‘What causes low creatinine?’ – this is a question that all of us have pondered over while looking at blood reports or reading charts hung in doctors’ offices. Low blood creatinine can cause low muscle mass and muscle tissue. Low blood creatinine is also a sign of the presence of kidney disease. You need to have healthy serum creatinine levels to have normal muscle metabolism. This would indicate a blood sample that shows 0.74 to 1.35 mg/dL for men and 0.59 to 1.1 mg/dL for women.
To answer the important question of what causes low creatinine, we need first to understand what creatinine is.
1. What is Creatinine?
‘What causes low creatinine?’ This is a very important question, and finding answers to it can help us understand if there’s something wrong with the functioning of our body. So, to get the causes of low creatinine, let’s understand what exactly creatinine is.
Creatinine is a product of creatinine phosphate. It is released from protein metabolism and muscle metabolism and is released at a consistent rate.
Creatinine indicates kidney health and kidney function. It is excreted by the kidneys and isn’t changed by them. It is produced based on a biological system containing creatinine, adenosine triphosphate, and phosphocreatine.
Another angle to understand what causes low creatinine is to explore why a healthy amount of creatinine is important.
2. Why is Creatinine Important
Creatinine has gained a lot of popularity in research because of its advantages for people looking to gain body mass, recover from ailments, and improve performance in exercise. Creatinine levels can be tested in blood and urine; the answers to these tests can help understand kidney function.
Creatinine levels vary among individuals and depend on other factors like age, body size, and gender. So, finding a ‘normal’ range of creatinine becomes difficult. Creatinine levels also depend on blood volume. Dehydrated people will have higher creatinine than those with normal blood volume. Low creatinine levels can indicate problems with muscle mass, liver disease, pregnancy, and psychogenic polydipsia, irregular water consumption.
The Serum Creatinine test is one way to measure creatinine levels. It draws blood to determine how much creatinine is available in the blood. With the help of the test results, the doctor can calculate your creatinine levels and determine your glomerular filtration rate.
Knowing your serum creatinine allows your doctor to calculate your creatinine level and age, and gender to determine your glomerular filtration rate. A GFR determines the amount of kidney function and how good or bad it is. For example, a GFR higher than 50 means that you have 50% kidney function. Generally, the higher the number, the better the kidney, and the lesser the risk of kidney disease.
It is also important to remember that just because low creatinine levels are harmful, it doesn’t mean high creatinine is any better. High creatinine levels are an indicator of renal disease and are related strongly to high blood pressure. Additionally, just like a creatinine urine test showing low creatinine indicates kidney disease, high creatinine also indicates poor kidney function. Kidneys filter creatinine, so any excess or less creatinine level shows the kidneys malfunctioning.
While this can be a painful process to undergo in your body, hemodialysis patients often are able to manage the malfunction.
3. What causes Low Creatinine
‘What causes low creatinine?’ – while the answer to this question may be straightforward, it is loaded with terms related to kidney function. Here are a few main causes of low creatinine.
3.1 Muscular Disease
The main cause of low creatinine is muscle disease, like muscular dystrophy. Muscle weakness, muscle stiffness, pain, and less mobility are ways to identify the prevalence of a muscular disease.
3.2 Liver Disease
A poor liver interfered with the production of creatinine. Abdominal pain, stools of a different color (pale, bloody, tar-colored), swelling, and jaundice are symptoms to identify the presence of a liver problem.
3.3 Water Loss
Pregnancy and certain medical treatments can cause your body to lose a lot of water.
Creatinine levels are regulated naturally by the body, but diet also plays a role in maintaining them. Creatinine is found heavily in meat, so people who follow a vegetarian diet will have lesser creatinine levels. A long period of not eating, or having an eating disorder, can also cause low levels of creatinine.
Serum creatinine is reduced significantly in patients dealing with hyperthyroidism. This is because of an increase in GFR, and a reduction in muscle mass.
4. How to Increase Creatinine Levels
After understanding what causes low creatinine, it’s crucial to equip yourself with resources to increase your creatinine level to a healthy one.
Exercises to increase muscle mass can help increase creatinine. You can try swimming, walking, biking, weights, and aerobics. People who participate in intense workouts can also use dietary supplements.
Strength training exercises go a long way in increasing creatinine levels.
4.2 Change your Diet
As mentioned earlier, the body creates creatinine naturally, so as long as you have a balanced diet, you should not need any supplements. However, if you want to, as a precautionary measure, change your diet and make it healthier, you should consult your healthcare provider for changes in your diet. They will mostly recommend:
- Five to six, small, healthy meals a day, with foods with a high protein intake. A high-protein diet with protein-rich foods can help increase creatinine.
- More red meat consumption, like steak and pork
- More lentils, nuts, Greek Yogurt, and beans for vegetarians.
4.3 Lifestyle Changes
The first thing we discussed in this list of treatments for low creatinine levels was exercising. However, sometimes, exercise can be considered a devoted commitment, and people may not be able to consistently work out. For people who are unable to find workout time, here are some other lifestyle changes that can help increase creatinine:
4.3.1 Have a balanced Alcohol Intake
Alc0hol can raise creatinine levels, as long as it is taken in a balanced and healthy way. Women should drink only one alcoholic beverage a day, while men can restrict themselves to 2. Make sure you avoid sugary beverages. Red wine and stout beer are better options. Please make sure that you don’t have kidney disease since alcohol could worsen it.
4.3.2 Avoid Fasting
If you have low creatinine levels, avoid fasting. When you fast, your body receives lesser nutrients, and this can cause your creatinine levels to drop further. If you don’t eat for longer periods because of an eating disorder, please consult a therapist or your healthcare provider for help.
4.4. Creatinine Levels During Pregnancy
Pregnant women frequently experience a dip in creatinine due to hormonal shifts, but the creatinine levels return back to normal range after pregnancy. Unless the creatinine levels are dangerously low during pregnancy or don’t get back to normal after pregnancy, you should consult your doctor.
5. What causes Low Creatinine – A Conclusion
Low creatinine levels can really impact your life in a negative way. They can make it difficult to exercise, make you feel weak easily, make you lose a lot of weight, and lessen your strength. They can also cause your liver to swell up, which in turn will cause pain in the abdomen. These symptoms may be due to other reasons but are often indicative of creatinine issues.
Now that you know what causes low creatinine, the next step is to take a test and find out if you need to make changes in your lifestyle to fix your creatinine levels.