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Can drinking water lower creatinine?

Creatinine is a waste product that is produced by the muscles during normal metabolic processes. It is usually removed from the blood by the kidneys and excreted in urine. However, if the kidneys are not functioning properly, creatinine levels in the blood can rise. An elevated blood creatinine level is a sign that the kidneys are not filtering waste products from the blood effectively. This condition is known as impaired kidney function or renal insufficiency.

Many people wonder if simply drinking more water can help lower creatinine levels by flushing out the kidneys. Here is a quick overview of how hydration may impact creatinine:

Can drinking water flush out creatinine?

– Drinking adequate water is important for kidney health and can help optimize kidney function. However, it is unlikely that drinking water alone will directly lower creatinine levels that are already elevated.

– Staying well hydrated can help the kidneys efficiently filter waste products like creatinine. But if kidney function is already impaired, increased water intake alone cannot overcome that damage.

– For people with chronically impaired kidney function, medications, diet changes, and treatments to address the underlying condition are necessary to reduce creatinine. Simply drinking more water is not enough.

– While staying hydrated cannot lower creatinine levels directly, it does play a supporting role in optimizing kidney health and function. Alongside other treatments, adequate hydration is important for managing creatinine levels.

So in summary, while drinking water has benefits for kidney health, it is not a direct treatment to lower already elevated creatinine levels in someone with impaired kidney function. Let’s explore this topic in more detail.

What is creatinine?

Creatinine is a waste product that comes from the normal metabolic breakdown of creatine phosphate in muscles. Creatine is a molecule that helps supply energy to all of the cells in the body that have high energy demands, particularly muscle cells.

When creatine is broken down, it produces creatinine as a waste byproduct. Creatinine is then filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys and excreted in urine.

Normal blood creatinine levels are:

  • Male: 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dL
  • Female: 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL

Higher than normal creatinine levels indicate impaired kidney function and decreased glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR is a measure of how efficiently the kidneys are filtering waste products from the blood.

What causes high creatinine levels?

Some common causes of elevated blood creatinine include:

  • Kidney disease or damage – from conditions like chronic kidney disease, kidney infection, kidney stones, etc.
  • Blocked urine flow – from enlarged prostate, kidney stones, tumors, etc.
  • Muscle breakdown – from injuries, medications, muscle diseases
  • Dehydration – which decreases blood flow to the kidneys
  • Diabetes – which can damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys

In most cases, an abnormally high creatinine level signals impaired kidney function that requires treatment. Treating the underlying condition can help lower creatinine back to normal ranges.

The role of hydration in kidney function

Staying well hydrated is important for preserving normal kidney function. Here’s how water impacts the kidneys:

  • Promotes blood flow – Adequate hydration keeps blood volume higher, which increases blood flow to the kidneys. More blood flow allows the kidneys to filter waste more efficiently.
  • Flushes waste – Drinking enough water provides more fluid for the kidneys to use to filter waste and form urine.
  • Prevents stones – Staying hydrated helps dilute the substances in urine that can crystalize into kidney stones when concentrated.
  • Protects tissues – Water helps keep kidney tissues healthy by providing lubrication, preventing too much friction within the kidneys.

Dehydration has the opposite effect on kidney function. Low fluid intake or fluid loss from sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. can lead to:

  • Decreased blood flow to the kidneys
  • Concentrated urine with more waste buildup
  • Increased risk of kidney stones
  • Tissue damage from lack of lubrication

These impacts impair the kidneys’ ability to properly filter waste products like creatinine.

How much water should you drink?

The recommended daily water intake varies based on factors like age, gender, activity level, and health status. General guidelines for adequate hydration are:

  • Women: Around 11 cups (2.7 liters) of total fluids per day
  • Men: Around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of total fluids per day

This can come from water, other beverages, and food. Fluid needs are higher for those who are active or in hot climates. Thirst is usually a good indicator that more fluids are needed.

