7 Foods High in Creatine To Maximize Your Performance

Foods High In Creatine

Creatine can be naturally produced by your body, but we often need to consume dietary sources of creatine to meet the daily recommendations. Have you been wondering what foods are high in creatine? Then this article is for you! Seven foods are naturally rich in creatine. Read on to learn about creatine, dietary creatine, and creatine synthesis.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid derivative, meaning that it is naturally produced in the body, but it is not an essential nutrient [3]. It is synthesized naturally by the kidneys and liver from three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine [1, 2]. Creatine is also present in animal food products such as meats and dairy products, which can be consumed as a source of dietary creatine [2].

Creatine aids the human body in several processes. It can regulate cell and organ function and metabolic regulation [3]. Creatine also provides energy to the brain, myocardium, and skeletal muscle [3]. Studies show that creatine can increase muscle strength and mass and reduce muscle fatigue [3, 4]. Creatine also promotes muscle gain through the process of drawing water into muscles [5]. This process also improves performance and promotes recovery [5].

Approximately 95% of creatine stored in the body is stored in skeletal muscle. The remaining 5% of creatine in the body is stored in the brain [4]. Every day, 1.5 to 2% of the stored creatine is converted for use by the liver, kidneys, and pancreas [4].

Creatine Powder

How is Creatine Used?

Without getting deep into the science of how creatine works, here is a basic overview. Muscles need energy to function. ATP is the body’s energy source that muscles use to contract. When a muscle uses the energy from ATP, the ATP molecule is broken down into ADP [8]. High-intensity exercise, such as resistance training, causes ATP to be used very quickly, which onsets muscle fatigue [8]. Creatine is then used to resynthesize ADP back into ATP for re-use [8]. Thus, reducing muscle fatigue.

When creatine is used, the stored amounts of creatine in the body need to be replenished either through synthesis or diet. About half of creatine replenishment is from synthesized creatine [8]. To fully replenish the amount of created used by the body, creatine must be consumed [2].

Creatine Dietary Needs

The average adult needs between 1 to 3 grams of creatine stored in their body for functioning, whether the creatine is synthesized or from dietary sources [5]. Athletes require larger amounts. The International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that athletes consume between 5 and 10 grams of creatine each day to maintain their body’s creatine stores [5]. You can calculate how much creatine you need to consume by using this calculator.

7 Foods High in Creatine

1. Beef

Beef, referred to as red meat, is the meat of cattle. 

Beef is an excellent food source of protein, amino acids, and creatine, making it one of the best foods for building muscle and improving exercise performance [12]. Since beef is a rich source of heme iron, beef can also prevent the development of anemia. Anemia is an iron deficiency that causes you to feel tired and weak [12]. 

Beef nutrition facts: 3.5oz serving of broiled ground beef (10% fat) [12]

  • Calories: 217
  • Protein: 26.1g
  • Fat: 11.8g

Beef contains the highest quality of protein and amino acids that you can consume. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, and bioactive substances such as taurine and glutathione [12]. 

Juicy Beef Steak

Creatine in Beef 

Beef contains the highest amount of dietary creatine compared to other foods. Beef cuts contain an average of 4.5 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [8]. The amount of creatine in beef varies by muscle or organ.

  • Steak – contains 5 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [7].
  • Top Loin – contains 2.93 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].
  • Round Tip – contains 2.95 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].
  • Ground Beef – contains 2.53 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].

2. Poultry

Poultry is a term that refers to domesticated fowl that are raised for meat and egg production, such as chickens, turkeys, geese, and ducks [13]. Chicken is the most commonly consumed meat in the United States [13]. 

Chicken nutrition facts: 4oz serving of boneless, skinless, chicken breast [15]

  • Calories: 136
  • Protein: 25.4g
  • Fat: 2.96g

Poultry is high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids [13]. It also contains notable amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin [13].

Raw Chicken Fillet With Garlic Pepper And Rosemary

Creatine in Chicken

Creatine content in poultry varies by bird and portion of meat. 

  • Chicken Breast – contains 2.21 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].
  • Chicken Thigh – contains 2.51 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].

Turkey and Cornish hens are also mentioned to be excellent sources of creatine. However, the exact amount of creatine from those sources is unknown.

3. Pork

Pork is meat from pigs. Pork meat is the most consumed meat in the world [14]. 

Like other meats, pork is also an excellent source of protein and all nine essential amino acids [13]. As it is a high-quality protein, it also promotes the benefits of increasing muscle mass and improving performance [14]. 

Pork nutrition facts: 3.5oz serving of ground pork [14]

  • Calories: 297
  • Protein: 25.7g
  • Fat: 20.8g

It is also a rich source of thiamine, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and Niacin [14].

Pork Chop Steak

Creatine in Pork

Pork contains an average of about 5.0 grams per kilogram of pork meat [8]. The exact content of creatine in pork varies by the cut of meat.

