Difference between Creatine and Creatinine

Creatine and creatinine are two distinct compounds that are often confused with one another due to their similar names and structures. However, there are significant differences between these two substances in terms of their chemical makeup, functions, and uses. In this essay, we will explore the difference between creatine and creatinine in detail.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a substance which is naturally present in vertebrates. Creatine is an amino acid stored mostly in the body’s muscles and the brain. Though creatine can be created synthetically, it is mostly derived from seafood and red meat. It is made in liver, pancreas and kidneys and it is a nitrogenous substance and possesses a carboxylic group to it. Creatine is produced from glycine, L-arginine, and L-methionine amino acids.

People consume creatine orally to treat brain disorders and conditions, heart diseases and other neurological issues. Topical creatine is used to treat ageing skin.

Creatine also treats; depression, fibromyalgia, idiopathic inflammatory myopathies, muscle atrophy and cramps, head trauma, diabetes, schizophrenia, muscle breakdown in the spine, Rett syndrome, gyrate atrophy (eye disease), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, breathing problems in infants during sleeping, and recovery from surgery.

What is Creatinine?

Creatinine is a chemical waste product formed by the breakdown of creatine in muscle cells. The production of creatine phosphate depends on the muscle mass of an individual and is eliminated from the body through kidneys. It is transported into the kidney and through the bloodstream and filtered and excreted from the body in urine. The creatinine levels in men is higher in men as compared to women. This is because men possess more skeletal muscles than women.

Blood and urine creatinine levels are assessed to calculate the creatinine clearance and exhibit the glomerular filtration rate. Malfunctioning and damage of kidneys If the kidneys are severely damaged and malfunctioning, creatinine dispensation rate will indicate that. Low levels of creatinine indicate Muscle atrophy, sedentary lifestyle, malnutrition / debility and multiple sclerosis.

Some benefits of creatinine clearance are;

  • It does not require I.V administration

  • It can be easily estimated

  • It is a normal metabolite of the body

  • In early stages, it has got advantage over S. Creatinine.

Differences: Creatine and Creatinine

Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that is naturally found in the body, particularly in muscle tissue. It is synthesized in the liver and kidneys from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine, and is transported to the muscles through the bloodstream. Creatine plays an essential role in the body's energy metabolism, particularly during high-intensity physical activity such as weightlifting, sprinting, and other forms of intense exercise.

Creatine is an important component of the phosphocreatine system, which is responsible for supplying energy to muscle cells during short bursts of intense activity. When the body needs energy, phosphocreatine breaks down into creatine and phosphate, releasing energy in the process. This energy is used to power muscle contractions and other cellular processes.

In addition to its role in energy metabolism, creatine has also been shown to have several other health benefits. Studies have found that creatine supplementation can improve muscle strength, endurance, and recovery time, as well as increase muscle mass and improve cognitive function in some people. As a result, creatine supplements have become popular among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts looking to enhance their performance and build muscle mass.

Creatinine, on the other hand, is a waste product that is produced in the body when creatine breaks down. When creatine is used up by the muscles, it is converted into creatinine and excreted from the body through the kidneys. Creatinine is therefore a marker of kidney function, as it is typically eliminated from the body through urine.

Unlike creatine, creatinine does not have any known biological function in the body. It is simply a waste product that needs to be eliminated to maintain the body's balance of nitrogenous waste products. High levels of creatinine in the blood can indicate kidney dysfunction, as the kidneys are responsible for removing excess creatinine from the body. This is why creatinine levels are often used as a diagnostic tool for kidney disease and other kidney-related disorders.

In terms of their chemical makeup, creatine and creatinine are similar but not identical. Both compounds contain nitrogen and are derived from amino acids, but creatinine has an extra molecule of water in its structure, giving it a slightly different chemical formula (C4H7N3O vs. C4H7N3O2).

The following table highlights the major differences between Creatine and Creatinine:





Creatine is an amino acid produced naturally in the human body by the kidney, liver and pancreas.

It is a biological waste product that is produced by muscles by the breakdown of a compound called creatine.

Molecular formulae and scientific name

Molecular formula: The chemical formula for creatine is C4H9N3O2

Scientific name: 2- (carboximidoyl-methyl- amino) acetic acid.

Molecular formula: The chemical formula for creatinine is C4H7N3O

Scientific name: 2-amino-1-methyl-5h-imidazol-4-one


Creatine is very important for the body. It is an organic acid. It is a natural compound created in the body and is obtained from the diet through meat products.

Creatine helps the muscle tissues generate more energy, speeds up growth of muscles, helps combat neurological and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce diabetes and improves high-intensity exercise performance.

It is used as a dietary supplement meant for improving athletic performance and muscle strength.

Creatinine does not perform any vital function in the body. It is not an organic acid. However, Creatinine levels in the blood can help your doctor assess how well your kidneys are working. The test helps to diagnose certain diseases and to check for any issues and conditions with your kidney function.

If the kidneys are not performing as they should, however, creatinine levels in blood can elevate. When tests report that amount of this compound is very high, a doctor usually carries out additional testing to ascertain the extent of the issues with a person’s kidneys.


It is stored in the muscles and increases the muscle mass.

Creatinine production reduces the muscle mass.

Side effects

High levels of creatine can cause;

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhoea

  • Muscle cramping

  • Stomach pain

  • Irregular heartbeat in some people

High levels of creatinine can cause;

  • Possible malfunction or failure of the kidneys

  • Swelling or oedema

  • Confusion

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fatigue

  • Dehydration


Creatine has a linear molecule.

Creatinine has a heterocyclic structure.

Molar Mass

The molar mass of creatine is 131.13 g/mol.

The molar mass of creatinine is 113.12 g/mol.


In conclusion, creatine and creatinine are two distinct compounds with different functions and roles in the body. Creatine is an important component of the body's energy metabolism and has several health benefits, while creatinine is a waste product that needs to be eliminated from the body to maintain proper kidney function.

While their names and chemical structures may be similar, it is important to understand the differences between Creatine and Creatinine to avoid confusion and ensure their proper use in medical and fitness contexts.

Updated on: 15-May-2023


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