Creatine, which is also referred to as creatine citrate, is a compound created by components of proteins, called amino acids, in the human body. Created in a person’s liver and other vital organs, it helps supply the muscles with energy. Creatinine, on the other hand, is the waste created from the body’s use of creatine. Essentially, the main difference between creatine and creatinine is the fact that the former is necessary for the body while the latter does not perform a vital function. Creatinine is important, however, in revealing possible kidney problems.
To understand the difference between creatine and creatinine, one can consider how they are developed. Both of these substances are made within the human body, but only one is produced to benefit the body. The liver, pancreas, and kidneys produce creatine and send it to the muscles through a person’s blood. It helps the muscles perform well. In comparison, the body does not need creatinine.
Though it is a byproduct, creatinine can prove helpful in health evaluations. Doctors perform blood and urine tests to check creatinine levels and determine whether a person’s kidney function is adequate. The kidneys process creatinine out of the body in the form of urine. If the kidneys are not functioning as they should, however, creatinine levels can rise. When tests reveal that levels of this substance are high, a doctor usually performs additional testing to determine the extent of the problems with a person’s kidneys.
One reason high levels of creatinine are so worrisome is the fact that the body doesn’t usually produce much of it. In fact, only about two percent of the body’s creatine ends up as creatinine on a given day. Since the body stores most of its creatine in its muscles, it can take a long time for this substance to be used and lead to creatine production.
A person can also consume creatine. It is found in meat and fish, and some people supplement with it in the hopes of improving athletic performance. For example, some studies have produced evidence that creatine helps with weight-lifting performance and athletic pursuits that require strength but only last for a short time. This point is critical when comparing creatine and creatinine, as people do not consume the latter.
Despite the connection between creatine and creatinine, supplementation with this substance is usually considered safe. It can prove worrisome, however, if a person exceeds the recommend dosage on supplement labels. When dosages are too high, a person risks harming his kidneys. As such, a consultation with one's doctor may prove beneficial prior to supplementation.