30 Natural Food Sources Of Creatine (+ How Much To Eat) – Fitbod (2022)

30 Natural Food Sources Of Creatine (+ How Much To Eat) – Fitbod (1)

Step into any gym, supplement shop, or fitness fanatic’s house and you can’t avoid those shrine-like tubs, containing godly amounts of creatine.

One thing is clear about creatine: they’re one of the most popular performance-enhancing supplements on the market.

But before you muscle-building machines down a cup of costly creatine, it’s important to ask: can you get enough creatine from natural food sources? And if so, how much?

Creatine has been shown to build muscle and strength faster than not consuming creatine. So if you don’t take a creatine supplement, it’s recommended to aim for 1-2 grams per day from natural food sources. While you can get enough creatine from natural food sources, if you don’t eat animal products, you may want to consider taking it in supplement form.

Getting creatine how nature intended — from food sources — has benefits beyond supplements, including nutrients that can help support your body in making its own creatine. This is why we compiled a complete list of 30 natural food sources of creatine.

What is Creatine?


30 Natural Food Sources Of Creatine (+ How Much To Eat) – Fitbod (2)

Creatine is a substance that naturally occurs in our body. It’s created by our liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It’s found in our muscle cells where it helps muscles produce energy.

Creatine is an amino acid (protein building block). We get some creatine from our diet, mainly from animal products such as meat, fish, and poultry. Our bodies manufacture the rest. Creatine can also be made synthetically as a supplement.

When we exercise, we use energy and creatine. Once we use it, it decreases the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which leads us to feeling tired. This is why people take creatine supplements — to give that extra umph.

People typically take creatine supplements with the goal of increasing muscle size, reducing fatigue, and/or boosting athletic performance.

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Creatine Benefits


30 Natural Food Sources Of Creatine (+ How Much To Eat) – Fitbod (3)

(Video) كرياتين Creatine

Creatine is best known for promoting muscle gains and overall physical performance. But its benefits extend beyond fitness performance.

ENERGY

Creatine increases phosphocreatine stores. Phosphocreatine helps create adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which drives many processes in our cells.

ATP is the main source of energy for most of our cellular functions. It’s stored in our muscle cells and used within the first few seconds of intense exercise.

When we run out of ATP, our cells try to produce more. So essentially, more creatine gives you more ATP, which translates to better performance for quick bursts of exercise.

When our body needs creatine for energy systems such as ATP, it will convert the amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine into creatine.

Learn more about creatine and your energy systems: Can You Get Stronger Without Creatine? (We Examined 8 Studies)

MAX PERFORMANCE

A review of studies has shown that short-term creatine use can improve max power, work performed during sets of max effort, and single-effort sprints. However, not all studies showed a beneficial effect on exercise performance since creatine didn’t appear to be effective in improving running and swimming performance.

Other studies show that creatine may help with sports performance such as HIIT, weightlifting, and sprinting.

Basically the research shows that creatine can be helpful for quick energy workouts such as powerlifting exercise plans, rather than endurance exercise.

Related Article: Creatine Before or After Workout: Does It Matter?

MUSCLE GROWTH

Creatine supplementation during resistance exercise training has been suggested to increase fat-free body mass. However, it’s not clear if this is just due to an increase in intracellular (inside cells) fluid or if there’s an impact on protein metabolism.

In one study that explored the effects of creatine supplement on the size of muscle mass, there was no change in body mass seen in the control and placebo groups, but the body mass of the group taking creating increased by 2 kg. The change was attributed partially to an increase in body water content and also the intracellular compartments.

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MEMORY

Creatine can also significantly boost brainpower. A review of six studies found evidence that short term memory and intelligence may be improved with creatine. But the effect on long-term memory reaction time, and mental fatigue were conflicting.

NEUROPROTECTION

Creatine has shown to have antioxidant properties that can help reduce age-related damage. Creatine can also reduce mental fatigue, and improve components of neurological disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.

These benefits have made creatine a substance of interest for fighting against age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimers and stroke but more research is required to make definitive claims.

Creatine: Frequently Asked Questions


30 Natural Food Sources Of Creatine (+ How Much To Eat) – Fitbod (4)

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We can build muscle and get stronger without supplementing with creatine. The key is to focus on a diet rich in natural sources of creatine, the nutrients that support our bodies in making creatine, and eating enough balanced and healthy foods.

HOW MUCH CREATINE DO YOU NEED TO CONSUME?

