This post contains links through which we may earn a small commission should you make a purchase from a brand. This in no way affects our ability to objectively critique the products and brands we review.
Evidence Based Research To fulfill our commitment to bringing our audience accurate and insightful content, our expert writers and medical reviewers rely on carefully curated research. Read Our Editorial Policy
Despite extensive creatine usage amongst males and the bodybuilding crowd—which is notoriously lacking in the XX chromosome—evidence and recommendations for creatine use in females is understudied.
Ignoring the bro-focused packaging and masculine messaging, women can seriously benefit from creatine supplementation (no, it won’t make you bulky!), including metabolic, hormonal, and cognitive effects.
If you want to reap the rewards of building lean body mass—which goes far beyond simply looking good—check out our top five best creatine supplements for women, starting with our number one pick, Thorne Creatine Monohydrate.
Although there is just one ingredient in this supplement—creatine monohydrate—Thorne ensures it’s of top-quality with four rounds of testing to screen for contaminants and confirm its potency, stability, and purity.
Plus, this creatine supplement is NSF Certified for Sport, which verifies that their products do not contain unsafe levels of contaminants, prohibited substances, or masking agents.
Lastly, this creatine is completely flavorless, which is a bonus compared to the sour-salty flavor of some other amino acid powders.
Best Budget Value Creatine: NOW Sports Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
Pure with no additives
Micronized creatine can enhance absorption
No additional types of creatine or other nutrients
These capsules are also great for bringing with you when traveling or keeping at the office for that post-work gym sesh.
The dose of creatine (2.5mg per two-capsule serving) in this supplement may be on the lower side for some, but perfect for others who prefer a reduced amount of creatine—plus, being in capsule form makes it easier to double-dose if need be.
However, this creatine is already creeping up the more expensive side—especially if you double-dose with 5mg regularly.
Best Female-Founded Creatine: Alani Nu Creatine Monohydrate
Best for: Women wanting a combination formula of creatine and healthy pre-workout.
Although 4 Gauge contains significantly less creatine per serving (1g) than the others on this list, it makes up for it with science-backed ingredients designed to support you both pre- and post-workout.
In addition to creatine, 4 Gauge contains natural vasodilators like L-Citrulline-DL-Malate and red beetroot extract, coconut water powder to boost hydration, and a blend of caffeine, L-theanine, and Rhodiola to support a calm and balanced energy.
Plus, the addition of the amino acid derivative acetyl-L-carnitine is thought to prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and reduce post-workout fatigue.
Unlike many other pre-workout powders on the market, 4 Gauge doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners, ingredients, or dyes. Although it does have 150mg of caffeine—which may be excessive for some people—the addition of L-theanine can balance out any jitters and provide a calm, focused energy for your workout.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a molecule produced in the body from amino acids that plays an essential role in energy production.
Creatine turns into creatine phosphate in the body, which helps make energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Supplementing with creatine can create more creatine phosphate to replenish ATP stores in your muscles—meaning, you can exercise for longer and harder without fatiguing as quickly. However, taking creatine on its own is not a magic muscle-building bullet—you have to combine it with resistance training to support an increase in lean body mass.
What Does Creatine Do for Women?
Creatine supplementation has been shown to act as a possible countermeasure to the menopausal related decrease in muscle, bone, and strength….
Researchers from University of North Carolina, Creighton University, and University of Regina
Females may benefit even more from supplemental creatine than males, as women have been found to have lower endogenous creatine stores, consume significantly less dietary creatine, and have altered creatine metabolism during different menstrual cycle stages.
Supplemental creatine has shown muscular benefits in both pre- and post-menopausal women—a life stage commonly associated with declining lean body mass.
As researchers published in the journal Nutrients put it, “Creatine supplementation has been shown to act as a possible countermeasure to the menopausal related decrease in muscle, bone, and strength by reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and serum markers of bone resorption, while also resulting in a concomitant increase in osteoblast [bone-forming] cell activity.”
Plus, as it’s also found in the brain, creatine has been studied for its potential role in cognitive health, including reducing mental fatigue and possibly improving working memory in older adults.
What Are the Different Types of Creatine Supplements?
Creatine monohydrate is the most common supplemental form, containing a creatine molecule and a water molecule (hence the “monohydrate”).
Due to the extensive amount of research on it, creatine monohydrate is often considered the gold standard for creatine supplements.
Because of the water molecule added, creatine monohydrate is known to cause water retention, weight gain, bloating, or minor digestive issues during the beginning stages of taking it supplementally—especially in high doses. However, creatine-induced weight gain is more prevalent among males—one systematic review found that women who took creatine had no significant impact on weight gain or gastrointestinal-related events.
Creatine hydrochloride is gaining popularity because initial studies in the lab showed superior solubility and fewer digestive side effects compared to creatine monohydrate—but the research has not been replicated in humans.
Creatine magnesium chelate
Another form is creatine magnesium chelate, whichhas a magnesium molecule attached to the creatine molecule.
One study found that creatine magnesium chelate was similarly effective as creatine monohydrate in improving bench press strength and endurance—but we have limited data on this form.
