If you are into weightlifting, bodybuilding, participating in competitive sports, take your workouts seriously, or you are just an average person who spends a lot of time in the gym, you’ve more than likely heard of creatine.
Creatine is a substance that is naturally produced by your body and stored in your muscles. It can also be found as a dietary supplement, usually in powder form- but may also come in capsule or liquid.
According to the experts, creatine has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength, which helps athletes compete harder and longer. This is a popular supplement but finding the best one can be confusing. There are so many options on the market, and they all claim that they are the best. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at creatine, the benefits and potential side effects, and how to take it. Then, we’ll take a look at what we believe are the top 5 best creatine supplements for women.
What is Creatine?
First things first, let’s look at what creatine is. Basically, it is a compound that supplies energy to your muscles. As mentioned, your body produces it naturally in your kidneys, pancreas, and liver. It is a tripeptide, made of three amino acids: arginine, methionine, and glycine. Additionally, creatine can be found in dietary sources as well, including red meat, chicken, and seafood.
No matter where the creatine comes from, once it enters your bloodstream, it goes straight to your muscles. At that point, it’s converted into phosphocreatine. The cells in your muscles then break it down to produce ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. This is what is used by your cells to provide energy.
When you engage in an intense workout, your muscles contain all of the stored ATP, which is what causes fatigue. However, creatine supplementation provides your body with more stored ATP, which means you have longer to workout before you start to feel fatigued.
What are the Benefits Associated with Creatine?
There has been extensive research dedicated to creatine. There have been many benefits discovered, including the following:
- Increased muscle mass
- Improved strength
- Increased energy for activities such as HIIT, sprinting, weightlifting, and other high-intensity sports/activities
- Faster, more effective post-workout recovery
- Increased endurance, though there is some debate surrounding this
Additionally, there is some indication (though inconclusive) that creatine can help with several health conditions, including:
- Reducing arthritis pain/stiffness
- Reducing symptoms of Parkinson’s
- Improved brain function in patients with brain injury, stroke, and Alzheimer’s
- Reducing blood sugar in patients with diabetes
- Improved memory/cognitive functioning
- Increased energy in conditions where fatigue is a common symptom
- Improved skin condition/reduction in wrinkles when applied as a topical
Top 5 Best Creatine for Women Reviews
As we mentioned, there are lots of options on the market when it comes to creatine supplements. There are powders, capsules, and liquids. It can be hard to choose the best one. One thing is clear, liquids are usually not the best idea because once in liquid form, creatine tends to be unstable, which means by the time you get to it, there may not be any benefits left. Below, we’re going to review the top 5 best creatine for women. We hope that this can give you some guidance.
Lift by XWERKS
Lift by XWERKS is everything you could ever hope for in a creatine supplement. This company is well-known in the fitness industry for producing quality supplements to support health and fitness. Their creatine formula does not disappoint.
Lift is 100% pure micronized creatine monohydrate. After all, research indicates that creatine monohydrate is the best type of creatine. XWERKS did not want to try to reinvent the wheel or bring something new and different to the market. They wanted to use something that is backed by science.
Each serving provides users with a high dose of 5 grams of creatine monohydrate. You can combine this with your pre-workout drink, shake, smoothie, or anything else you use while working out.
Lift by XWERKS costs around $39 per package. Each package contains 80 servings, making this one of the best deals on the list.
CRN-5 Creatine by CrazyBulk
CRN-5 Creatine by CrazyBulk promises to provide users with the ability to perform at a much more extreme workout with a lower price point. In addition to their creatine formula, CrazyBulk also offers a variety of other supplements targeted at bulking, cutting, and strengthening. While most creatine supplements only contain one type of creatine, CRN-5 actually combines 5 different kinds of creatine. This ensures that you get the most from your workouts. CRN-5 includes the following:
- Creatine HCL
- Creatine citrate pyruvate
- Creatine monohydrate
- Tri-creatine malate
- Creatine ethyl ester
According to the experts, you should be consuming a lot of water if you are supplementing with creatine. In order to improve hydration, CrazyBulk has also included electrolytes, including magnesium, sodium, and potassium. These will help your body to recover following an intense workout.
CRN-5 by CrazyBulk is $29.99 for 30 servings. As one of the leading brands in the bodybuilding supplement industry, CRN-5 definitely gives you a big bang for your buck.