  • Top Loin – contains 1.88 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].
  • Ground Pork – contains 1.79 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].
  • Bacon – contains 1.23 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].

Dry-cured ham, pork heart, and pork liver are also mentioned as excellent sources of creatine. However, the exact value of creatine in those meat selections is unknown.

4. Sheep

Sheep meat is also considered red meat, which like beef, is rich in heme iron [16].

Sheep meats are classified into two types, lamb and mutton. Lamb meat comes from sheep slaughtered before 12 months of age, and mutton meat comes from sheep slaughtered after 24 months of age [16]. Lamb is generally much more tender meat than mutton. 

Lamb nutrition facts: 3.5oz serving of roasted lamb meat [17]

  • Calories: 258
  • Protein: 25.6g
  • Fat: 16.5g

Lamb and mutton are high in protein and contain all nine essential amino acids [17]. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc, and bioactive nutrients such as creatine, taurine, and glutathione [17].

Raw Lamb Chops

Creatine in Lamb and Mutton

The exact amount of creatine in lamb and mutton is unknown. But, as it is red meat like beef, the content of creatine is expected to be approximately 4.5 to 5 grams per kilogram of uncooked meat.

5. Fish

Some fish varieties are excellent sources of creatine. Fish is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, thiamine, selenium, vitamin D, and creatine [19].

Salmon nutrition facts: 3.5oz serving of cooked wild salmon [18]

  • Calories: 182
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 8g

Tilapia nutrition facts: 3.5oz serving of cooked tilapia [20]

  • Calories: 182
  • Protein: 26g
  • Fat: 3g

Catfish nutrition facts: 3oz serving of cooked catfish [29]

  • Calories: 89.2
  • Protein: 15.7g
  • Fat: 2.4g

Cod nutrition facts: 3oz serving of cooked cod [30]

  • Calories: 71.4
  • Protein: 17.3g
  • Fat: 0.2g

Roasted Fish

Creatine in Fish

Creatine content in fish varies by the variety of fish.

  • Salmon – contains 2.66 to 4.5 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat depending on if it is farmed or wild salmon [6, 8].
  • Herring – contains 6.5 to 10 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [8].
  • Cod – contains 3 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [8].
  • Catfish – contains 2.81 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].
  • Tilapia – contains 1.80 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [6].
  • Tuna – contains 4.0 grams of creatine per kilogram of meat [8].

6. Wild Game

Wild game meat is classified as any meat that is undomesticated and wild instead of farm raised. Venison (elk or deer), bison, and rabbit are the most commonly consumed game meats.

Both venison and bison are rich in protein, iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins [22].

Venison nutrition facts: 3 oz serving of cooked venison [21]

  • Calories: 159
  • Protein: 22.5g
  • Fat: 7g

Bison nutrition facts: 4 oz serving of cooked bison [22]

  • Calories: 124
  • Protein: 17g
  • Fat: 6g

Roasted Wild Boar Meat

Creatine in Wild Game Meat

The exact amount of creatine in wild game meats has not been calculated, but since they are red meats, it is safe to assume, in comparison to beef, that they contain a sufficient amount.

7. Dairy

Milk itself is a poor supply of creatine, only containing 0.1 grams per kilogram of milk [8]. However, various cheeses are excellent sources of creatine. Cheese can be an excellent dietary source of creatine if you are vegetarian and do not eat meat products. 

While the exact amount of creatine in cheese has not been clinically calculated, cheeses like parmesan, Romano, gruyere, swiss, edam, and gouda are estimated to contain between 2 to 3 grams of creatine per 100 grams of cheese.

[Related: Best Creatine Supplements of 2022 Reviewed & Ranked]

What About Creatine for Vegans?

Animal meats and animal products are the only sources of dietary creatine. Vegans often find it difficult to find sources of dietary creatine and need to rely on creatine supplementation. Studies show that those who do not eat meat have less creatine in their muscles than those who eat meat [2].

Pumpkin Seeds

Creatine Synthesis

The good news is that the human body can synthesize enough creatine for normal body functions [2]. If vegans want to build muscle or reduce fatigue during high-intensity workouts, they often need creatine supplements. However, there is food that can be consumed in order to support creatine synthesis [2].

For vegans, creatine replenishing is entirely dependent on creatine synthesis [24]. Creatine is synthesized from three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine [2]. Consuming foods high in these amino acids can support creatine synthesis for vegans.

