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Foods to Avoid to Improve Creatine Levels

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

If you're trying to up energy levels during your workouts, you might consider adding creatine supplements to your daily routine. Creatine is a chemical found in your body that helps make energy for your muscles. While there are no specific foods that affect creatine levels, avoiding meat may increase the effectiveness of the supplement. There's also concern about getting too much caffeine, and you may want to limit your intake of foods or drinks that may be dehydrating. Consult your doctor before adding creatine to your daily routine.

Too Much Caffeine

Getting too much caffeine in your diet may make it harder for the creatine to work, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Combining high doses of caffeine with creatine may also have adverse effects, especially if you take it with other dietary supplements such as ephedra. In addition to coffee and tea, caffeine is found in chocolate and in energy drinks and bars.

Natural Diuretics

You may notice an increase in the number on your scale when you take creatine. This may be due to the fact that creatine causes your muscles to retain water and takes the water from other parts of your body, says MedlinePlus. If you're not drinking enough water to compensate, you may become dehydrated. To limit fluid loss, you may need to limit your intake of natural diuretics, which include caffeinated foods, asparagus and parsley.

Effect of Meat

While you might take creatine as a supplement to help improve the amount in your muscle, creatine is naturally found in foods such as meat and fish. However, if you're getting some of your creatine from your food choices, you may find that supplements don't offer as much added benefit. If your body has already hit its "saturation point" for creatine, getting more through supplements or food won't have any benefit.

MedlinePlus reports that vegetarians generally have lower levels of creatine in their blood and seem to benefit more from creatine supplementation than meat eaters.

Foods to Enhance Benefit

To improve creatine blood levels when supplementing, MedlinePlus recommends you take it with a carbohydrate such as juice or fruit. Additionally, a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2001 found that combining creatine with protein when engaging in muscle-building activities helped improve lean body mass better than taking a protein supplement by itself.

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