Creatinine. You have heard of it before, but you assumed it was only for people who workout regularly. Well, that is absolutely not the case. If you feel tired easily and have difficulty breathing at times, it is very likely that you could be suffering from low levels of creatinine. Keep reading to know what creatinine is, why its levels fluctuate, and what measures can be taken to improve this condition.
Creatinine is a waste product generated by the metabolism of creatine in the muscles. It is excreted from the body by the kidneys. Optimal excretion is important so that its levels do not increase in the blood and cause any complications (1).
The fluctuation in creatinine levels can be caused due to various underlying reasons and health problems. However, any condition can be averted if you know the causes and its remedies. Let us discuss the causes of low creatinine levels in detail and then proceed to the remedial measures. Read on!
What Does Low Creatinine Mean?
Creatinine is eliminated from the body with the help of well-functioning kidneys. Over time, the levels of this waste product in the bloodstream and the body get stabilized (2). When this level drops to a value lesser than the average range, the person is considered to have low levels of creatinine.
This is not always a worrisome situation. However, it may indicate the presence of a condition that is serious and requires immediate medical attention. Low creatinine levels may be caused by a range of different factors.
What Causes Low Creatinine Levels?
People who have myasthenia gravis or muscular dystrophy have lower levels of creatinine as compared to others. Additionally, disabilities that limit movements can also reduce muscle mass. Here are some causes of low creatinine levels:
1. Liver And Kidney Problems
The liver plays a functional role in the production of creatinine. Therefore, if your liver is not healthy, it could cause a decrease in the levels of creatinine in your body. Kidney problems like fatty liver disease and hepatitis lower creatinine levels (3). If you experience any symptoms of these illnesses, you should consult a doctor right away.
The age of a person plays a role in the decrease of creatinine levels. This is because muscle mass gets reduced with age. Creatinine levels also decrease as a person ages – this is because of lower basal metabolism (4). With age, your metabolism slows down due to changes in the hormonal concentrations. According to research, every 10 years, the total body mass gets lowered by 10 pounds, thereby resulting in low serum concentration of creatinine.
3. Low Muscle Mass
Myasthenia gravis and other degenerative muscular conditions, acquired or inherent muscular dystrophies, as well as other similar problems that alter muscle metabolism can cause less muscle mass (3). Levels of serum creatinine reflect the total muscle mass, and a persistent reduction indicates a localized or systemic problem of defective muscle metabolism.
4. Protein Deficiency
Another common cause of low creatinine levels is protein deficiency. Creatinine production occurs with the breakdown and metabolism of proteins or nitrogenous compounds in the body. A low level of creatinine is an indication of a diet that is low in proteins. This, in turn, causes inadequate production of creatinine and nitrogenous wastes (3).
The levels of serum creatinine are lowered during the second trimester of pregnancy due to the high volumes of plasma that contribute to the dilution of creatinine in the blood. Also, because of high plasma volumes, more blood is filtered by the kidneys, and more creatinine is excreted. In this case, no treatment is required as the levels of serum creatinine will become normal after delivery.
[ Read: High Creatinine Levels ]
Here are the signs and symptoms of this condition.
Signs And Symptoms Of Low Creatinine Levels
- Muscular weakness
- Muscle stiffness and pain
- Problems in mobility
- Abdominal pain
- Pale or tarry stools
You may or may not experience all of these symptoms. Their occurrence depends on the underlying cause (5). Creatinine levels in the body can be increased by making a few lifestyle changes and using natural remedies. Here’s how you can achieve this.
How To Treat Low Creatinine Levels Naturally
Remedies For Low Levels Of Creatinine
Vigorous exercises can help increase the creatinine levels in the body due to an increase in the muscle mass. Do cardio workouts with ample amount of weight training at least five times a week. Normal amount of exercising, only three times a week, won’t make any changes to your creatinine levels.
A proper diet is also important, especially if you suffer from kidney and/or liver problems. Any improvement in their functioning improves leads to a boost in the levels of creatinine in the urine. Consume foods with more protein, such as meat, poultry, legumes, pulses, and tofu. Also, add a healthy proportion of fruits and vegetables to your diet as they are rich in detoxifying compounds and can help improve kidney and liver functions. For a detailed recommendation that suits the cause of low creatinine in your body, check with your doctor.
[ Read: Foods To Keep Your Kidneys Healthy ]
Apart from the food you consume, you should also keep in mind the amount of water you drink. Drinking too much water can dilute creatinine in urine, which is why experts advise cutting back on water if you have been drinking it in excess. This is especially advised 24 hours before you are required to produce a urine sample to be tested for creatinine levels. When urine gets diluted, it lowers the creatinine amount per unit of urine. By reducing the water intake, less urine is produced. However, the same amount of creatinine will be eliminated from the body by the kidneys, meaning that there is more creatinine per unit of urine.
3. Avoid Alcohol
Abstaining from alcoholic beverages is important when your body has low creatinine levels. This is because alcohol has an effect on the kidneys’ creatinine filtration process in the blood. It can also negatively impact liver function. When you abstain from alcohol, its effects on the kidneys and liver are eliminated. As a result, the level of creatinine in your body increases.
Apart from the tips mentioned above, you should also stop taking any medications that may be interfering with the kidneys’ ability to eliminate creatinine from the blood. There are certain medications that lower the creatinine levels as they affect the central nervous system. Do remember to talk to your doctor before doing so. With a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise, you can easily increase the levels of creatinine in your body.
Now, let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How much creatine is too much?
Experts recommend taking five grams of creatine per day. Any dosage beyond this is not recommended as it can damage the liver and kidneys.
Is a low creatinine level dangerous?
Low creatinine levels can indicate a muscular disease or kidney/liver disease. These can turn fatal if not treated immediately.
How much water will cause too low creatinine levels?
Drinking abnormally excessive amount of water can cause low creatinine levels.
Low creatinine levels should be treated at the earliest to avoid any complications that may arise from the underlying causes. Get yourself checked to pinpoint the exact cause and use our natural methods in conjunction with the prescribed medicines for best results.
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