Do You Need to Add Creatine to a Carnivore Diet?

Creatine is one of the most popular and widely used natural supplements. Most of the studies associate it with improvement in exercise performance and health. It also helps your muscles to produce energy, increase muscle mass and helps build bigger and stronger muscles. 

Creatine is known for several other health benefits, such as reducing blood sugar levels, helps in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases and neurological disorders. However, there are many concerns about the safety of creatine intake.

But does everyone need to take creatine? The answer is NO. But if you are an athlete or follow a heavy exercise routine, you require creatine for muscular energy. 

Creatine is naturally present in muscle cells and is seen in diets that include fish, meat, and other animal products. Let us discuss what creatine is, how it works, its benefits, and if you need to add creatine in a carnivore diet. 

What is Creatine?

In simple words, creatine is a muscle energizer. Chemically it is a nitrogenous organic acid; it is acquired from glycine, L-arginine, and S-adenosyl-L-methionine. It is involved in energy transfer and is excreted by your kidney.

Creatine is combined with a high-energy phosphate group to form creatine phosphate which gets stored in your muscle tissue. It is commonly found in cardiac and skeletal muscle. 

Creatine is a naturally occurring non-protein amino acid generally found in your muscle tissue, and you can also find it in food sources such as red meat and seafood. It is also available as a supplement. Even though your body makes enough creatine for your everyday activities; bodybuilders, athletes may require more creatine to boost their performance

How Does Creatine Work?

Around 95% of the creatine present in your body is stored in the muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. Rest 5% is found in the brain, kidneys, and liver. 

Creatine helps to produce energy, increases lean muscle mass, muscle strength, and enhances muscle recovery. Many factors may affect creatine storage in your body. These include creatine-enriched foods, muscle mass, exercise, and hormones that boost protein synthesis. 

During exercise or workouts, you will require a large amount of energy, the phosphate part of the creatine molecule is split off to produce large amounts of energy that is required by your body. This rapid production of energy is essential during high-intensity workouts and performances. It gives greater stimulus to your body and increases training adaptations. 

Your body does produce creatine, but it may not be enough for bodybuilders or athletes. You can consider eating creatine-rich foods such as red meat and seafood.

If you are a carnivore dieter, then you need not worry about creatine levels because you have more than the required amount of creatine in your diet. Animal foods are the best source of creatine; since you are completely on animal foods, you will have an optimal intramuscular store of creatine. 

When you supplement creatine with food sources or with supplements, the amount of creatine stored in your muscles increases to a saturation level and thus provides a high-intensity fuel for a more extended period than you would achieve without any artificial supplements.

If you have more creatine levels in your body, more energy will be produced by your muscle cells during high-intensity exercise.

What Are The Advantages of Creatine? 

Creatine improves not only performance but also overall health among athletes. It is the main source of heavy and high-intensity workouts. 

Here is the list of health benefits of creatine:

1. Increases Your Energy Level 

Creatine provides extra energy by increasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. If you supplement with creatine, it increases the phosphocreatine levels that boost the ATP molecule. It is necessary for all basic life functions, and increase strength and perform exercises at maximum intensity

2. Creatine Aids in Cells-Hydration

Creatine increases cell volume, increases the water content in your muscles, and makes it look big. This is very important for muscle growth. 

3. Creatine Aids in Muscle Recovery

It boosts muscle protein synthesis and, hence, lowers muscle damage, accelerates muscle recovery, and reduces post-workout soreness. It was reported in a study that creatine was able to reduce inflammation and muscle soreness which was seen after a 30km race. 

4. Creatine Enhances Anabolic Hormones

Creatine enhances the release of anabolic hormones such as IGF-1 and HGH, which are involved in muscle synthesis. 

These growth hormones have an inverse relationship with body fat; if these hormones are less in your body, then more body fat gets accumulated, and if these hormones are more, then there is less fat and leaner muscle. 

Creatine enhances satellite cell number and myonuclei concentrations in the skeletal muscles and also boosts muscle growth when combined with regular strength training. 

5. Creatine Improves Neurological Performance. 

Creatine improves cognitive processing and neurological performance. It is also studied that it has the potential to treat neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Ischemic stroke, spinal cord injury, and many more. Creatine has shown anticonvulsant effects in epilepsy seizures. 

6. Other Health Benefits

Creatine helps reduce your blood glucose levels, improves your muscle functions in older adults, and improves the quality of life.  Few studies also suggest that creatine helps to prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD). 

Side Effects of Creatine 

Most of the studies have reported usage of creatine is safe both in the short and long term. According to the international society of sports nutrition (ISSN), people who have consumed 30grams of creatine supplements daily for 5 years are safe and do not have any side effects. 

In rare cases, creatine supplements may cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Also, sometimes creatine supplements may cause bloating and water retention in the muscles. 

If you are a bodybuilder or an athlete, consult your doctor before taking any creatine supplements. Your healthcare provider can suggest if you need to take a creatine supplement or dietary creatine is sufficient enough. 

It is not advised or recommended to take creatine if you are suffering from any kidney diseases. The kidney metabolizes creatine; if you’re suffering from renal diseases, then creatine supplements may worsen kidney function. 

