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Are Low Creatine Levels Bad?

by
author image Linda Ray
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
Are Low Creatine Levels Bad?
Low creatine levels can cause heart problems. Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Creatine is stored in the muscles and used for energy. During intense exercise, it provides you with additional energy when you need it. Creatine is an amino acid that is made in your liver, pancreas and kidneys. It also is derived from dietary sources such as fish and meat. Athletes often take creatine supplements in hopes of increasing their lean muscle mass and improving performance. Low creatine levels may lead to reduced muscle mass and other diseases.

Chronic Conditions

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, patients with muscular dystrophy may have low creatine levels and could benefit from taking creatine supplements. Decreased muscle mass also is a side effect of Parkinson's disease, which may result from too low creatine levels. People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have trouble keeping up with exercise routines and may benefit from additional creatine in their system.

Heart Conditions

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have chronic heart failure, it may be due to low levels of creatine in your heart. Your heart is a muscle and may benefit from creatine supplements or a diet high in creatine-rich foods such as lean red meat. Tuna, salmon and herring also provide effective sources of the amino acid. Low creatine levels may hinder your recovery from coronary artery surgery. Following a heart attack, creatine supplements may counter low levels in your blood and help you recover quicker.

Other Conditions

There is evidence, according to the Mayo Clinic, that creatine levels may be low if you suffer from depression. It also may trigger manic episodes if you have bipolar depression however and take supplements. Babies born with a genetic disorder called GAMT experience abnormal movement conditions and developmental delays because of low creatine levels in the brain. Low creatine levels also can lead to vision loss when a genetic disorder prevents you from breaking down ornithine, an amino acid formed in the liver. High amounts of ornithine released in your bloodstream can lead to muscle weakness, blindness and additional creatine loss.

Dosing

When using creatine as a supplement for improving athletic performance or to treat chronic, heart and other medical conditions, you should do so under a doctor's direction because of possible interactions with other treatments. To treat heart conditions, Medline Plus recommends you take 20 grams of creatine a day for five to 10 days. While the use of creatine is not recommended for athletes under the age of 18, children with muscular dystrophy may use five grams per day, while adults with the condition can take 10 grams per day.

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