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The best creatine supplements are third-party tested and easy for the body to absorb. We picked the best options to try in 2023, including creatine from Thorne, Optimum Nutrition, and Nutricost.

We refer to “women,” “men,” or both to align with how companies market their products, but there is no need to stick to one product type or the other. A person should choose whichever best suits their needs.

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Medical News Today’s methodology

MNT chooses creatine products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: They must contain safe, high quality ingredients with clear labeling. Brands should also confirm their products are free of pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses creatine products that clearly state the supplement dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT only selects creatine products from brands that recommend safe dosages.
  • Third-party testing: MNT features creatine supplements that have undergone third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.

MNT follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

The table below compares each of the creatine supplements in this article.

Price DosageIngredientsFlavorsCertifications
Thorne$405,000 milligrams (mg) per servingcreatine monohydrateunflavoredNSF certified for sport
Optimum
Nutrition Powder
around $475,000 mg per teaspooncreatine monohydrateunflavored no information
Evlution
Nutrition
around $195,000 mg per scoopcreatine monohydrateunflavoredmeets cGMP standards
Optimum
Nutrition
Capsules
around $772,500 mg per 2-capsule serving• creatine monohydrate
• gelatin
• magnesium stearate
unflavoredno information
RSP
Nutrition
around $295,000 mg per scoopcreatine monohydrateunflavoredno information
BPI Sportsaround $284,000 mg per scoop• creatine monohydrate
• other creatine sources
• betaine anhydrous
• Himalayan pink salt
• snow cone
• fruit punch
cGMP verified
Nutricostaround $215,000 mg per servingcreatine monohydrate• blue raspberry
• fruit punch
uses cGMP-compliant, FDA-registered facility

Creatine is a naturally occurring nonprotein amino acid compound produced in the liver and kidneys. It is present in animal protein sources. Those who do not consume meat or seafood may have lower levels of creatine in their bodies.

The body stores most of its creatine in skeletal muscle and uses it during exercise.

Creatine supplements increase muscle growth, and athletes and older adults may take these supplements to improve exercise performance and increase muscle mass.

Learn more about using creatine supplements.

The authors of a 2021 review state that there is less research on the effects of creatine supplements in females than in males. It also notes that females may be less likely to take creatine due to concerns about weight gain or other side effects, which research has found to be minimal.

However, creatine supplements may benefit women’s brain, menstrual, and mental health, and early research suggests that creatine supplementation is beneficial for females. We look at these potential benefits in detail below.

Improvements in exercise performance and strength

According to a 2021 literature review, creatine improves females’ strength, exercise capacity, and sports performance. People taking creatine will have higher stores of creatine in the muscles, which can reduce muscular fatigue, leading to improved performance. Additionally, as a non-protein amino acid, creatine can help form proteins to build muscle.

A person’s diet and current fitness level may affect how much difference they see from creatine supplementation.

Research suggests that in an omnivorous diet that provides 1–2 g of daily creatine, creatine stores in a person’s muscles are around 60–80% saturated. Those following a vegetarian diet will typically have less creatine in their body. However, they may see greater gains in muscular creatine if they supplement their diet with creatine.

Athletes and those with a more muscular physique may require more creatine — 5–10 g a day — to maintain optimal creatine stores.

Improvements in mood, mental health conditions, and memory

Older research suggests that females have lower creatine levels in the frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain that controls mood, emotion, memory, and cognition. Creatine supplementation can increase creatine levels in the brain, and some studies in a 2019 literature review showed that creatine may have antidepressant properties.

For instance, a 2017 study found that a 6 g dose of creatine led to significantly higher remission rates in people with bipolar depression. A later 2020 study suggests that an 8-week treatment of creatine supplements and antidepressant therapy can reduce the symptoms of major depressive disorder in female adolescents and adults.

While research suggests that a daily dose of 0.3 g creatine for 5–7 days or a daily dose of 5 g for 4 weeks effectively improves mood and cognition in females, it is unclear how or why creatine supplements may help depression.

One older 2011 study found that creatine supplementation in vegetarian people improved memory.

Supporting menstrual health and hormonal balance

Creatine levels can fluctuate in line with estrogen throughout a person’s menstrual cycle.

Creatine increases the production of estrogen in women, which is a key hormone in the menstrual cycle. Therefore, an increase in estrogen levels can help regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce symptoms of PMS, as well as improve overall hormonal balance.

Creatine may also help with postmenopausal bone mineral density, especially when combined with resistance training exercises.

Fertility and menstrual health

There is little research into creatine supplementation during pregnancy, but a 2021 literature review states that creatine may be an important element in fertilization.

Additionally, supplementation can improve blood flow to the uterus. This can help support the growth and shedding of the uterine lining, which is an essential part of the typical menstrual cycle.

There is little scientific consensus on the best way to use creatine supplements. People should always follow the dosing instructions companies recommend on their product’s label and consider discussing their creatine supplementation with a doctor.

