Is Creatine Vegan?

Is Creatine Vegan?

Creatine is needed for support of a lot of bodily functions, though it’s best known as a supplement that improves athletic performance. 

If you’re a vegan gym enthusiast, bodybuilder, or athlete, you may be wondering if creatine is or isn’t vegan-friendly. We’ll cover the answer in this post, including whether vegans should prioritize taking creatine supplements. 

Creatine: The Basics

Creatine is naturally produced in the kidneys and liver. Our body stores this substance in certain areas, like the brain, muscles, and blood.

Vegans don’t need to worry about the body’s self-generated creatine supply, but what about creatine supplements?

As the body can produce its own creatine from amino acids, it isn’t generally necessary to prioritize creatine consumption. 

There isn’t a recommended daily intake, though weightlifters and athletes may use creatine for better performance, as it can improve anaerobic strength by as much as 15%. 

Is Creatine Suitable For Vegans?

Creatine can be vegan-friendly, but some supplements you come across may be non-vegan. The confusion around this relates to its name. Creatine was first found in 1832 by Michel Chevreul, a French chemist. He first named the substance after the Greek word ‘kreas’ which means meat. 

Additionally, creatine is found in ample quantities in red meat muscle tissue and is generally found in animal sources.

Seafood, like cod, tuna, and salmon contain substantial amounts of creatine, though smaller quantities are found in dairy milk and eggs

While several creatine supplements may be unsuitable for vegans, the majority of them will be plant-based friendly.

If you cannot find a ‘vegan’ label, see if the term ‘synthetic creatine’ is listed on the packaging. This generally means that the supplement has been created in a lab, instead of being derived from animal matter. 

Producing creatine synthetically is generally simpler and less expensive to do, which is why the bulk of creatine products should be suitable for vegans. 

How Is Synthetic Creatine Made?

Synthetic creatine is sourced from an amino acid called sarcosine. The body naturally creates this substance when choline transforms into glycine. 

Sarcosine is heated with cyanamide and additional catalysts to produce creatine crystals. This process doesn’t require or harm animals, so synthetic creatine brands which use this method are likely to be vegan-friendly. 

Watch Out For Gelatin!

Watch Out For Gelatin!

Most creatine supplements may be vegan, but there may be occasions where supplement manufacturers include the animal matter in their products. 

Vegans should be wary of creatine supplements in capsule form. Capsules are often made with gelatin, a substance that is created from ground animal pieces. 

It’s also a good idea to research if any non-vegan substances were used in the manufacturing process, as well as if their supplements have been tested on animals. 

Should Vegans Take Creatine Supplements?

It’s dubious as to whether vegans should or shouldn’t prioritize improving their creatine intake. Healthy vegans that eat a nutritious diet should be able to create enough creatine naturally. The body can store roughly 125 grams of creatine, though two grams each day are expelled through the urine. 

Fortunately, healthy individuals can produce enough creatine to replace this loss per day, so they won’t need to consume more creatine to compensate. 

It’s believed that synthesis adjusts to maintain adequate creatine levels. This means that if you consume more creatine in the diet, the body will start to produce less. 

Some studies have also shown that vegetarians and vegans have lower amounts of creatine in the muscles. However, these studies are smaller ones, and there currently isn’t any proof that vegans will experience health problems related to low-creatine consumption. 

A lower creatine intake doesn’t mean that you will become deficient in the substance. This will only happen if you develop a particular medical problem that affects the body’s creatine storage or production. 

With all of the current information we have, there is no leading scientific reason why vegans should take creatine supplements. The exception may be for vegans who regularly strength train and want to increase their strength and muscle size. 

Conclusion

Creatine supplements are generally considered vegan-friendly, though there may be some exceptions. Make sure that your brand uses synthetic creatine, as this will have been produced with methods that don’t harm animals. 

If your supplement is in capsule form, make sure you check to see whether gelatin is used in the product, as supplement capsules are often made from gelatin. 

Vegans generally have less creatine in their muscles compared to meat eaters, but they do not need to take creatine supplements to compensate for this.

However, if you eat a plant-based diet and believe creatine may help improve your athletic performance, there’s no harm in giving the supplement a try. 

Brandon White
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