“Is creatine only a ‘guy thing’? Could it be equally beneficial for women?”
If these questions have ever crossed your mind, you’re not alone.
The story of dietary supplements, particularly creatine, has largely been from a male perspective. But its benefits for women are not fully researched and understood. But it’s for strong, powerful women like you, too, with metabolic, hormonal, and neurological benefits.
In this empowering blog post, we’re putting creatine for women in the spotlight. So, buckle up and join us on this enlightening journey because the story of creatine isn’t just for men.
Latest Research on Creatine for Women
The world of scientific research never stops evolving, and our understanding of the benefits of creatine for women is no different.
Muscle Strength And Body Composition in Women
Creatine supplementation can improve strength and power in women without affecting body weight or fat-free mass. It increases energy stores in muscles for better training and recovery.
A study suggests that with a 10-week resistance training program, creatine supplementation increased muscle strength and mass in untrained women without significantly affecting body weight or fat percentage.
Studies have also shown that taking creatine may increase strength performance in trained females.
Besides, another study found that short-term creatine supplementation may boost muscular power in women. Moreover, one study found that creatine supplementation significantly increased leg power without changing body weight or muscle volume.
A study showed that women who took creatine supplements for 5 weeks while doing resistance training had increased muscle strength and improved body composition.
However, not all research confirms creatine supplementation as beneficial to strength performance when combined with training alone.
Exercise Performance In Women
Creatine can improve exercise performance, especially for women’s high-intensity, short-duration activities, by increasing muscle energy storage and preventing fatigue.
Studies suggest that females with varying training and fitness levels may experience improvements in both anaerobic and aerobic exercise performance from both short-term and long-term creatine supplementation.
Research shows that creatine supplementation can improve anaerobic capacity and sprint performance in women and potentially enhance recovery after exercise. Research also indicates it might benefit endurance exercises by reducing oxygen consumption.
However, its impact on high-intensity interval training outcomes and actual sports competition records is less consistent. And more research is needed to understand its effects fully.
Cognitive Function in Women
During high mental stress, the brain needs more energy, and creatine can help supply this by supporting the production of energy molecules, ATP. It can improve brain functions like thinking, attention, and memory, particularly when the body is under stress or lacking in creatine.
A study suggested that creatine supplementation could improve cognitive processing in females, especially those sleep-deprived.
Women, who tend to multitask more, often experience sleep deprivation (due to pregnancy, new motherhood, menopause, etc.). Their creatine levels may fluctuate throughout their menstrual cycle. Creatine supplementation might help women maintain sleep quality during these challenging times.
Learn more about creatine and the sleep cycle.
Bone Health in Women
One groundbreaking area of research is the impact of creatine on bone health, especially in postmenopausal women. A study found that long-term creatine supplementation and resistance training improved bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. It shows the promising potential of creatine in contributing to women’s bone health as they age.
As science continues to uncover the benefits of creatine for women, it’s clear that this supplement has potential benefits beyond the gym.
However, while these studies show promise, consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen is essential.
Mental Health In Women
Depression is more common in women and seems linked to hormones and the brain’s response. Creatine, a compound involved in energy production, can affect mood-regulating chemicals in the brain and may help manage depression.
In a study of adolescent girls, an eight-week course of creatine reduced depression symptoms by 56%. Similarly, adult women taking creatine for eight weeks had significantly improved depression scores.
Besides, research has shown a clear correlation between low creatine intake and an increased risk of depression. Boosting brain creatine levels through diet or supplements can improve mood and combat depression, especially for women during hormonal changes.
Moreover, females generally have lower brain creatine levels, especially in the frontal lobe that controls mood and emotions. So creatine supplementation may be more beneficial for females.
Hormonal Balance In Women
Creatine kinase levels, which play a role in energy production, vary throughout a woman’s life. They tend to be higher during menstruation and decrease with age and pregnancy.
Research suggests a connection between creatine kinase levels and estrogen, with the highest estrogen levels (during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle) potentially reducing muscle damage.