Lastly, another recently popularized form is creatine alpha-ketoglutarate (creatine-AKG).
As AKG is a vital component of the energy-producing Krebs cycle, it’s thought that this form can help transport creatine into the mitochondria of muscle cells.
Again, this type has not been well-researched.
FAQs About Creatine for Women
What Type Of Creatine Should Women Take?
Women should likely take creatine monohydrate, as it is the most research-backed form of creatine.
Research has shown that women are less likely to be affected by creatine monohydrate’s side effects, including digestive distress or water retention.
Should Females Take Creatine?
Yes, females who resistance train and want help building muscle would likely benefit from taking creatine.
In addition to its benefits on muscle strength and exercise performance, creatine may benefit mood, mental clarity, and cognitive health.
How Much Creatine Should a Female Take?
It depends, but a general recommendation would be to take 3-5g of creatine per day.
If you experience digestive side effects, consider taking the lower dose (3g).
Taking more than 5g at a time would likely increase the risk of water retention and weight gain.
What Are the Side Effects of Creatine for Women?
“Creatine loading” can cause digestive side effects—this process involves taking higher doses of creatine (20-25g) for 5-7 days, then reducing to a maintenance phase (3-5g) for 3-4 weeks.
The primary side effects that creatine loading causes are nausea, bloating, or diarrhea—especially if creatine is taken without adequate water intake.
While creatine monohydrate is the form most linked to water retention and weight gain, research has found that women are less likely to be affected by adverse events than men.
However, doses of 20-25g are excessive for most women—even in the short term.
Is Creatine Good for Weight Loss in Women?
Creatine monohydrate may initially cause weight gain due to an increase in water retention.
These increases in weight gain and water retention are typically short-term, resolving a few weeks after the loading phase.
To avoid water retention, you can skip the loading phase and simply start with a maintenance dose of 3-5 grams of creatine per day.
However, some research shows that creatine-induced weight gain is more prevalent among males.
In the long term, creatine can help with weight loss, as it helps to support muscle growth and reduces fat mass in women.
Supplemental creatine can boost your body’s ability to replenish energy stores in the muscles, allowing you to train for longer and harder without tiring.
The main benefits of creatine for women are increased muscle mass, improved exercise performance and recovery, and increased power.
Some studies have found that creatine also benefits cognitive health, mood, and mental clarity.
Females should not be afraid of creatine or weight gain—research has actually shown that women are less likely to experience adverse effects from creatine.
Avgerinos KI, Spyrou N, Bougioukas KI, Kapogiannis D. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Exp Gerontol. 2018;108:166-173. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2018.04.013
Branch JD. Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003;13(2):198-226. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.13.2.198
de Guingand DL, Palmer KR, Snow RJ, Davies-Tuck ML, Ellery SJ. Risk of Adverse Outcomes in Females Taking Oral Creatine Monohydrate: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1780. Published 2020 Jun 15. doi:10.3390/nu12061780
Eckerson JM, Stout JR, Moore GA, Stone NJ, Nishimura K, Tamura K. Effect of two and five days of creatine loading on anaerobic working capacity in women. J Strength Cond Res. 2004;18(1):168-173. doi:10.1519/1533-4287(2004)018<0168:eotafd>2.0.co;2
Gufford BT, Sriraghavan K, Miller NJ, et al. Physicochemical characterization of creatine N-methylguanidinium salts. J Diet Suppl. 2010;7(3):240-252. doi:10.3109/19390211.2010.491507
Kendall KL, Smith AE, Graef JL, et al. Effects of four weeks of high-intensity interval training and creatine supplementation on critical power and anaerobic working capacity in college-aged men. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23(6):1663-1669. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b1fd1f
Santos RV, Bassit RA, Caperuto EC, Costa Rosa LF. The effect of creatine supplementation upon inflammatory and muscle soreness markers after a 30km race. Life Sci. 2004;75(16):1917-1924. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2003.11.036
Selsby JT, DiSilvestro RA, Devor ST. Mg2+-creatine chelate and a low-dose creatine supplementation regimen improve exercise performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2004;18(2):311-315. doi:10.1519/R-13072.1
Smith-Ryan AE, Cabre HE, Eckerson JM, Candow DG. Creatine Supplementation in Women’s Health: A Lifespan Perspective. Nutrients. 2021;13(3):877. Published 2021 Mar 8. doi:10.3390/nu13030877
Unfortunately, most lye-cured olives have been sapped of a sizable portion of their nutrients by the time they get anywhere near your table, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still reap the health benefits of this ancient fruit.
Food is for physical wellness, and pharmaceutical products are for mental health conditions—that’s where most of us land when it comes to nutrition psychiatry.
Nutrition is understandably not priority one in the chaotic moments immediately following a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but as soon as the patient is stable, nutrition therapy shares center stage with other key tenets of TBI rehabilitation.
Normally, we’re content to bounce around new and/or controversial theories on nutritional concepts all day, but every so often, we have the luxury of seeing in black and white.
This may seem like a fun-killing exercise at first, but we’re not interested in coddling or pandering to our readers, so let’s get the harsh reality out of the way: most of us haven’t earned the right to binge on vacation.