Creatine-rich foods are safe and healthy. Creatine supplements are supposed to be safe, but caution should be taken on dosage. If you are a lactating mother or pregnant, have kidney issues or diabetes, or any other health problems, consult your health care provider before taking creatine supplements.

Creatine and Carnivore Diet

Creatine is a molecule found in animal food sources. It enhances the recycling of ATP and maintains energy in cells, muscles, and brain tissue. Hence, carnivore foods are the best source of creatine. 

Carnivore diet includes only animal sources of food. This diet is enriched with creatine and all other essential nutrients required for your body.

Bushmeat is the best source of animal creatine; it includes the meat of deer, bison, beef, or buffalo.  Herring fish is also very rich in creatine. In addition to creatine, these food sources have fewer calories and saturated fat. 

The list of Creatine (Amount/100g of food) rich food sources:

  1. Herring Fillet (raw and dried): 1.1g
  2. Beef patties (raw): 0.9g
  3. Herring: 0.9g
  4. Beefsteak gravy (juice cooked from meat): 0.9g
  5. Salmon: 0.9g
  6. Beefburger: 0.9g
  7. Pork:0.7g
  8. Black pudding (blood sausage): 0.6g
  9. Dry-cured ham: 0.6g
  10. Lamb, top round: 0.5g
  11. Chicken breast: 0.4g
  12. Rabbit meat: 0.4g
  13. Tuna:0.4g
  14. Cod:0.3g
  15. Beef cattle heart: 0.3g
  16. Oxheart: 0.3g
  17. Beef cattle cheek:0.3g
  18. Hot dogs: 0.2g

If your food is overcooked, you may lose some creatine. Do not overcook your meat. A good amount of creatine is released as juice from the meat while cooking; hence, you can use it to make a sauce or pour it over meat as you cook it. Follow USDA cooking guidelines for appropriate cooking temperatures and to get all the essential nutrients. 

To know more about the carnivore diet read – The carnivore diet- a complete guide.

Is it Required to Include Creatine in a Carnivore Diet? 

When you are on a carnivore diet, you will not be taking any carbs or plant foods. During your transition period, you might feel hard to work out, tired, and lethargic. Many of you think that fat is only giving you energy, but it is more than that. Your body fat is more endurance-based energy that can be utilized consistently during workouts. 

Another thing to note is that the carnivore diet is the best source of Creatine. The carnivore diet is gaining popularity because of its creatine phosphate energy system, which provides you with an enormous amount of energy that is lacking in your carbs diet and vegan diet. 

Your body has so much energy stored in its muscles, and also fat gets converted into energy when required. Hence, the carnivore diet would be the best diet choice if you are a bodybuilder during high-intensity workouts. 

Should you Include Creatine Supplements in the Carnivore Diet? 

If you’re a bodybuilder, you might require minimal doses of creatine supplements because your diet is already enriched with creatine and essential nutrients. Talk to your health care provider about whether your body needs creatine supplements while you are on a carnivore diet. It also depends on each individual and how much creatine you can get from your diet.  

It is recommended to consult your trainer, doctor before you start any supplements. 

Some of the Common Forms of Creatine

Creatine supplements are available in different forms. Creatine monohydrate is a well-studied form. Many other forms of creatine are currently more effective than the creatine monohydrate; however, fewer studies support it. 

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is widely accepted, has the best safety record, is readily available, effective, and is cheaper. Many studies recommend creatine monohydrate as the best and widely accepted creatine supplement form among the available. 

Creatine Hydrochloride

Creatine hydrochloride (HCL) is another form of creatine supplement in which creatine molecules are bound with hydrochloric acid. This form helps to speed up the solubility and enhances the absorption. 

According to a study, creatine hydrochloride has better solubility when compared with creatine monohydrate form. Due to its solubility factor, creatine hydrochloride is getting wide acceptability. More studies are required to support its safety and understand the side effects in the long term. 

Creatine Ethyl Ester

Some pharma companies, which produce creatine ethyl ester, claim that it is better than the other forms of supplements. Studies suggest that it has better absorption than creatine monohydrate in the body. 

Experts suggest that due to differences in muscle absorption rate, it may outperform creatine monohydrates. Few studies indicate that it is not recommended as it leads to excess creatine content in blood and muscles. Hence, creatine ethyl ester is not recommended as a creatine supplement. 

Buffered Creatine 

Pharma companies have attempted to improve the stability of creatine by adding alkaline powder which results in buffered creatine. Experts suggest that alkaline properties could increase its potency and reduce the side effects such as bloating and cramping. But studies say that buffered creatine and creatine monohydrate both have the same effects. 

More studies have to be done to confirm the effectiveness of buffered creatine. So currently, the best available form of creatine supplement would be Creatine monohydrate. 

If you are a carnivore dieter, you will be getting sufficient levels of creatine through your exclusive meat diet. 

Final words 

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements that help to enhance, build, and repair muscles and also improve performance. Based on the available research, it is considered to be safe. However, you should consult your doctor before taking creatine supplements. 

If you are on a carnivore diet, you are getting natural creatine through your food. Experts suggest that people were able to increase their creatine levels through diet without any side effects. In ancient times our ancestor’s diet has helped them to endure and gain energy through their meat diet. 

If you are on a carnivore diet, consult your doctor before taking creatine supplements. It suggested taking the lowest dose if required. High doses of creatine may cause adverse effects.