Creatine is a natural substance produced in the human body by three essential amino acids namely- L-arginine, glycine, and L methionine. The process takes place in the kidney and liver and the produced creatine is manufactured to various parts of the body via the blood. Excess of creatine is generally stored in the muscles (around 95%) and the brain (around 5%) and makes around 1% of the total human blood.
Creatine occurs in three major forms namely- creatine monohydrate, which the natural and most essential form; micronized creatine, which is a refined form of creatine having high absorption and solvation rate; and creatine ethyl ester, which is basically monohydrate creatine with high absorption power. Our body requires approximately 2-3 grams of creatine daily half of which is synthesized in the body and the remaining half is consumed by us through our diet.
Creatine can be found in meat, vegetables, and dairy and therefore is suitable for consumption by vegetarians and vegans as well. Let us break down the food sources based on vegetarian and meat.
Here are a few meat sources to meet the daily requirement of creatine by the human body.
- Red meat
Red meat includes beef, pork, and sheep meat and is high in its iron content as compared to chicken or fish. It is a profound dietary source of creatine as well as protein due to its complete amino acid profile. Additionally, it is also rich in various other nutrients like vitamins A, B12 and minerals like zinc.
Pork contains around 0.6-grams creatine per 100-gram consumption. Creatine is also found in combination with various vitamins and minerals as well. Pork is a rich source of protein that helps improve strength and muscle recovery. With such high content of creatine, pork is often considered the favorite source for bodybuilders and athletes.
Salmon is an oily pink fish that has an equally high content of creatine, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. It contains around 0.45-gram creatine per 100-gram consumption and adequate intake is capable of meeting the body requirement.
For the vegetarians out there, here’s a list of food sources that you can include in your regular diet to make up for the required amount of creatine.
Dairy products make up the maximum portion of creatine food sources in the vegetarian diet. Milk, for example, contains sufficient amounts of arginine and methionine to help in the production of creatine in our body. Parmesan cheese is known to contain the highest amount of creatine that is around 2.70 grams. Moreover, poultry products like eggs are rich in methionine and enhance the
natural production of creatine in our body.
Nuts like almonds are highly packed with creatine alongside being rich in proteins. Additionally, they also contain healthy fats which play an important role in reducing body mass index (BMI) and hence help in losing weight.
- Pumpkin seeds
Seeds and nuts also form a major portion of the vegan diet. Thus, they are a good source of creatine for vegans. Seeds like pumpkin and flax are rich in arginine and glycine, thus produce high amounts of creatine. Moreover, they also contain a good amount of methionine to boost the creatine manufacturing process.