Besides, during the luteal phase, your body show increased protein breakdown and reduced carbohydrate storage.
It implies that creatine, which aids in muscle protein and carbohydrate regulation, might be especially beneficial now. However, more research is needed to fully understand these processes and their effects on women’s health and fitness.
Check out creatine’s impact on hormones.
Overall Health In Post-Menopausal Women
Menopause leads to decreased estrogen, a significant factor in losing muscle, bone mass, and strength with age.
Besides, high-dose, short-term creatine supplementation has been found to increase muscle mass and strength and improve specific physical performances like standing seated.
In short, creatine can benefit post-menopausal women, helping combat the physical declines associated with reduced estrogen levels.
Creatine During Pregnancy
The body uses more creatine during pregnancy because of the baby’s growth and development, especially the placenta. It could lead to lower creatine levels, possibly associated with low birth weight and pre-term birth.
Animal studies suggest that taking creatine supplements during pregnancy may increase creatine in the baby’s brain cells and support the healthy functioning of their cells’ powerhouses, the mitochondria. It may help to reduce brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen during birth.
Creatine supplements could be a safe and inexpensive way to lower the risk of complications during and after birth related to energy depletion in cells.
However, further studies are needed on creatine and pregnancy.
Myths and Facts about Creatine in Women
Many myths and misconceptions prevent women from considering the potential benefits of using creatine. However, with the latest scientific evidence, we can debunk these myths and reveal the truth about creatine for women.
Myth 1: Creatine Is Only Beneficial For Men
For centuries, people have believed that creatine is only for male athletes providing strength and energy.
However, numerous studies show that creatine can provide significant benefits for women. According to studies, creatine supplementation can increase high-intensity exercise performance and may enhance cognitive function, which benefits both men and women.
Myth 2: Creatine Will Make Women Look ‘Bulky’
Creatine helps to increase strength and muscle endurance, but it won’t make you ‘bulky’ unless you pair it with specific, heavy resistance training to build muscle mass. The ‘bulky’ look often comes from increased muscle mass and body fat, not creatine supplementation alone.
The Dosage And Method Of Taking Creatine For Women
There are two main strategies for taking creatine supplements, both of which result in similar increases in the creatine levels in your muscles.
One way is a “loading phase,” which quickly raises creatine levels over five days. It can lead to a 19% increase in muscle creatine for women, similar to the effect seen in men.
Alternatively, you can take a daily dose of 5 grams, but this takes longer (about 3-4 weeks) to reach the same increase in muscle creatine.
After you stop taking the supplement, the creatine levels in your muscles stay high for about 30 days. So, women can use the same dosage strategy as men, but the response may vary.
If you want to get the most out of your creatine supplement, pair it with some carbs and protein. It can help your muscles absorb creatine more effectively!
However, women who burn fewer calories than men might not need the extra calories from these nutrients. A possible solution is to take creatine with your usual meal or add it to a protein shake.
Besides, a loading phase followed by a consistent daily dose is suggested to increase creatine levels in the brain.
Potential Side Effects
Generally, creatine is well-tolerated in healthy individuals when used at recommended dosages. Nevertheless, potential side effects, usually minor, can occur. These may include-
Some people also report water retention, particularly during the initial loading phase.
Some people have been worried that taking creatine supplements could harm their kidneys, but don’t worry – research has shown that this isn’t the case for healthy individuals. So there’s no need to be concerned about that!
However, if you have pre-existing kidney disease or renal dysfunction, you should avoid creatine supplementation, as the kidneys are responsible for its excretion.
If you’re still concerned about creatine for women, well, creatine supplementation can benefit women in several ways, from boosting muscle strength to enhancing mood and cognition. But always consult a professional before starting a new supplement.
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I am a health and wellness enthusiast working in a Pittsburgh-based wellness clinic. My primary role as a consultant is to tailor a balanced lifestyle for my patients, where positive steps and potent supplements play a synergistic role.