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Why Women Should Take Creatine

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

SUnveiling the Potential of Creatine for Women's Health

Middle Aged Woman Training

What Is Creatine?

Creatine, the naturally occurring compound found in our bodies, has long been used for its benefits in improving athletic performance. However, its impact on women, a demographic often overlooked in the world of sports supplements, is a topic that has generated increasing attention in recent years. Leading researchers in women's physiology, have contributed invaluable insights to this area of study, shinning a light on the effects of creatine on women. Before delving into these findings, let's first understand where creatine is stored in the body and how you can make it work best for you..


Creatine Storage in the Body:

Creatine is primarily stored in the muscles as creatine phosphate,(approximately 95% of the body's creatine is stored in skeletal muscle. additionally, small amounts of creatine are also found in the brain, and the testes in men) a compound that plays a crucial role in supplying energy for short bursts of intense physical activity. The body naturally synthesises creatine from amino acids, and it can also be obtained through diet, mainly from animal-based sources such as red meat and fish.


Benefits of Creatine for Menopausal Women:

Menopause can bring about hormonal changes that affect mood, energy levels, and muscle mass. Creatine has been shown to help balance hormones and counteract age-related declines in muscle strength and exercise performance. Women experiencing menopause can benefit from creatine supplementation, research has found the combination can really help with muscle, bone, and strength maintenance, it works by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as bone resorption, while increasing bone formation.


Enhancing Creatine Levels through Diet and Supplements:

To enhance creatine levels through diet; incorporating a diet of lean cuts of meat, fish, and poultry can be effective. However, for those looking to supplement their intake, creatine monohydrate is widely regarded as the best form. It's not only cost-effective but also extensively studied and considered safe for long-term use. When it comes to timing, the circadian cycle may have an impact on creatine uptake. Some research suggests that consuming creatine post-workout, when muscle cells are more receptive to nutrients, can optimise its benefits, whilst many adopt to use creatine as a pre-workout stimulant.


Five Popular Natural Creatine Sources [with averge Creatine amounts per 100g]

  1. Herring: 1.1 grams of creatine per 100 grams

  2. Beef: 0.9 grams of creatine per 100 grams

  3. Pork tenderloin: 0.7 grams of creatine per 100 grams

  4. Chicken breast: 0.4 grams of creatine per 100 grams

  5. Tuna: 0.4 grams of creatine per 100 grams


National Library of Medicine

It's interesting to note that there is limited research on the use of creatine among females. However, in what research exists it has been found that females tend to have significantly lower levels of endogenous creatine stores compared to males. This means that understanding creatine metabolism in females, especially pre- and post-menopause, can have important implications for performance and health. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that creatine supplementation could be particularly important during menses, pregnancy, post-partum, during and post-menopause.


Recent studies, for The American Journal of Psychiatry suggest that creatine augmentation of SSRI treatment may offer a promising therapeutic approach for women with major depressive disorder.

Among pre-menopausal females, creatine supplementation has been shown to improve strength and exercise performance. Post-menopausal females may also see benefits in skeletal muscle size and function when consuming high doses of creatine. Additionally, there is evidence that creatine supplementation can have positive effects on mood and cognition, possibly by restoring brain energy levels and homeostasis. Overall, it's clear that creatine can be an effective supplement for females across the lifespan, with dosing strategies varying depending on the individual's needs and goals.


Creatine as an Adjunctive Therapy for Depression in Women:

Recent studies, such as the one by Kyoon Lyoo, M.D., Ph.D., and Sujung Yoon, M.D., Ph.D., for The American Journal of Psychiatry have suggested that creatine augmentation of SSRI treatment (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors; SSRIs are a widely used type of antidepressant medication) may offer a promising therapeutic approach for women with major depressive disorder. This combination yields more rapid and productive responses, providing hope for individuals grappling with mental health issues. The potential synergy between creatine and antidepressants emphasises its multifaceted role in women's health.