Foods High in Arginine, Glycine, and Methionine

  • Pumpkin Seeds – contain 6.9 grams of arginine per cup of seeds, 2.8 grams of glycine, and 0.8 grams of methionine per cup of seeds [9].
  • Sesame Seeds – contain 4.8 grams of arginine, 1.6 grams of glycine, and 1.3 grams of methionine per cup of seeds [10].
  • Seaweed (Spirulina) – contain 4.6 grams of arginine, 3.5 grams of glycine, and 1.3 grams of methionine per cup [11].
  • Soy Beans – contain 2.9 grams of arginine, 1.7 grams of glycine, and 0.5 grams of methionine per cup [25].
  • White Beans – contain 1.2 grams of arginine, 0.7 grams of glycine, and 0.2 grams of methionine per cup [26].
  • Walnuts – contain 2.7 grams of arginine, 1.0 grams of glycine, and 0.3 grams of methionine per cup [27].
  • Almonds – contain 3.5 grams of arginine, 2.1 grams of glycine, and 0.2 grams of methionine per cup [28].

Learn more about Creatine:


Wrapping Up

Creatine is naturally found in animal meats, with the highest concentration of creatine being in red meats and fish. Even though it may be possible to consume enough creatine in your diet, if you engage in strenuous or high-intensity exercise, consuming creatine through these meats may not meet your body’s needs. Supplementation would likely be necessary.

Since creatine is only found in animal products, vegans are often left lacking dietary creatine options. While they can consume foods that are high in arginine, glycine, and methionine to support creatine synthesis in the body, supplementation would be necessary to replenish the body’s creatine storage. 


  1. Greenhaff, P. L. (1997). The nutritional biochemistry of creatine. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 8(11), 610–618. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0955-2863(97)00116-2
  2. Brosnan, M. E., & Brosnan, J. T. (2016). The role of dietary creatine. Amino Acids, 48(8), 1785–1791. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-016-2188-1
  3. Ostojic, S. M. (2021). Dietary creatine intake in U.S. population: NHANES 2017–2018. Nutrition, 87–88, 111207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2021.111207
  4. Cooper, R., Naclerio, F., Allgrove, J., & Jimenez, A. (2012). Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-33
  5. Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D. G., Kleiner, S. M., Almada, A. L., & Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
  6. Puangsombat, K., Gadgil, P., Houser, T. A., Hunt, M. C., & Smith, J. S. (2012). Occurrence of heterocyclic amines in cooked meat products. Meat Science, 90(3), 739–746. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2011.11.005
  7. Wu, G. (2020). Important roles of dietary taurine, creatine, carnosine, anserine and 4-hydroxyproline in human nutrition and health. Amino Acids, 52(3), 329–360. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-020-02823-6
  8. Rasmussen, C. J. (2008). Nutritional Supplements for Endurance Athletes. Nutritional Supplements in Sports and Exercise, 369–407. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-59745-231-1_11
  9. (2019). FoodData Central – Pumpkin Seeds. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170556/nutrients
  10. (2019). FoodData Central – Sesame Seeds. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169412/nutrients
  11. (2019). FoodData Central – Seaweed, Spirulina. FoodData Central https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170495/nutrients
  12. Arnarson, A., PhD. (2019, April 4). Beef 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/beef
  13. Colorado State University. (2022, March 10). Poultry | Food Source Information. CSU. https://fsi.colostate.edu/poultry/
  14. Arnarson, A., PhD. (2019a, March 28). Pork 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/pork
  15. (2019). FoodData Central – Chicken, breast, raw. FoodData Central https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171077/nutrients
  16. Ponnampalam, E., Holman, B., & Scollan, N. (2016). Sheep: Meat. Encyclopedia of Food and Health, 750–757. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-384947-2.00620-6
  17. Arnarson, A., PhD. (2019, March 26). Lamb 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/lamb#nutrition
  18. Spritzler, F. (2022, March 29). Salmon Nutrition and Health Benefits. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/salmon-nutrition-and-health-benefits#1
  19. Link, M. R. S. (2019, September 16). Is Fish Meat? All You Need to Know. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-fish-meat#health-effects
  20. Pearson, K., PhD. (2017, October 11). Tilapia Fish: Benefits and Dangers. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tilapia-fish#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
  21. Link, M. R. S. (2021, October 27). Is Venison High in Cholesterol? All You Need to Know. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-venison-high-in-cholesterol
  22. Preiato, R. D. D. (2020, January 10). All You Need to Know About Bison Meat. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bison-meat-nutrition#nutrition
  23. S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
  24. Pohl, A. (2021). The Impact of Vegan and Vegetarian Diets on Physical Performance and Molecular Signaling in Skeletal Muscle. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/11/3884
  25. (2019). FoodData Central – Soy Beans. FoodData Central https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172441/nutrients
  26. (2019). FoodData Central – White Beans. FoodData Central https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175204/nutrients
  27. (2019). FoodData Central – Walnuts. FoodData Central https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170187/nutrients
  28. (2019). FoodData Central – Almonds. FoodData Central https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients
  29. (2019). FoodData Central – Catfish. FoodData Central https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173714/nutrients
  30. (2019). FoodData Central – Cod. FoodData Central https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175178/nutrients


Post a Comment