According to a 2021 literature review, most people take creatine during the “loading phase.” This is typically 5–7 days, during which a person takes 20 g of creatine daily, saturating the creatine stores in the muscles. People can also take 3–5 g daily over 28 days for similar effects.

This literature review also reports that it may be more effective for people to take creatine supplements pre- and post-workout to increase creatine stores and muscle mass and strength gains.

Much older work referenced in this review suggests that consuming carbohydrates or carbohydrates and protein may increase creatine uptake. However, this study is over 25 years old.

People should always discuss trying new supplements with a doctor and stop using them if they experience side effects.

Creatine is generally considered safe at appropriate doses. However, it can cause weight gain as lean body mass.

2021 research suggests that creatine supplementation has a reputation for causing water retention, which may discourage people from using it. However, it clarifies that water retention is a side effect people mainly experience in the first few days of supplementation, and it may not continue long-term.

If side effects occur after taking creatine, a person should stop using the supplement and contact a doctor.

Learn more about the safety of creatine supplements.

Interactions

Creatine can interact with:

People should consider the following factors before purchasing a creatine supplement.

  • Ingredients: People who eat a plant-based diet or are allergic to specific ingredients can purchase “free-from” products, including vegan-friendly and gluten-free supplements with no allergens. While creatine occurs naturally in animal products, the supplementary version is synthetic. It uses cyanamide and sarcosine, which do not contain animal by-products. This makes all creatine supplements vegan-friendly. However, companies may add other ingredients to a creatine supplement that may result in a nonvegan or nonvegetarian product.
  • Form: Creatine supplements generally come in powder or capsule form. People may find creatine as a micronized powder. This dissolves rapidly in liquid and may be best for people who do not like different textures in drinks. Some brands also sell creatine chews. A person should consider which form they will find easiest to take and which can offer them the most accurate dose per serving.
  • Dose: Researchers consider 3 grams (g) of creatine monohydrate a safe, effective, long-term daily dosage. However, many products contain 5 g, which may increase a person’s muscle creatine quickly but have no significant impact on health markers.
  • Certifications: In the United States, all companies should manufacture their products according to Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. The FDA states that cGMP regulations ensure that companies identify the quality, strength, and purity of drug products, use quality raw materials, and establish robust quality management systems.
  • Third-party testing: Some companies carry out third-party testing, which involves using certifying bodies to check their products for added transparency. A person can review the product they intend to use with Informed Choice, NSF International, or Consumer Lab.
  • Price: Some supplement brands can be expensive. A person should consider the volume of their chosen product and how long it will last to ensure it will suit their budget and be cost-effective.

It is important to note that while the FDA reviews supplement ingredients for safety, it does not regulate them before sale. As such, people should only buy creatine supplements from brands that test their products and provide clear ingredient lists.

Anyone considering taking any dietary supplement should talk with a doctor or a qualified healthcare professional to ensure they have a dosage appropriate for their needs.

A person should seek medical advice before using any supplementary product if they are pregnant, nursing, or taking other medications.

People who do not wish to or cannot take creatine supplements can consume red meat and seafood to increase the body’s creatine amounts naturally.

They may also consider taking:

Below are answers to common questions about creatine for women.

What does creatine do for women?

Creatine can help women’s brain health, improve mood and muscle strength, and increase exercise capacity.

Should a female take creatine?

Creatine can help build muscle and sustain energy levels in females, just as it does in males. This is particularly beneficial if they have a regular exercise program.

Creatine supplementation can also improve cognition and mood in women.

Does creatine affect women’s hormones?

A 2021 review found that creatine supplementation was beneficial for women, particularly regarding estrogen. Through creatine supplementation, the subjects found their moods had improved without interfering with their hormones. However, further studies are needed.

Will creatine make me gain weight?

A 2021 study concluded that creatine supplements do not increase fat mass and do not always lead to water retention.

If a person takes creatine while exercising, it may lead to weight loss. For instance, a 2019 study found that the use of creatine supplements while resistance training led to a decrease in fat mass for participants.

How much creatine should a woman take a day to build muscle?

Research from 2021 suggests 3–5 g of creatine daily to build muscle. During the loading phase, females may take 20 g per day to see faster results. However, anyone considering high doses of creation should discuss this with a doctor.

Is creatine good for women to lose weight?

Research suggests that creatine may lead to weight loss in women when combined with resistance training. A 2019 study found that people who consumed creatine lost about a pound more fat than those who did not.

Creatine may help with muscle building, recovery, and performance. Additionally, some evidence suggests that creatine supplements can reduce symptoms associated with depression in females.

Individuals should consider different factors before purchasing creatine, such as formulation, ingredients, and certifications.

Whether a product undergoes third-party testing is also an important consideration, as the FDA does not approve supplements in the same way as prescription medications. A person should always discuss supplement use with a doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before use.