Creatinine is a waste product that can build up in the blood due to kidney disease and other factors. Staying hydrated, taking dietary measures, and using supplements can help reduce creatinine levels in the body.

Creatinine is a natural waste product that the muscles create. The kidneys remove it from the body, and it is present in the blood and urine.

As well as kidney problems, excess creatinine can also result from a high intake of protein, intense exercise, and the use of certain medications or supplements.

Doctors often use a creatinine test to determine how well the kidneys are functioning. High levels of creatinine in the blood or urine can be a sign that the kidneys are not filtering the blood effectively.

Having high levels of creatinine is not life threatening, but it may indicate a serious health issue, such as chronic kidney disease.

If a person has high creatinine levels due to a kidney disorder, a doctor will recommend treatment. Diet and lifestyle changes may also help.

In this article, learn more about what can cause high levels of creatinine and find some tips for lowering levels naturally.

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A routine blood test can measure creatinine levels. Factors that can raise levels include:

Shock, infections, and serious illnesses such as cancer can also cause elevated creatinine levels, sometimes due to kidney damage.

If tests show high levels of creatinine in the body, it may be a sign that the kidneys are not working correctly. People with chronic kidney disease, for example, may have high levels.

If the glomerulus — the part of the kidney that filters waste — is damaged or otherwise not working efficiently, a person may have high levels of creatinine in the blood but low levels in the urine. This indicates that the kidneys are not functioning optimally.

Diseases that can affect kidney function and raise creatinine levels include:

If a blood or urine test shows that a person has high creatinine levels, the doctor may perform further tests to identify the cause.

What is a normal range for creatinine? Find out here.

A person may be able to reduce their creatinine levels by taking some of the following steps.

Some supplements can increase creatinine levels. Avoiding these supplements may help lower levels.

Many athletes and bodybuilders take supplements containing creatine to build muscle strength and endurance. The muscles use creatine for energy, but if the muscles do not use it, the body converts it into creatinine.

This can result in high creatinine levels that doctors may misinterpret as kidney disease.

People with high creatinine levels should avoid any product that contains creatine.

Are creatine supplements a good idea? Learn more here.

According to a 2014 study, eating cooked red meat may increase levels of creatinine. Red meat is muscle tissue, which naturally contains creatinine, and cooking causes the creatinine to break down into creatinine. When a person eats the meat, their body absorbs the creatinine, and their levels may rise.

Eating less red meat and fewer fish products may reduce high creatinine levels. A person might try incorporating more sources of vegetable protein, such as beans, in their diet.

Which foods can boost kidney health? Find out here.

Dietary fiber can provide a range of health benefits, such as helping to manage creatinine levels.

A review of studies published in 2014 noted that dietary fiber helped lower creatinine levels in people with chronic kidney disease. The researchers called for more long-term studies to confirm their findings.

Many plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, seeds, and whole grains, contain fiber.

Creatinine levels can rise when a person is dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include thirst, dizziness, and fatigue. Severe dehydration can put a strain on the cardiovascular and other systems. It can be life threatening.

Drinking water is the best way to correct or prevent dehydration.

To make plain water more appealing, try:

  • adding a handful of mint
  • adding a slice of lemon or cucumber
  • drinking seltzer water or herbal teas

Anyone who experiences ongoing dehydration should see a doctor, as it may be a sign of a kidney injury. People who exercise intensely without drinking fluids, for example, may also be at risk of damaging their kidneys.

People who exercise strenuously and have a risk of kidney disease may benefit from checking with a doctor about whether their exercise routine is safe.

Regular exercise is essential for good health, but some types of intense exercise can cause a temporary rise in creatinine levels, according to a 2020 study.

Chitosan is an ingredient in a range of weight loss blends, as well as supplements that aim to lower cholesterol.

In 2011, one study found that chitosan significantly reduced creatinine levels in people with chronic kidney failure after 4 weeks. However, more research is needed on this topic.

Speak to a doctor before using chitosan or any other supplement, as supplements can be unsafe for some people.

Diuretics are substances that help the body remove excess fluid. They can reduce swelling due to fluid retention.

However, diuretics can raise creatinine levels in people with certain types of kidney disease.

Speak to a doctor before taking diuretics. This is especially important for people who are taking other medications and for people who have certain health issues.

Chronic kidney disease can cause a loss of kidney function over several years. Learn more about causes and prevention here.

Diets high in salt can lead to elevated blood pressure levels. Notably, processed food items often contain excess sodium and phosphorus, which research suggests may be linked to kidney problems.

Eating less processed food and focusing more on whole foods may help a person lower their creatinine levels. In place of salt, a person could use spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of their meals.

Using non-prescription pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can pose risks when consumed excessively or beyond the recommended dosage, particularly if a person has kidney disease.

A person should talk with a healthcare professional to establish the appropriate remedies for alleviating pain and inflammation, as well as the frequency of their intake.

Below are some commonly asked questions about how to lower creatinine levels.

What foods to avoid if your creatinine is high?

If a person has high creatinine levels, foods that are best to limit include cooked meats, red meat, and fish products.

Can drinking water lower creatinine?

Yes, drinking water can lower creatinine levels. If a person is dehydrated, their creatinine levels will rise.

Can creatinine levels go back to normal?

Dehydration and high protein consumption may temporarily raise creatinine levels. They will return to normal levels when a person is no longer dehydrated and reduces their protein intake.

Various issues, including kidney damage, can lead to high creatinine levels.

Some ways to lower high creatinine levels include:

  • not taking supplements that contain creatine
  • reducing protein intake
  • eating more dietary fiber
  • staying hydrated
  • limiting intense exercise
  • avoiding diuretics (this can cause high creatinine levels in people with certain types of kidney disease)
  • lowering salt intake
  • not overusing NSAIDs

If high creatinine levels result from a kidney problem, the doctor will recommend a treatment plan.