Found naturally in the body of males and females, creatine is an amino acid that is found in the body's muscles and brain. This article is going to talk specifically about the use of creatine for women. You’ve probably heard of some men that utilize creatine supplements to help build muscle, but women aren’t talked about a whole lot in this regard. Women also can use creatine to build up their muscle composition, but it also provides other benefits like increased energy and a boost in mood. As a female nutritionist and certified personal trainer, creatine is something that I have used and recommend to many female clients that I work with.
Creatine that is found in supplements comes in a few different forms. The most commonly used one is creatine monohydrate, because of its effectiveness and affordability. The other two options are creatine ethyl ester and creatine HCL. When used regularly, you can feel stronger and have more endurance for the workouts that you’re participating in. You may also look more cut and muscular. The goal is to like what you see when you stand in front of the mirror. But before you get started with taking a creatine supplement, there are some things that you need to understand in order to minimize the risk of side effects.
What Is Creatine for Women, and How Does It Work?
There are a few ways that creatine can boost female health and performance. Creatine is necessary within the body in order for your muscles to be strong and perform well. Most people don’t have a high amount of creatine in their body, which results in fatigue and weakness because of low ATP production. ATP, or adenosine triphosphate is an energy-carrying molecule that can be found in the cells of muscles.
By increasing your intake of creatine, you build it up in the body so you’re able to feel more energized for what is to come. By assisting with cell signaling, creatine can promote the repair and formation of muscle. By raising the anabolic hormone levels that are in the body, protein synthesis can occur to maintain and create lean muscle mass.
Creatine also benefits muscle by bringing in more water to these areas of the body. This is a big reason why it’s advised that you consume more water when you’re taking creatine. By swelling the muscles, they appear larger and more defined.
What Does Creatine Do for Women?
Male bodybuilders aren’t the only ones that can benefit from creatine supplementation. Women have started to use this type of product more and more as well to help them lose weight and build more muscle. While creatine isn’t able to help you burn fat directly, it fuels you so you can work harder to get the body that you want.
Creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester and magnesium creatine chelate all work well for the female body, especially for those who are already following a very intense physical workout. An uptake of oxygen also occurs in the brain, which can keep you focused and energized.
Is Creatine Safe?
Creatine is generally considered very safe as long as you’re following the directions provided by the manufacturer. It can be dangerous if you take it at too high of a dose, as it has the potential to cause kidney, heart or liver damage. Very high doses of creatine can also prevent the body from being able to make its own naturally if you were to stop taking your supplement at some point. If you're worried about the dose that you're taking, you should consult with a medical professional, nutritionist, dietician or personal trainer.
Does Creatine Cause Women to Gain Weight?
The answer to this question contains a few parts, and I always explain to my nutrition and fitness clients that the scale isn’t what you want to pay attention to when you’re taking creatine. Your actual weight may go up with the use of creatine, but this is because you’re retaining more water than you did before. Creatine doesn’t cause you to build up fat on the body, so that’s not something that you need to worry about. You may gain some weight, but you’ll likely be happy about how you look.
Can Creatine Make Females Bulky?
Creatine helps you develop more lean muscle on the body. Even by swelling your muscles a bit due to water retention, you still don’t look large or bulky. It’s really a very important part of looking and feeling strong and healthy.
The Benefits of Creatine for Women Who Work Out
If you’re a woman that works out regularly, then you know how beneficial your routine is for your physical and mental health. If you’re thinking about adding creatine to what you use and do each day, there are some benefits that you can expect to experience.
Could Improve Strength
Creatine has the potential to increase your production of ATP, so you feel like you have so much more energy than you did before. This increase in energy can really improve your endurance as well, so you can work out for longer periods of time. If you’re an athlete that is focused on speed, you should see an increase in this as well.
May Improve Focus
It’s important that you’re able to stay focused on your physical performance, but you may see your cognitive health benefit in a way that carries over into your regular life outside the gym as well. Many people see a boost in their memory function, attention and critical thinking skills when they’re using creatine.
Could Improve Energy
When your body has more ATP being produced, you won’t find that you have to drag yourself through your workouts. Rather, you’ll be motivated to get started and complete your routine. You should feel less fatigue afterwards as well, which helps with recovery. You’ll find it’s easier to get back to the gym the next day.
This is a much healthier option for boosting your energy levels than using a stimulant like caffeine. It aids in the production of energy in the body, but you don’t experience any kind of jitters, energy crashes or trouble getting to sleep at night.
May Help Optimize Your Health
As a female, it’s a priority to optimize your health so that you feel your best as you get older. Creatine can promote a healthy brain, keep your immune system strong while also supporting the normal bodily functions that are being performed day in and day out.
I know that I personally love the effects that working out has on my whole-body health. Being able to really focus and hone in on those workouts has transformed my life. I have seen a dramatic shift away from mood swings and anxiety. My energy is consistent throughout the day, whereas I used to experience a huge drop in energy in the middle of the afternoon that would crush my productivity. I’ve seen similar shifts in my clients as well, and they’ve told me how great their creatine supplement is.
