(NaturalNews) Creatine is one of the most popular supplements in the fitness industry. It is a naturally occurring combination of amino acids found in meat or fish or produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. The body can build or synthesize creatine using amino acids from the plant or animal protein in foods we eat. According to Vegan Health and Men's Health, creatine is one of few nutritional supplements scientifically proven to increase muscle mass and endurance on a consistent basis, provided that users participate in a regular weightlifting regimen.
Varying studies show side effects of short-term use ranging from stomach pain and diarrhea to stressed kidneys and dehydration. According to Vanderbilt University, there are no valid studies on the long-term side effects of creatine supplementation; however, there is concern that the body may become codependent and cease to produce and store creatine on its own with continued use of the supplement.
This article, however, is not to dispute whether or not creatine should be used as a supplement, but instead to provide natural methods of getting the compound andaminos our body needs to build creatine through the foods we consume. Let's focus on consuming a variety of quality, nutrient dense foods before considering supplementation.
These foods contain the best source of natural creatine
Experts agree that the best animal source of creatine is wild game, including venison, elk, buffalo, and bison. Game meats also tend to have fewer calories, less saturated fat, and more lean tissue than domestic meats. The next best source is lean, free-range meats which include turkey breast, chicken breast, Cornish hens, lamb and veal. Last is wild-caught fish, which has an average of 1-2 grams of creatine per three-ounce serving. Farm-raised fish and animals fed a poor diet have lower levels of creatine.
As stated above, creatine is found in meat or fish and science says that there are no vegetarian sources. Therefore, vegetarians have to get enough of the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine which are used in production of creatine. Foods rich in arginine are peanuts, walnuts, coconuts, soybeans, chickpeas, and oats. Foods rich in glycine are raw seaweed or spirulina, raw watercress, spinach, soy protein isolate, and sesame seeds. Brazil nuts, oats, and sunflower seeds are great sources of methionine. It is important to note that vegetarians who get enough of these amino acids through diet still have less stored creatine than non-vegetarians.
About the author: Bri Jackson is a Certified Personal Trainer and author of the Health & Wellness Blog at www.hebrewessence.com. She is a natural living enthusiast striving to make the natural living transition easier for others.