Foods High in Creatine

Author: Rod Ferris CPT (YMCA, ACE), CPAFLA

What is Creatine?

Creatine, also referred to as methylguanidino acetic acid, is a kind of natural crystalline molecule, formed from several atoms such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen. Creatine is naturally synthesized from several amino acids, which is then stored in muscles.

Read more about what creatine

Do I Produce my Own Creatine?

 In certain situations, when the body produces its own creatine from amino acids like arginine, glycine, and methionine, particularly in times when creatine’s usual dietary intake is not sufficient to satisfy daily energy needs. Creatine’s manufacturing process begins in the kidneys via the blending of glycine and arginine to create GAA (Guanidinoacetic Acid), which in turn is carried by blood streams to liver in order to convert it into creatine. This creatine is then transported by blood streams to the body tissues, especially skeletal muscle. Hence, about 95% of the body’s creatine is seen in skeletal muscle and rest in brain, heart, and hair cells.


Discovered by Chevreul, a French Scientist, in 1835 - creatine plays a prominent role in promoting the energy system of the body by transporting the required quantity of phosphate in order to aid for the conversion of ADP to ATP for its usage by muscle.

Different Forms of Creatine

It mainly appears in three major forms such as:

  1. Creatine Monohydrate which is regarded as the most natural form of creatine
  2. Micronized Creatine containing in it smaller particulars of creatine with high absorption rate
  3. Creatine Ethyl Ester a kind of creatine monohydrate inclusive of ester with high absorption rates.

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Natural VS Synthetic Creatine Sources

As the name suggests, natural creatine is the one deriving from natural sources. Creatine is formed in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. One of the prime natural sources of natural creatine is red meat, especially lean meat. It is estimated that every one pound of raw meat contains two grams of creatine. Another great source of natural creatine is fish like tuna, salmon, sashimi, and sushi, which has in it properties such as methionine and Omega 3 fatty acids that aid for creatine synthesis. Likewise, a minimal amount of creatine can be found in milk and cranberries. As mentioned earlier, when dietary ingestion is not sufficient, the body may synthesize its own creatine from amino acids. On the other hand, synthetic creatine usually appears in the form of supplements, and is available in a variety of forms such as pills, health drink, and nutritious bars. One of the most popular synthetically-produced supplements is Creatine Monohydrate.


Intake of creatine is considered highly beneficial for nerve cells as well as to aid several other bodily functions such as to build tissues, regulate metabolism, and increase endurance levels.

Creatine supplements have also now become much sought after in the sports world, as they are said to be highly effective for athletes, wrestlers, and weightlifters to improve their performance and to enhance lean body mass. Further, some studies reveal that creatine contains in it some therapeutic features that are advantageous to prevent such ailments as:

  1. Parkinson's disease (improving mood)
  2. Huntington's disease (source)
  3. Neurodegenerative diseases (source).

Possible Side Effects

No matter the source of creatine, its intake renders a host of benefits such as promotion of lean muscle mass, enhancement of muscle cell volume, improved work capacity of muscle, better protein synthesis, and improved re-synthesis of glycogen. In spite of any benefit, consuming synthetic creatine supplements may produce some kind of side effects. In contrast to natural creatine, synthetic creatine may be a cause for weight gain, sometimes almost one kilogram a week. Even though they are considered advantageous for vegetarians, synthetic creatine supplements’ excess consumption may lead to some kind of short term and long term disadvantages. Dehydration, nausea, and diarrhea are among the short term disadvantages, and some of the prime long term disadvantages as per the studies are kidney problems, hypertension, stomach cramps, and muscle cramps.

In short, as there are mixed reviews with regard to the usage of creatine, for safe and best results, it is recommended to use Creatine supplements from a licensed nutritionist or a registered dietician.

Foods High in Creatine

Creatine monohydrate is a crystalline, colorless stuff found in muscle tissue. This is highly useful for the production of phosphocreatine, an element highly vital to produce (ATP) adenosine triphosphate. Al though, a range of supplements containing creatine monohydrates are now available, perhaps the best is naturally occurring creatine monohydrate. Some of the foods that are rich in creatine monohydrate are:

Animal proteins
Especially those contained in beef, salmon, and tuna. It is accounted that about one pound of beef consists of 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, and one pound of red meat contains 2 grams of creatine monohydrate.

There is about 4.5 grams in one pound of salmon. In addition, sea foods such as tuna, sushi, and sashimi are highly rich in creatine monohydrate.

How do I get 5 grams of natural creatine?

One pound of beef contains 5 grams of creatine, so it is possible to receive it from your diet but most athletes can't and should not have that much red meat or salmon every day and need to find other sources of creatine (supplements) to make sure there is enough ATP available.

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