In general, research shows that we need to replenish between about 1 and 3 grams of creatine a day, depending on how much muscle we have.

A standard diet contains about 1 gram of creatine per day and the rest is synthesized by our body.

So, to make sure to get enough creatine in your diet, it’s recommended to aim for 1-2 grams per day of natural food sources, if you don’t take a supplement.

Related Article: What To Eat After Fasted Cardio? (5 Things To Know)

DOES COOKING REDUCE THE CREATINE CONTENT?

Before we share our list of 30 creatine rich foods, it’s important to note that cooking can actually cause meat to lose some creatine. The amount that decreases depends on the type and cut of meat, but it’s correlated with how long it’s cooked.

A good amount of creatine moves to the juice of the meat during cooking so it may help to consume this by making a sauce or pouring it over the meat as you cook it.

Check out the USDA cooking guidelines for appropriate cooking temperatures.

WHAT ABOUT VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS?

You’ll notice that creatine is mainly found in animal meat: more specifically muscle meat.

This is why health educators such as Precision Nutrition suggest that creatine supplementation (more on this to come) may be more beneficial in those on a plant-based diet.

But if you do eat meat, then the following will provide a list of 30 natural food sources high in creatine.

30 Natural Food Sources High in Creatine


30 Natural Food Sources Of Creatine (+ How Much To Eat) – Fitbod (5)

The foods listed below are in order of highest to the lowest amount of creatine per 100grams of food.

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Food SourceCreatine (Amount/100g of food)
1Herring Fillet (raw and dried)1.1g
2Beef patties (raw)0.9g
3Herring0.9g
4Beef steak gravy (juice cooked from meat)0.9g
5Salmon0.9g
6Beefburger0.9g
7Pork0.7g
8Black pudding (blood sausage)0.6g
9Dry cured ham0.6g
10Lamb, top round0.5g
11Chicken breast0.4g
12Rabbit meat0.4g
13Tuna0.4g
14Cod0.3g
15Beef cattle heart0.3g
16Ox heart0.3g
17Beef cattle cheek0.3g
18Falun sausage0.3g
19Hot dogs0.2g
20Mortadella0.2g
21Sausage0.2g
22Fish sauce0.2g
23Bovine tongue0.2g
24Frankfurters0.1g
25Bacon0.1g
26Milk0.02g
27Enfamil0.004g
28Cranberries0.002g
29Nestle Good Start0.002g
30Lactofree0.0001

Creatine for Vegans


30 Natural Food Sources Of Creatine (+ How Much To Eat) – Fitbod (6)

Creatine can be produced by our liver. It’s synthesized from the amino acids (protein building blocks): arginine, glycine, and methionine.

ARGININE

  • Vegetarian sources: dairy products (milk, cheese).

  • Vegan options include seeds (pumpkin, sesame) and nuts walnuts, almonds, pine nuts), legumes (beans, peas), and seaweed.

GLYCINE

  • Vegetarian sources: dairy products (milk, cheese).

  • Vegan sources: seeds (sesame, pumpkin, pistachio) spirulina, seaweed, watercress, and spinach.

METHIONINE

  • Vegetarian sources: eggs, milk, ricotta cheese.

  • Vegan sources: tofu, brazil nuts, white beans, quinoa.

However, studies show that vegetarians tend to have lower amounts of creatine in their muscles. Research suggests that creatine supplementation may be of particular use for vegan athletes.

Related Article: Natural Sources of BCAAs

Creatine Supplement Concerns

It’s always best to get nourishment from food but there are certain situations in which supplements can be helpful. This includes a deficiency, disease, or if we simply can’t get enough from the foods we eat.

But before stocking up on tubs of creatine, it’s important to understand some concerns about the supplement industry.

As reported by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, supplements in the United States don’t have to be registered with a government agency.

Most supplements are manufactured and synthetic. The nutrients are the same, but the structure is slightly different. This means that we may be getting a form that our body can’t absorb well. Research shows that the way our bodies absorb the nutrients may not be as efficient as through food.

(Video) How To Eat Before & After Training | Science-Based Nutrition

Many supplements also contain sneaky ingredients such as colorings, sweeteners, flavors, coating, fillers, and binders. They are typically added but not always marked on the label.

Some of these ingredients can cause reactions such as an upset stomach, sensitivity, and allergies. And other more dangerous ones have shown to damage DNA, the immune system, and increase risk of heart disease.

