How Creatine Impacts Your Kidneys

Creatine is a substance that is naturally found in the cells of our muscles and brain (via Healthline). It can also be taken as a supplement to help athletes build muscle and power through tough workouts. Like many substances, excess creatine is filtered through the kidneys (via Fresenius Kidney Care). While high levels of creatine in your body doesn't necessarily harm your kidneys, it can be a sign of a kidney health problem like chronic kidney disease (CKD). High creatine levels may mean that your kidneys are not filtering out the excess creatine in your body correctly.

Your doctor can diagnose high creatine levels by measuring the amount of this substance in your urine. You can also determine if you might have kidney problems by a range of symptoms that come when your kidneys aren't working well. These include nausea, muscle cramps, vomiting, and fatigue. You may also notice changes in urination frequency and appearance, fluid retention, or itchiness. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you have concerns about your kidney health.

Are creatine supplements safe?

Creatine is considered generally safe to take if you stay within the recommended dosage (via Medical News Today). A 2003 review cited by Medical News Today concluded that creatine "appears to pose no serious health risks when taken at doses described in the literature and may enhance exercise performance in individuals that require maximal single effort and/or repetitive sprint bouts." The long-term effects of regularly taking a creatine supplement have not been widely studied, especially among adolescents.

You should only take a creatine supplement if you are generally healthy and eat a well-balanced diet. If you have problems with your kidneys filtering excess waste, you should not take a creatine supplement. It's always a good idea to speak with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet, especially if you are on any medications or have any health conditions. Your doctor will help you determine if taking creatine will be safe for you and which product is the best option.