The Benefits of Creatine for Women Over 50
Creatine is well known for being able to promote an increase in muscle mass while also speeding up muscle growth. This may seem like it’s something that would benefit younger adults that are very active, but it’s also important to women over the age of 50. At this age, there is a risk of sarcopenia, which is an age-related decrease in muscle mass as well as bone mass and physical performance. Unfortunately, this is something that happens to most adults as they age, but you can fight back and turn back the hands of time with the use of a creatine supplement. You’ll feel much younger, and you’ll be able to continue participating in those activities that you love so much, regardless of what your age is.
Are There Benefits of Creatine for Women Who Don’t Work Out?
Exercising / working out is incredibly important for regulating your digestion, promoting a sense of well being and keeping your cognitive health on point (among many other things). Taking a high quality creatine supplement can help boost your workouts, but there are benefits that exist from using this type of supplement even if you’re not someone who is avidly exercising. Just having a boost of energy during the day is something most of us can benefit from whether we’re at work or at home. An improvement in brain function can make it easier to get through the tasks that we need to accomplish. Also, creatine is considered a powerful antioxidant. It can help protect against common signs of aging.
Which Type of Creatine is the Best for Women?
I’ve mentioned that there are a few different types of creatine that are used in supplements, but let’s break them down a little bit so that you understand the benefits and purpose of each.
If you want to utilize the most basic and effective form of creatine, then creatine monohydrate is the way to go. This is a micronized creatine that is quite easy to mix in with water or another liquid of your choosing. It doesn’t result in any lumps, and it’s very easy to consume. It’s also highly bioavailable, so your body reaps all the benefits of your creatine consumption.
Safety and Dosage: How Much Creatine Should a Woman Take?
It’s recommended that your average, physically fit female consumes somewhere between three to five grams of creatine per day. You may have heard about creatine loading, which is a period of time when you first start taking creatine and need to consume large amounts of this. The purpose of creatine loading is to start to build up a reserve of creatine in the body, and then you can switch over to more of a maintenance schedule where lower amounts will be effective.
If you don’t want to participate in creatine loading, that’s perfectly fine. What you need to be aware of is that it might take a little bit more time to see the full benefits of your creatine supplement as it will take longer for your levels to increase in the body. If you skip loading, you can expect to see results in about four weeks or so.
You’ll want to take at least 0.1 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight each day. It should be consumed along with a meal that is high in carbohydrates in order to see the best results in muscle content.
How Much is Too Much?
You need to be careful about the amount of creatine that you’re taking daily. It’s important that you take it consistently in order to build up your reserves, but too much can cause organ damage. If you’re worried about consuming too much, make sure you’re not going above 25 grams per day. Amounts larger than this can result in side effects such as bloating, nausea and GI upset.
While creatine use isn’t banned in pregnancy, it’s important that you speak with your doctor about a potential dose that is safe for you and your baby.
When to Take a Creatine Supplement
The best time to take a creatine supplement is right before you’re going to workout or right after. It’s included in a lot of pre- and post-workout supplements for this reason. If you take it too far before or after, it doesn’t usually provide the same beneficial results. Be sure to choose fitness supplement brands that specialize in these types of products.
Can You Get Creatine From Certain Foods?
Smaller amounts of creatine can be found in foods such as red meat, seafood and milk. If you’re someone that follows a typical diet that includes meat and animal products, you’re probably getting approximately two grams of creatine per day. If you’re a vegan, your numbers are likely much lower and you could be suffering from a creatine deficiency.
Side Effects of Creatine for Women
Even supplements that are generally very well tolerated will often have some side effects. Creatine causes issues if you’re taking too much of it, but there are some people that will experience symptoms as their body adjusts to the increase in creatine. These following side effects are more common in people who are creatine loading.
- Weight gain (remember, it’s generally water weight)
- Muscle cramping
- GI upset
- High blood pressure
- Liver issues
Conclusion: Are The Benefits of Creatine for Women Worth It?
This is a lot of information to take in, but it’s important to realize that creatine is actually a really beneficial supplement that females (and males) can benefit from. If you’re interested in making creatine part of your daily fitness routine, take some time to find a product that’s going to be beneficial and safe for regular consumption. I recommend that you look for things like:
Always make sure that you’re thinking about buying from a company that is honest and clear about what’s in their products. You should be able to view the website for a creatine supplement and quickly figure out what form of creatine is in the product, how much, where it’s sourced from and how to take it. Also look into testing that is used to confirm safety and purity.
A reputable brand should have positive reviews listed on their website. It’s beneficial to see how people in the real world benefited from using a specific creatine supplement, especially if you can find reviews from women like yourself.
No Artificial Anything
As a nutritionist and physical fitness trainer and enthusiast, I find it very important to focus on taking supplements and using products that don’t contain anything artificial or dangerous in them. Find a pure creatine supplement that is free of additives, preservatives, artificial colors / flavors, and artificial sweeteners.
Give it time
Give your creatine supplement enough time to work before you become frustrated and claim that it’s not effective. If you’re using it regularly for about a month or so, you should be seeing a shift in your workout performance. Being able to train harder than ever before can help you achieve all those goals that you’ve been struggling with.
A little bit of extra water retention is common early on, so give your body some time to adjust before you form an official opinion. Women commonly experience different points in their cycle where they will naturally retain more water than other times, so take that into account as well. Hormone fluctuations can also have an impact on energy levels, your workout routine and the ability to perform at a high level.