Always consult your doctor or nutrition professional before starting any new supplement.

Creatine Supplements and Dosages

Creatine in the form of creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and clinically effective supplement form of creatine when it comes to muscle uptake and ability to increase high-intensity exercise.

When compared to creatine ethyl-ester, creatine monohydrate has been shown to increase muscle creatine levels and improve muscle mass, strength and power.

However, creatine monohydrate may not be effective for everyone. Precision Nutrition notes that about 20% of creatine users may not respond well to supplements because they already have a high enough dietary intake of creatine from whole foods.

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), there is no compelling scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals when used in doses of up to 30 g per day for 5 years.

DOSAGE

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) the fastest way to increase muscle creatine stores may be to consume about 0.3 g/kg/day of creatine monohydrate for 5-7 days followed by 3-5 g/day after. This helps maintain elevated stores.

Precision Nutrition suggests taking a break from creatine supplementation after using it for 12-16 weeks.

Related Article: Top 13 High Thermic Effect Foods To Boost Your Metabolism

Final Thoughts

Creatine is one of the most pop
ular performance-enhancing supplements out there. It’s many benefits include muscle mass gains, physical performance of quick exercise, and helping the health of our brains.

But we don’t need to pour our salaries into supplements, unless we don’t get enough from natural foods, such as in the case of being a vegan.

The key is to focus on a diet rich in natural sources of creatine (aiming for 1-2 grams per day) supporting our bodies in making creatine (eating arginine, glycine, methionine foods), and eating an overall nutritious and balanced diet.

About The Author


30 Natural Food Sources Of Creatine (+ How Much To Eat) – Fitbod (7)

Lisa is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) with over 15 years of experience in nutrition, fitness, and mental health coaching and education. She studied Foods and Nutrition at San Diego State University and earned a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition at Hawthorn University.

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Having certifications and experience in group exercise, intuitive eating, coaching and psychotherapy, and digestive wellness, she’s enthusiastic about the relationship between the body and mind.

She’s dedicated to helping people understand how to implement healthy habit change, while gaining a deeper understanding of what makes them feel their personal best.

FAQs

How much meat do you need to eat to get enough creatine? ›

Source and needs

One pound of raw beef or salmon provides 1 to 2 grams (g) of creatine. Creatine can supply energy to parts of the body where it is needed. Athletes use supplements to increase energy production, improve athletic performance, and to allow them to train harder.

Can you get enough creatine from food? ›

The short answer to this question is “No, you don't have to supplement”. But, you better be prepared to wolf down and shell out enough coin for some massive amounts of meat.

How much creatine should I take daily naturally? ›

How much creatine do you need? Your body naturally creates about 1 to 2 g of creatine every day. To build muscle, take 20 g of creatine per day for a limited time, followed by a 3- to 5-g daily dose after that.

What foods are natural sources of creatine? ›

As the name suggests, creatine is naturally found in flesh and is acquired through a diet rich in fish, meat and other animal products such as dairy. As creatine is important for all cells to function, our body also makes its own.

How much creatine is in an egg? ›

Although creatine concentration in eggs was significantly increased with regard to the control, these levels would be in the range (3.3-5.9 mg/kg egg) reported in the scientific literature (Comert and Gokmen, 2020; Reicher et al., 2020) .

Are eggs high in creatine? ›

Meat has a high creatine content, particularly steak (5g of creatine per kg of uncooked beef), chicken (3.4g/kg), and rabbit (3.4g/kg). Eggs and fish are also good sources of creatine.

How can I increase my creatinine level naturally? ›

How to increase creatinine levels. Gentle exercise to increase muscle mass, or increasing creatine intake in the diet may help, particularly for those on a vegetarian diet who may not be eating enough protein. For people who do high-intensity exercise, creatine as a dietary supplement is generally considered safe.

How much creatine is in a can of tuna? ›

Beef, pork, tuna, salmon, and cod all contain between 1.4 to 2.3 grams of creatine per pound. Herring contains the most creatine at 3 to 4.5 grams per pound. Recently creatine supplementation has become an issue as a performance enhancing product.

Does chicken increase creatinine levels? ›

High Creatinine Diet

Eating large amounts of protein, such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, milk and yogurt can affect creatinine buildup, says Beaumont Hospital Kidney Centre. Therefore, those with high creatinine should seek dietary advice on how much protein to consume as too much protein can be detrimental.