COR-Performance Creatine Monohydrate by Cellucor
Cellucor is another brand that is well-known in the fitness industry. Creatine Monohydrate by Cellucor promises to significantly boost your athletic performance. This supplement will cost you $24.99 for 72 servings. This is a great value.
For best results, COR-Performance Creatine Monohydrate should be taken daily. Since creatine is known to build muscle and increase overall strength, it is one of the more popular supplements on the market.
Like many of the other reputable brands on the market, Cellucor has micronized their creatine monohydrate to improve digestion and absorption.
SPORT Maintain by Performance Lab
According to their website, SPORT Maintain by Performance Lab will refuel your muscles with the nutrients they need and assist with long-term growth. Just like the other creatine supplements on our list, taking SPORT Maintain on a daily basis will help increase your endurance, strength, and power.
While creatine powder is usually the more popular choice, SPORT Maintain is in capsule form. According to the company, you can take 6 to 10 capsules per day, as long as you are physically active.
Each 6 capsule serving contains 3,000 milligrams of creatine. This is lower than the 5,000 milligrams that is in the powdered creatine supplements listed here. However, many people prefer the convenience of the capsules.
In order to make up for the lower dosage of creatine, SPORT Maintain contains 1,600 milligrams of beta-alanine in each serving.
SPORT Maintain by Performance Lab is one of the best options on the market today, which is why it is on our list. It is a bit more expensive than the others, at $34 for up to 10 doses (60 capsules).
Creatine by Elm & Rye
Elm & Rye is a high-end bodybuilding supplement company that has carved out a place for themselves in the fitness industry. Each dose of their creatine promises to enhance muscle growth, improve performance, and reduce tiredness during HIIT workouts.
Since this is a capsule form instead of a powder, it is unique. Each capsule contains 1,400 milligrams of creatine. They are easy to swallow and can be used on-the-go because you don’t need anything to mix them with. All you need is some water to wash them down.
Potential Side Effects of Using Creatine
Overall, creatine has a strong safety profile. However, there are a few side potential side effects associated with creatine use, especially if you are taking larger doses than recommended. We will take a look at some of those below:
Creatine loading can cause weight gain due to an increase in water intake in your muscles and an increase in muscle mass. While this is not harmful, the increase in body weight may result in bloating.
One study looked at participants who took creatine supplements for 28 days, including a loading phase. On average, the body weights of the participants increased by 2.9 pounds. This increase was due to water retention and muscle growth.
Of course, it’s important to note that not everyone will experience bloating with creatine supplementation. However, you can reduce the risk by skipping the loading phase and going straight to the maintenance phase of 3 to 5 grams per day.
Another potential side effect of taking more creatine than recommended is stomach discomfort.
One study looked at two groups of athletes. One group took 10 grams of creatine in one single serving and the other group took a dose of 2 to 5 grams. The group that took the 10 grams experienced stomach upset, belching, and diarrhea. The group that only took 2 to 5 grams at a time did not have those effects.
That being said, if you decide that you want to follow the protocol for the loading phase, you can avoid these effects by taking 20 to 25 grams of creatine per day, split into 4 to 5 equal doses.
Taking too much creatine is pointless
It’s important to note that there really is no reason to take more than the recommended dosage. It can cause bloating and stomach discomfort. It really doesn’t provide any additional benefits. Basically, you are wasting your money.
Experts recommend that once your muscles are fully saturated, you should take 3 to 5 grams of creatine per day to maintain optimal creatine levels in your muscles. If you take more than this, the excess will convert into creatinine, which will be excreted through your urine because your body is only capable of holding on to so much.
How Should You Use Creatine?
When you start shopping for a creatine supplement, you will find that there are several different forms, including capsules, liquids, and powders. Most people find the powdered version the most affordable- however, capsules are usually the easiest and most convenient to take.
When it comes to creatine supplementation, there are two basic ways to do it: rapid loading or slow loading. We’ll explain these below:
In this method, users take a larger dose of creatine for 5 to 7 days. The most common dosage is 20 grams, spread out into 4 doses of 5 grams each. Then, for 1 to 2 weeks, users take a lower dose of 5 to 10 grams per day. Finally, users stop using it all together for 1 to 2 weeks. This causes a rapid improvement in performance and increase in muscle mass.
In this method, users simply take 5 to 10 grams each day. At the end of the month, benefits are comparable to those that used the rapid loading method.