Creatine and The Vegan Diet

'Creatine is a naturally occurring compound' primarily found in animal products, making it notably absent from a vegan diet. The lack of creatine in a vegan diet can [in some cases] have potential long-term effects on individuals who do not address this nutritional gap. Creatine deprivation can lead to decreased exercise performance, fatigue, and reduced muscle mass, making it an important element for those engaged in regular physical activity.


To balance this deficiency, many vegans turn to creatine supplements, which are widely available and can provide the necessary daily intake. Alternatively, increasing creatine-rich plant-based foods in your diet can also help. Foods like spinach, beets, and quinoa contain small trace element amounts of creatine.


Additionally, some vegan creatine supplements are derived from fermented sources like microorganisms or synthesised in laboratories, offering a plant-based alternative. By incorporating such supplements or plant-based creatine sources into their diets, vegans can ensure they meet their creatine requirements and continue to perform optimally in physical activities while reaping the associated health benefits.




 

Five Popular types of Creatine Supplements

1. Creatine Monohydrate: The quintessential, most favoured by athletes and bodybuilders for its ability to rapidly replenish adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stores.

2. Creatine HCl (hydrochloride); offers a unique twist on traditional monohydrate. It boasts better solubility and absorption, making it an appealing option for those prone to digestive discomfort or bloating.

3. Tri-Creatine Malate; takes creatine supplementation a step further by binding creatine with malic acid, an intermediate in the citric acid cycle. Offering better energy delivery to muscles during high-intensity workouts.

4. Blend 3-Forms creatine; combines various creatine forms, often including monohydrate, HCl, and others, to harness the benefits of each. This blend provides a comprehensive solution for muscle growth, strength, and endurance through a diverse range of molecules

5. Liquid creatine, conversely, provides a convenient and easily consumed alternative. Typically mixed with water or a beverage, it bypasses the need for capsules or powders, but can have stability issues and may not be as effective as other forms due to potential degradation over time.

 

The National Library of Medicine Research:

Creatine supplements have beneficial effects for people suffering from Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), a widespread chronic neurological disease with no definite etiological factor(s),

A study in Arthritis Care & Research suggested that creatine supplements improve muscle functional capacity in people with fibromyalgia, which helps people do more without suffering the negative consequences that often follow exertion.

In 2017, a BMC Neurology article reported that creatine was one of three metabolic substances dysregulated in fibromyalgia.

 

Navigating Creatine Use:

While creatine offers promising benefits, it is essential to approach its use with caution. A safe length of time for creatine supplementation varies from individual to individual. Consulting with a personal trainer, fitness coach, or healthcare professional is crucial before incorporating creatine into your routine. It is not only an opportunity to tailor the supplementation to your specific needs but also to ensure that it aligns with your overall health goals.


Final Take From Tony

I remember one particular workout where I pushed myself to the limit doing Air Bike Based Interval Training as part of a 3-stage workout. This same workout before Creatine would leave me feeling like I couldn't catch my breath and I was struggling to recover between each set [with smart device data that supported this]. Creatine helped my body to meet energy demands and recover faster, more so during intense workouts. The key to understanding creatine is knowing about ATP - Adenosine Triphosphate - the bodies energy storage vault. When you exercise at high intensities, ATP breaks down into other compounds to release energy for short bursts. Creatine helps to buffer ATP energy production so that you can keep going strong during a tough cardio session, strength training, or any other physical activity that demands a lot of energy.


the exploration of creatine's effects on women, spearheaded by professional medical research teams, is a flourishing field that holds promise for improved health and well-being. Creatine's potential to enhance athletic performance, balance hormones during menopause, and even aid in the management of depression underscores its versatility. However, it is paramount that women (men too for that matter) seek guidance from knowledgeable professionals and conduct thorough research before incorporating creatine into their regimen. By doing so, women can harness the benefits of creatine while safeguarding their health and vitality.


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If you would like more information on health and wellbeing support, creatine and how to start building a new healthy lifestyle training plan. I'm really interested in hearing from you - Get in touch through this contact link stating your interest. Thank you.

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