Talk about creatine and the picture of a male bodybuilder comes to your mind. We don’t blame you, as the internet has given birth to that conception. Creatine, after all, is the best supplement out there to build lean muscle mass and gain strength.
- But is creatine only for men?
- Do women need to stay away from creatine?
- Does it make us bloated?
- What about weight gain?
Several questions spring up a woman’s mind when she hears the word “creatine.”
We understand your concerns- we are the fairer sex after all! And we have to maintain ourselves, right?
Also, nobody likes to put on weight when it’s so difficult to shed those few extra pounds!
Today, we will provide our take on creatine for women. We will cover all that is needed so that you can become an expert on the subject.
In the end, you will be able to decide whether you should take creatine.
What is Creatine
Creatine is an amino acid produced in our kidneys and livers. Most creatine in our bodies (around 95%) finds its way to our skeletal muscles, while 5% reaches our brain.
Our bodies use creatine to produce energy. Creatine turns into phosphocreatine and helps refuel ATP, our muscle’s energy currency. In short, creatine helps us produce more ATP, which gives our muscles more energy to do something, like lifting weights.
Our muscles burn more ATP than they can produce. And that’s exactly where creatine supplements come in! Creatine supplements can help us work hard and build lean muscles.
Benefits of Creatine for Women
Most of the research on creatine is on men. But we do have some research that suggests the same level of results for women.
Like men, women can gain lean muscle and enhance performance by taking creatine.
Let’s explore the effects of creatine on women in detail.
We have many studies to prove that creatine actually enhances strength in women.
A study of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven assessed the effects of creatine on physically active women during a 10-week resistance training program.
Some of the women received creatine while the others got a placebo. The creatine group received 20 grams of creatine per day during the loading phase of four days. Then they received 5 grams per day for the remainder of the study.
What did the researchers find?
The creatine group experienced a 20% to 25% increase in one-rep max (1 RM) strength for-
- Leg press
- Leg extension
- Back squat
Similar studies have also noted effective results of creatine for women. A 5-week study showed women taking creatine to experience significant gain in bench press strength.
Another long-term, 14-week study also noted an increase in the bench press and squat strength.
Leading journals like the Journal of Applied Physiology and Journal of Strength & Conditioning also found creatine to boost strength in women. And this comes without any weight gain!
Creatine increases the energy in your muscles. As a result, we have more power to do high-intensity short bursts of activities. Female athletes can take creatine to enhance performance on the field.
A study found creatine to improve sprint and agility performance in elite soccer players. It also decreased the recovery time for cyclists.
It’s no wonder creatine gives us energy as it helps our muscles produce more ATP.
Lean Muscle Growth
Creatine promotes the growth of lean muscle in women, as research suggests. We get more power by taking creatine and can work hard to develop lean muscles. Creatine also promotes muscle growth by facilitating the key biological pathways of muscle growth. It also aids in muscle protein synthesis, and actually builds muscles.
You can read “Secret Revealed: How Creatine Actually Helps You Grow Muscles and Increase Strength” for more information.
Improved Brain Functions
Creatine improves oxygen uptake in the brain resulting in mental clarity. We can take on challenging sports like dancing or complex boxing and stay focused for the whole time.
Our brains also use creatine for energy. So taking creatine supplements can provide more energy to our brain for handling mentally challenging tasks successfully. We are also less likely to face mental fatigue or clouding.
If you want a sharper brain and increased focus, creatine is the go-to supplement.
Advantages for Older Women
Women over 50 can have significant benefits from taking creatine supplements. It can help fight osteoporosis or low bone mineral density in aged women. Combined with strength training, creatine can actually increase bone mineral content.
Menopausal women taking creatine can also experience-
- Increased physical function
- Increase in lower limb lean mass
- Improved quality of life
It turns out that creatine can help older women support healthy bones and muscles.
That’s all for the benefits department. Creatine does help women gain strength, increase energy, and add lean muscle mass. But does it make us bloated?
Now, we are going to take on the myths around creatine and women one by one!
Creatine for Women: Busting the Myths
1. Creatine Will Make Me Bulky
No, creatine will not bulk you up or make you look like the Hulk! You may notice an initial change in weight, but that’s due to the growth in lean muscle mass. So the fear that creatine will make you appear like a bodybuilder is false!
Also, women have very low levels of testosterone, the hormone responsible for muscle growth. So adding muscles is difficult for women as it is. And creatine alone won’t make you bulky or gain weight.
Building muscles takes serious work, and creatine just acts like a catalyst.
2. Creatine Will Make Me Bloated
Women have to deal with bloating at certain times every month. So surely we don’t want any more bloating for god’s sake!
Here, women have an advantage over men. Studies show that creatine causes water retention mostly in men. Women may experience a bit of water retention, but only in the loading phase. Over time, the problem disappears by itself.
Also, water retention is only associated with creatine hydrochloride. We recommend taking creatine monohydrate, the safest and most effective forms of creatine. It doesn’t cause any water retention.
3. Creatine is Unsafe for Women
Creatine is one of the safest supplements to gain strength and power. Research has never found any adverse effects of creatine for both men and women. So the fear that creatine will damage your kidneys is baseless.
Women can take creatine without any fear. The best and most-studied form of creatine, creatine monohydrate, is the safest of all.
Most of the research on creatine is on creatine monohydrate. Also, all popular supplements use the monohydrate form.
You can read our creatine hydrochloride vs. creatine monohydrate comparison for more information.
Creatine for Pregnant Women
Is creatine safe for pregnant women?
We have limited research in this area to make any claims. But research does suggest creatine is safe in pregnancy.
Moreover, creatine can actually be beneficial for pregnant women.
In a study involving rats, creatine helped female rodents to have healthy and more active babies.
Creatine keeps the brain protected from oxidative stress. As a result, it can benefit fetuses that experience low oxygen levels in the womb or at the time of birth. Researchers also suspect creatine to offer neuroprotective benefits to a fetus.
Creatine appears to be safe for pregnant women.
Still, you should consult with your doctor before taking creatine in pregnancy.
Creatine for Women FAQ
Q: Which Form of Creatine is Best for Women?
As we already said, creatine monohydrate is the most recommended and used form of creatine. It’s safe for women, without adverse effects, and provides exemplary results.
It is also the most studied and used in all quality creatine supplements. We can also use it regularly for the long-term without any concern.
Q: How Much Creatine Should I Take?
If you are an athlete or want quick results-
- Start with 20 grams of creatine per day. Divide it into 4 servings of 5 grams each and consume for 7 days.
- After 7 days, switch to 3 – 5 grams creatine per day.
If you are okay with slow results-
- Take 3 to 5 grams creatine per day for the entire duration.
Q: When Should I Take Creatine?
The best time to take creatine depends on our fitness goals.
- If you want to build muscles, take creatine just before or after working out.
- If you want more power, take creatine before a workout.
Read “When is the Best Time To Take Creatine for the Best Result (And How to Take It)” for more details.
Creatine for Women Tips
Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your creatine supplements-
- Give at least 2 months to experience the results of creatine
- Take the consistent amount of creatine for the whole time
- Make sure you consume enough creatine to replenish your ATP
- It’s best to have your creatine with some simple carbohydrates
Creatine is safe for women and has the same results as men. We can get more strength and build lean muscles by taking a creatine supplement. Women can also experience improved brain functions and healthy muscles and bones.
We have also shown you how your fears about creatine are baseless. Creatine doesn’t make you bloated or increase your weight. It also appears safe for pregnant women. So if you are considering whether to take creatine, now is the time to decide. We have provided all the information you ever needed!