Creatinine is a waste product that’s generated when you use your muscles. Eating lots of protein may also produce small amounts of this organic compound.

Your bloodstream transports creatinine to your kidneys, where your body filters it out through your urine. However, if your kidneys aren’t working properly, the level of creatinine in your blood can build up.

Your healthcare provider may check your blood and urine for creatinine, as well as order other tests to evaluate the health of your kidneys. A normal level depends on your age, race, gender, and body size.

Abnormal creatinine levels may be a sign of kidney disease.

You may need a creatinine test if you have these symptoms:

  • changes in urination (frequency, pain, foaminess, or blood)
  • muscle cramps
  • fatigue
  • nausea or vomiting
  • puffiness around the eyes
  • swelling in the feet or ankles

Your doctor may likewise recommend regular creatinine testing if you have any of the following conditions, which may contribute to decreased kidney function:

Creatinine levels can also rise temporarily from strenuous exercise or using certain medications like sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, or chemotherapy drugs.

Furthermore, becoming pregnant or eating a diet high in red meat may contribute.

Your body needs to clean your blood to function optimally. The best way to lower your creatinine levels is to treat the underlying cause.

If your blood creatinine is high, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan to address any medical issues that might be harming your kidney function.

Along with your medicines and other treatments, ask your healthcare provider whether the following lifestyle changes are appropriate for you.

Here are 8 ways to naturally lower your creatinine levels.

Creatine is a natural compound made in your liver. It’s transported to your muscles where it’s used for energy. Unused creatine that’s not used as energy gets converted into creatinine, a waste product.

In addition to its natural form, creatine is available as an oral supplement. Some athletes use these creatinine-producing supplements to help enhance athletic performance.

Anyone wishing to reduce their creatinine levels to improve their kidney function should not take creatine supplements. There’s limited research on creatine supplements and their overall safety.

Talk with your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet.

Research shows that eating large amounts of protein can increase creatinine levels, at least temporarily. In particular, cooked red meat can affect creatinine. The heat from cooking causes the creatine found in meat to produce creatinine.

People following diets very high in red meat or other protein sources, including dairy products, may have higher creatinine levels than people who eat fewer of those foods.

If you eat lots of red meat, switch to more vegetable-based dishes. Try swapping out beef burgers for:

More research is needed to determine dietary fiber’s effects on creatinine levels. Nevertheless, one study showed significant reductions in creatinine levels in people with chronic kidney disease who increased their fiber intake.

Fiber can be found in many foods, including:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • legumes

Dehydration can raise creatinine levels. Fluid intake can also be an issue for some people who have kidney disease.

Talk with your healthcare provider about how much water and other fluids you should drink daily, as well as the best time to drink them.

Diets that include excess salt can contribute to high blood pressure. Processed foods, in particular, are often loaded with sodium and phosphorus, which studies have shown potentially cause renal issues.

Consider focusing on whole, unprocessed foods, and using spices and herbs to flavor your food when possible.

Over-the-counter painkillers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be harmful if taken too often or in amounts over the recommended dosage, especially if you have kidney disease.

Talk with your healthcare provider to determine the right treatments for pain and inflammation and how often to take them.

Smoking cigarettes can harm the body in a number of ways, including significantly increasing the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Quitting can be a way to reduce the likelihood of issues with your kidneys that may increase creatinine levels.

Alcohol consumption can be a tricky issue when it comes to kidney function. Some studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption may help decrease the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Other studies have shown that excessive alcohol has the potential to damage the kidneys. It can also contribute to conditions like high blood pressure and alcohol dependency.

If you drink alcohol, consult your healthcare provider about the safest levels for your health needs.

Excess creatinine levels can indicate serious medical conditions but also be a temporary byproduct of certain lifestyle factors or conditions.

If your healthcare provider finds that your creatinine levels are high, changes to your activity levels and eating, drinking, and supplementation habits may help reduce them.