Can Women Take Creatine?

The short answer is yes, creatine is perfectly safe for women and can be just as beneficial as it is for men. And that includes it's benefits to cognative performance as well as simply for increasing stregnth and lean muscle. Creatine may even be more beneficial to women due to common dietary differences between the sexes and on top of that it can have some specific benefits for menopause.

Why Some Women Are Skeptical About Creatine

Creatine supplementation has long been associated with male bodybuilders and athletes looking to build muscle mass and enhance performance, and seeing as most studies have been done on men and building muscle, people often get the wrong idea about the supplement. 

However, most recent research suggests that creatine can also benefit women who engage in regular exercise. It's mostly the association with bodybuilding and less natural methods which cause the concern, although this is nothing to do with how creatine works. Our bodies actually produce it naturally, and it's in a lot of foods people eat every day.

Why Does Diet Effect How Effective Creatine Supplements Are And How Does This Effect Women?

As we already mentioned, creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in our muscles, brain, and gut. It plays a crucial role in providing energy for high-intensity and demanding activities. Our bodies naturally produce small amounts of creatine about 1 to 2 grams a day. And in terms of diet it mostly comes from meat. Particularly dark meats like beef. In which case if you eat these regularly you can get about another 2 grams. Generally speaking women eat less of these sorts of meat, meaning they benefit more from supplementing creatine (in theory, although most of the studies that show this are on people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets). People who don't eat much meat or none at all can actually see 20% greater results than those that do. 

This has been shown in the studies, because comparitively they're adding more creatine to their baseline. If someone has 4 grams a day in their system because they eat meat, but then adds 4 grams they double their creatine. But, if you only have 2 and add 4 you'll notice a bigger difference. There's also an argument that in these cases you'd benefit from supplementing an extra gram or so per day, although there are no direct studies on this that we could find. 

The Benefits of Creatine for Women

Improved Exercise Performance

Research suggests that women may respond even better to creatine supplementation than men. In one study, female participants experienced a 15% increase in exercise performance after 10 weeks of creatine supplementation, compared to just 6% in men. This enhanced performance can be attributed to increased ATP turnover during exercise and delayed neuromuscular fatigue.

Increased Muscle Mass and Strength

Creatine has been shown to promote muscle gain by drawing water into the muscles, increasing levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and improving performance and recovery. This makes it an effective supplement for women looking to increase muscle mass and strength. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) now recommends creatine supplementation alongside strength training for improving muscle growth in adults over the age of 55.

Mood Enhancement and Cognitive Function

Creatine has been found to reduce mental fatigue, which can help women perform more frequent and intense workouts. Additionally, it has been shown to aid in the treatment of depressive disorders. Combining creatine supplementation with antidepressant medication has been associated with faster response rates and higher remission rates in women with major depressive disorder.

Counteracting Menopausal Muscle, Bone, and Strength Loss

It's also particularly interesting for menopausal women as we mentioned earlier. Creatine supplementation in combination with resistance training has been shown to counterbalance muscle, bone, and strength loss. It reduces inflammation, oxidative stress, and bone resorption while increasing bone formation. High doses of creatine (0.3g per kg per day) have been found to increase muscle mass and function in menopausal women. Especially if you take it along side a menopause supplement that contains DHEA, vitamins and minerals (generally we recommend EstoCare, read review here). 

Debunking Concerns Women Have About Creatine

Weight Gain and Bloating

Contrary to popular belief, creatine supplementation does not cause weight gain or bloating. The misconception stems from outdated bodybuilding practices that involved high doses of creatine with carbohydrates. This combination can increase cellular hydration, leading to a temporary increase in body weight. However, when taken in recommended doses, creatine does not cause long-term weight gain or bloating. Technically creatine can make the muscles bulk a little bit, as it holds more water in your muscle mass, but this will make you look more toned, not puffy and will dissapear within a week of stopping taking it if you don't like how it looks, but for most people it means firmer glutes and underarms, which isn't often a complaint. 

Kidney Damage

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that creatine supplementation causes kidney damage. Extensive research has shown that creatine is safe for consumption when used within recommended doses. There is some potential for people taking excessive doses for prolongued periods of time, but we're talking 50 grams a day or more, when you should be taking around 5 grams.

Hair Loss

There is no direct link between creatine supplementation and hair loss. Hair loss can be attributed to various factors, including genetics, hormones, and certain medical conditions. Creatine supplementation does not directly influence hair growth or loss.

Sleep Disruptions

Creatine supplementation does not typically cause sleep disruptions. However, some individuals may experience an increase in energy levels, which could potentially affect sleep patterns if taken too close to bedtime. It is recommended to take creatine earlier in the day either way, and this generally avoids that issue.

How Should Women Take Creatine

To maximize the benefits of creatine supplementation, it is recommended to follow a loading phase followed by a maintenance phase. During the loading phase, take a higher dose (around 20 grams per day) for the first 5-7 days to saturate your muscles with creatine. After the loading phase, switch to a maintenance dose of around 3-5 grams per day to maintain optimal creatine levels. You can always just take 3-5 grams a day from the start, but it will take longer to get into your system and to see the benefits.

Creatine can be easily mixed with water, juice, or added to protein shakes. You can also get creatine gummies or creatine capsules, but if you're getting gummies it's best to get the zero sugar ones, although there are plenty of these that taste good. It's also worth noting that creatine is best taken at the same time every day whether you're working out or not.

So, Should Women Take Creatine?

Yes, but creatine supplementation isn't just highly beneficial for women who engage in regular exercise. It has a load of cognative benefits too, increasing focus and mental clarity throughout the day as well as energy levels. It also makes your muscles larger, because they contain more water whilst you take creatine, giving you a more toned look. Not a puffy one like when water is retained in other parts of the body. Considering it has extra benefits around menopause and preventing bone and joint issues it's actually more useful for women than it is for men!

Popular Posts

Best Sleep Aids

Find out about the best natural sleep aids on the market.

learn more

Best Greens Powders

Not all greens powders are made equal. In fact a lot are pretty worthless, don't waste your money and get the best.

learn more

Best Joint Supplements

Looking for a joint supplement? Not sure what's actually good, we've got you covered.

learn more