Is 5 grams of creatine a day enough? ›

The bottom line

A typical dose is 3–5 grams per day, but you can also take 20 grams for 5 days to rapidly elevate your muscle creatine stores. In high intensity exercise, creatine can improve performance by up to 15%, and it can also help you gain muscle and strength.

What plants contain creatine? ›

Because creatine is not found in any plant foods, vegetarians and vegans can only get it from supplements. In vegetarians, creatine supplementation may have significant benefits.

Does creatine cause hair loss? ›

In summary, the current body of evidence does not indicate that creatine supplementation increases total testosterone, free testosterone, DHT or causes hair loss/baldness.

Which food has most creatine? ›

30 Natural Food Sources High in Creatine
Food SourceCreatine (Amount/100g of food)
1Herring Fillet (raw and dried)1.1g
2Beef patties (raw)0.9g
3Herring0.9g
4Beef steak gravy (juice cooked from meat)0.9g
26 more rows

Does coffee have creatine? ›

Creatine does not have caffeine, and caffeine does not have creatine. However, some pre-workout formulas will have both of these ingredients within their supplement. Creatine does not have any stimulatory effects, so you can take it any time of the day. 1.

What drinks have creatine in them? ›

A can of Bang energy drinks contains healthy amounts of super creatine, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, CoQ10, and more. You can be sure to have energy throughout the day after drinking one of these.

How can I get creatine in my body? ›

Creatine is a molecule that the body can naturally produce. It's made primarily in the kidneys and completed in the liver, by three amino acids: glycine, arginine and methionine. The amino acids are converted into creatine phosphate and phosphocreatine which is then stored in the skeletal muscles and used for energy.

Does cooking destroy creatine? ›

Red meats such as Steak and Salmon do contain some creatine and provide a natural source. However, much of the creatine is destroyed from the heat as a result of cooking the meat.

Which fruit is good for creatinine? ›

Certain fruits to reduce creatinine level that and are rich in both dietary fiber as well as potassium include;
  • Bananas.
  • Melons.
  • Oranges.
  • Avocados.
  • Apples.
Oct 9, 2019

What makes creatinine high? ›

Generally speaking, high levels of creatinine can indicate that your kidneys aren't working well. There are many possible causes of high creatinine, some of which may be a one-time occurrence. Examples can include things such as dehydration or intake of large amounts of protein or the supplement creatine.

Is boiled egg good for creatinine? ›

Eggs are a good source of protein, although protein is not used for the production of energy unless the stored carbohydrates are used up. Therefore the only conclusion that can be arrived at is that eggs will not increase the levels of creatine within the body.

Does walking reduce creatinine? ›

Has walking contributed to the increase of my creatinine? Walking every day should be a very healthy form of exercise and should not change your serum creatinine in any way.

What vegetables are good for creatinine? ›

Dark leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard, and collard greens are loaded with vitamins A and C, calcium, and many other important minerals. Kale also is a significant source of carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamin K. Spinach is high in vitamins A, C, K, and folate.

Does vitamin D increase creatinine levels? ›

Short-term vitamin D receptor activation increases serum creatinine due to increased production with no effect on the glomerular filtration rate.

Do nuts have creatine? ›

The human body produces some creatine naturally through arginine, glycine and methionine. That means vegetarians need to try to get these amino acids in their body whenever possible to maximise creatine creation. Arginine can be found in spinach and various seeds and nuts, including peanuts and walnuts.

Where is creatine stored in the body? ›

About 95% of creatine is stored in the skeletal muscle of your body and is used during physical activity. Creatine helps to maintain a continuous supply of energy to working muscles by keep production up in working muscles. Small amounts are also found in your heart, brain and other tissues.

Can drinking water lower creatinine? ›

Drinking more water could lower the serum creatinine level, but does not change kidney function. Forcing excessive water intake is not a good idea.

Does cheese increase creatinine? ›

Compared with milk intake, cheese consumption significantly reduced urinary citrate, creatine, and creatinine levels and significantly increased the microbiota-related metabolites butyrate, hippurate, and malonate.

What are symptoms of high creatinine? ›

What are the symptoms of high creatinine levels?
  • Nausea.
  • Chest Pain.
  • Muscle Cramps.
  • Vomiting.
  • Fatigue.
  • Changes in urination frequency and appearance.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Swelling or fluid retention.

How do you know if creatine is working? ›

If you've started taking creatine, you should know if it works for you in about a week. If your training volume increases, it's working for you. If not, you're probably a non-responder, and taking the powder isn't going to help you.

