptoms Of Low Creatinine
1. Symptoms Of Muscle Diseases
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle stiffness and pain
- Reduced mobility
2. Symptoms Of Liver Diseases
- Abdominal pain
- Pale, bloody, or tar-coloured stools
- Inflamed liver
3. Symptoms Of High Creatinine Due To Diet
- Weight loss
- Feeling faint
Low And High Levels Of Creatinine
The causes of low and high levels of creatinine are different. Obviously, they will differ from each other. Creatinine levels help to evaluate the renal function.
Low creatinine means that too little creatine is being produced. It is basically related to the liver, muscles, or diet. Low creatinine may be due to pregnancy, ageing, or low muscle mass. It can be treated with some changes in lifestyle.
On the other hand, high creatinine means that there is too much creatinine. It means that creatinine is not being removed properly. High levels of creatinine may be due to intense exercising or high protein diet.
Low creatinine levels do not mean an underlying health problem always. There are various reasons for higher and lower creatinine levels. Your doctor will figure out the cause. The important considerations often include:
- Medications you are taking
- Whether a woman is pregnant
- You are having an illness
- Your diet
- Tests and laboratory examinations are done to determine the underlying cause.
Natural Ways To Boost Creatine Levels
The treatment for low creatine depends on the underlying cause.
1. Regular Exercise
Do regular exercises but only gentle exercises. It will increase your muscle mass. Thus, it will help improve creatinine levels. Do cardio workouts at least five times a week.
Avoid doing high-intensity exercises. However, if you do such exercises, take a creatine supplement with it. Generally, it is considered safe. You can do exercises such as swimming, weightlifting, or aerobics.
2. Treat The Underlying Causes
Low creatinine levels may be due to some underlying health issues. For such cases, it is best to treat the underlying cause. Consult your doctor for the best results.
Diet plays an important role if you have kidney problems. Not only kidney problems, but a proper diet is necessary for healthy living.
You should include protein-rich foods in your diet. Fruits and leafy greens are great when it comes to detoxification of the body. It can help in improving kidney and liver functions.
4. Reduce Excessive Water Intake
Drinking too much water can lower down the creatinine levels. It is because too much water dilutes creatinine in urine.
Thus, it is suggested to reduce water intake if you are drinking it in excess. It is often advised 24 hours before you need to give your urine sample for the test.
When you drink more water, it dilutes the urine. The frequency of urine production increases. It results in the lower amount of creatinine per minute. Cut back on your water intake if you are drinking it in excess amounts.
5. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol has a negative effect on the renal filtration. It also impacts your liver functioning. Avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages completely. It is necessary for improving creatinine levels.
6. Avoid Certain Medications
Certain medications may affect the kidneys functioning to filter out creatinine. Some medications affect the central nervous system and thus lower creatinine levels.
Therefore, you should stop taking such medicines. However, it is much important to consult your doctor before doing this.
Foods To Avoid To Improve Creatinine Levels
Too much caffeine makes the functioning of creatinine difficult. You should try to avoid caffeine whenever possible. Caffeine taken with dietary supplements such as ephedra may have negative effects.
Not only tea or coffee, but chocolates are also sources of caffeine. You must avoid these foodstuffs and energy drinks too. It will eventually help in improving the creatinine levels.
2. Natural Diuretics
Creatine supplements increase the levels of creatinine. Creatine causes your muscles to retain water and it causes dehydration. You need to limit your intake of natural diuretics to prevent water loss. thus, avoid these natural diuretics to increase creatinine levels.
Creatinine is naturally found in foods such as meat and fishes. It is better you include these foods in your diet.However, don’t take supplements if you are taking creatine from food sources.
Getting more creatine would be of no help if your body has reached the saturation point for creatine. Vegetarians are more likely to have low levels of creatine.Thus, vegetarian people may get creatine through supplements.
Foods For Higher Creatinine
Consume carbohydrates such as fruits or juices. They will help improve creatine blood levels. Combine creatine supplements with protein while doing exercises. It will help enhance your body mass.
It is necessary to treat low creatinine levels at the earliest. Otherwise, complications may arise due to your ignorance. Check for the symptoms of low creatinine and get yourself tested. It is better to treat any disease or malfunctioning on time. Low creatinine may indicate a renal or liver disease.
Thus, it becomes crucial to have the normal levels of creatinine. Use the natural methods along with the prescribed medicines to improve creatinine levels.