Those with kidney disease may need to modify fluid intake based on their condition and doctor’s recommendations. But in general, staying well hydrated supports kidney health.

Does drinking water lower creatinine levels?

Drinking adequate water is beneficial for optimizing overall kidney function. But it is not a direct treatment for already elevated creatinine.

Here’s why drinking more water itself does not lower high creatinine levels:

Cannot reverse existing kidney damage

Once the kidneys have already suffered damage from disease, blockages, or chronic deficiencies like dehydration, this impairment cannot simply be reversed by increasing water intake. Damage to the kidney tissues and nephrons (filtering units) limits how well they work.

Cannot restore lost nephrons

The number of functioning nephrons steadily declines as we age. Also, diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure can destroy nephrons faster over time. Hydration cannot bring back lost nephrons – new ones do not form. So if nephrons are already lost, the kidneys have reduced filtration capacity.

Cannot remove underlying causes

Conditions causing high creatinine like kidney stones, tumors, enlarged prostate, etc. will continue to obstruct urine flow and impair kidney filtration until treated. Drinking water does not treat these underlying problems to restore kidney function.

In someone with already impaired kidney function, optimizing hydration can help support filtration capacity but may only slow the rise of creatinine rather than lower it.

When can hydration help lower creatinine?

There are some scenarios where improving hydration status can temporarily lower creatinine levels:

Reversing dehydration

Blood creatinine may rise due to dehydration from fluid loss, which decreases kidney perfusion. Rehydrating and restoring normal fluid status can bring creatinine back down.

Preventing further kidney damage

For those in very early stages of kidney disease, adequate hydration may help slow further damage and nephron loss. This can prevent creatinine from rising due to additional impairment.

Diluting elevated levels

In mild cases of kidney impairment, increased water intake can help dilute waste products and improve clearance slightly. This can cause a small decrease in creatinine.

However, in advanced kidney disease, these minor improvements will often not be enough to lower creatinine into the normal range with hydration alone.

Other ways to reduce high creatinine

While hydration has some benefits, other treatments are necessary to lower abnormally high creatinine levels:

Treating underlying conditions

Addressing conditions impairing kidney function – like removing stones or tumors, controlling diabetes, or using medications for kidney disease – can improve creatinine levels by improving kidney filtration.


Certain drugs like ACE inhibitors or ARBs help dilate blood vessels, lowering pressure in the kidneys and improving their function to reduce creatinine levels.

Diet changes

Eating a kidney-friendly diet lower in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium can help slow kidney damage. Limiting protein intake can also reduce creatinine production.


If kidney function is severely impaired, doing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis mechanically filters waste products from the blood, including creatinine. This quickly lowers high creatinine levels.

The bottom line

While hydration is crucial for supporting overall kidney function, simply drinking more water is not enough to directly lower elevated creatinine levels. Reversing dehydration, preventing further kidney impairment, diluting waste, and supporting other treatments can help optimize creatinine levels. But for significant reductions in creatinine, the underlying causes of impaired kidney function must be properly addressed.

Staying well hydrated should be part of an overall treatment plan. Work with your doctor to determine the appropriate treatments to improve kidney function and lower your creatinine to a healthy range. Consistently elevated creatinine signals kidney disease requiring proper medical care.


In summary, drinking adequate water is vital for kidney health and plays a supportive role in managing high creatinine levels. However, hydration alone cannot directly lower elevated creatinine that is caused by underlying kidney disease or damage. To properly reduce creatinine, the root condition impairing kidney function must be treated.

While optimizing hydration status should be part of the approach, other interventions like medications, dialysis, dietary changes, or procedures to unblock urine flow are necessary to restore kidney function and filtration capacity when it is compromised.

Consistently high creatinine is a warning sign to take steps to protect your kidney health before further damage occurs. Work with your doctor to maintain good hydration while also treating any condition impairing kidney function in order to keep creatinine within the normal range. Monitoring creatinine can help detect kidney issues early so they can be properly addressed.