Experts are divided on which method is better. Since the results are basically the same, slow loading will allow you to save money. Of course, if you are preparing for a competition, you might want to try the rapid loading method.
FAQs about Best Creatine for Women
Often, when it comes to dietary supplements, there are lots of questions. Creatine is no different. Though it’s one of the most widely researched supplements on the market, there are still lots of questions that arise. We’ll explore some of the most frequently asked questions below.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a substance that is naturally created in your pancreas, liver, and kidneys, and is used by your muscles, including your brain. Creatine converts into phosphocreatine, which creates ATP. Your muscles use the ATP for energy during workouts, which stimulates growth of muscle tissue.
Creatine is also used by the brain and some research shows that creatine supplementation during stressful times may provide some benefits for your brain.
What does creatine do?
Creatine is used by your muscles to create a lot of power in a short amount of time. When you use creatine supplementation over several weeks or months along with resistance training, muscle mass and strength are increased. You will find that results from creatine supplementation are much greater with the resistance training than without.
One of the most common reasons people use creatine supplementation is that it is able to synthesize new muscle tissue over the long-term. That being said, even if you only have goals based on short-term anaerobic performance, creatine can help.
Many people are under the assumption that you need to be an elite athlete to benefit from taking creatine. However, this isn’t true. Creatine supplementation can be helpful for anyone. In fact, there are some studies that indicate it can increase muscle mass in older adults- especially in conjunction with resistance training.
Can creatine be bad for you?
Many people are concerned that creatine may have some detrimental side effects, but the truth is, creatine is actually the closest you can get to perfection in the world of dietary supplements. There are plenty of studies that have proven the efficacy and safety of creatine supplementation.
Creatine supplementation has proven effective in a variety of populations without adverse reactions. This is proven by taking regular blood samples to determine if there is any liver or kidney damage. At this time, there have been no indications that toxic events may occur with long-term use.
That being said, at this time, experts do not recommend creatine for children under the age of 18. This is mainly due to the fact that there has not been any research on this population.
Should you take creatine?
Creatine has been proven safe and effective, but it’s not necessarily the best option for everyone. If you are primarily a runner or cyclist, creatine really won’t do much for you. The benefits of creatine are seen in things like sprinting and weightlifting.
Also, while creatine can also benefit brain health, this is limited to situations where you are under stress, such as recovering from a concussion, after sleep deprivation, and in high altitudes. If your goal is to improve cognitive functioning outside of these parameters, you may want to try other nootropics.
Can creatine harm your kidneys?
Over the years, there have been skeptics of creatine. These skeptics believe that long-term creatine use could cause damage to the kidneys. The assumption was that creatine would stimulate the creation of HCAs, which are toxic, and can cause kidney damage.
However, as mentioned, research shows that there is no indication that creatine causes kidney damage. Therefore, as long as you do not already have kidney problems, you should not have any problems with creatine supplementation.
If you do have kidney issues, you need to speak with a medical professional before using creatine. This is because at this time, there have been no studies on how creatine might affect you.
Are there any dangers associated with creatine?
Research indicates that there is little risk associated with creatine supplementation- even with long-term use. There are some reports of side effects such as cramping, bloating, or stomach upset. However, these are typically relieved by decreasing the dosage size.
Creatine does cause water retention- but this isn’t considered dangerous. The only potential issues are with those under the age of 18 and individuals with kidney issues.
Can bodybuilders use creatine supplementation?
Creatine is actually quite popular in the bodybuilding arena- especially when a bodybuilder wants to quickly increase their muscle mass. Most of the time, bodybuilders use loading/unloading methods when using creatine because the water retention can work against their goals.
When should you take creatine?
Most of the available research indicates that creatine needs to be taken several times a day- up to 5 times daily. However, three doses is sufficient to give you the benefits you need related to creatine supplementation.
What is meant by “loading”?
Loading is a strategy used to quickly build up creatine levels in your muscles and keep them there through the maintenance phase. According to the International Society of Sports Medicine, you should be taking 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight for 5 to 7 days. After that, you should drop to 5 to 7 grams.
Creatine is a substance that is naturally produced by your body. Creatine supplementation increases your ATP stores, which means you have more energy for longer workouts. Your endurance, energy, muscle mass, and more are increased. We hope that we have been able to explain more about creatine and the top 5 best creatine for women.
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