How much water should I drink with creatine? ›

Therefore, proper hydration is essential. As previously mentioned, 6-8 cups of water are the average drinking amount when out of training. However, when supplementing with creatine, you should drink an additional 8-10 cups of water daily, or slightly more, depending on your exercise regimen.

How long does creatine last? ›

Most labels would indicate that creatine supplements can last about two to three years, depending on the form of the creatine in the supplement. However, powdered creatine can still remain viable and safe to consume even after one to two years beyond the expiration date, in the right conditions.

Do eggs have taurine? ›

because taurine is naturally abundant in meat, eggs and seafood.

What are the negative effects of creatine? ›

Depending on who you ask, the suggested side effects of creatine may include:
  • kidney damage.
  • liver damage.
  • kidney stones.
  • weight gain.
  • bloating.
  • dehydration.
  • muscle cramps.
  • digestive concerns.

Does creatine increase testosterone? ›

While creatine helps in building muscle, providing more energy, and improving the body's recovery process, it does not increase testosterone in the body.

Does creatine cause kidney damage? ›

While taking creatine might not help all athletes, evidence suggests that it generally won't hurt if taken as directed. Although an older case study suggested that creatine might worsen kidney dysfunction in people with kidney disorders, creatine doesn't appear to affect kidney function in healthy people.

Does creatine cause high blood pressure? ›

Acute creatine loading increases fat-free mass, but does not affect blood pressure, plasma creatinine, or CK activity in men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc.

Which creatine is most effective? ›

The Bottom Line

Based on the scientific evidence, creatine monohydrate is the recommended form. It's backed by the strongest research, with studies demonstrating its effectiveness at increasing your body's stores and improving exercise performance.

Is creatine better than protein? ›

If you are striving for a strength goal, such as lifting a certain amount of weight, then creatine will give you the energy boost you are looking for. For long-term results, protein will be helpful in rebuilding muscle that will continue to increase your strength over time.

Does creatine affect sleep? ›

By reducing the accumulation of adenosine and adenosine triphosphate in the brain during wakefulness, creatine supplementation seems to reduce sleep depth, duration, and “rebound sleep” after sleep deprivation. Creatine supplementation also helps preserve cognitive and physical performance after sleep loss.

Does creatine affect your heart? ›

[32] used creatine supplementation in in vitro isolated hearts. They found that such a supplementation decreased heart rate, increased left ventricular systolic pressure, increased coronary flow, increased ATP content and decreased isocitrate dehydrogenase, a marker of cell death.

Does creatine cause anxiety? ›

Although most healthy people can take it with no problem, creatine can, in rare cases, have adverse effects, particularly when used in excess. Side effects can include: Weight gain. Anxiety.

What is a substitute for creatine? ›

Beta-alanine can also delay muscle fatigue, elevate short-term muscle power, and improve sustained power output time, making it a great alternative to creatine.

Do any energy drinks have creatine? ›

Most energy drinks contain small amounts of creatine — 0.84 to 1.21 mg (other amino acids not included). This amount isn't harmful but can help enhance training and workouts.

Does creatine make you gain weight? ›

The short answer is: yes, creatine can make you gain weight. Studies demonstrate that you can gain weight rapidly when you take creatine, especially if you use a loading phase. For example, a 2003 study found that after 30 days of high-dose creatine supplementation, the participants gained an average of 3.75 pounds[*].

How much creatine is in an 8 oz steak? ›

Creatine can also be located in the diet from milk, steak and some fish. Beef, pork, tuna, salmon, and cod all contain between 1.4 to 2.3 grams of creatine per pound. Herring contains the most creatine at 3 to 4.5 grams per pound.

Which meat has most creatine? ›

30 Natural Food Sources High in Creatine
Food SourceCreatine (Amount/100g of food)
1Herring Fillet (raw and dried)1.1g
2Beef patties (raw)0.9g
3Herring0.9g
4Beef steak gravy (juice cooked from meat)0.9g
26 more rows

How much creatine is in a scoop? ›

Most scoops are 5 grams, which is a fine dose for athletes of all size.

How much creatine do you need to build muscle? ›

To maximize creatine muscle stores quickly, a loading phase of 20 grams daily for 5–7 days is recommended, followed by a maintenance dose of 2–10 grams per day. Another approach is 3 grams daily for 28 days.

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