What Is the Best Creatine Monohydrate Supplement for Women in 2017?
One of the most well-researched workout supplements is creatine monohydrate. There are many myths around creatine. One is that it's seen primarily as a supplement for men.
This isn't true. Contrary to common belief, creatine doesn’t make women look fat or bulky. Creatine taken in the right amounts will actually improve a woman's figure. In this article, I'll explain what’s so great about creatine, and review the best creatine for women to try.
What is Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine is a amino acid produced naturally by the body (source). Your liver, kidneys, and pancreas all produce varying amounts of creatine, which works as a building block for proteins. You can also find creatine in foods such as meats, fish, and eggs.
Creatine supplements are popular among health and fitness crowd. The positive effects of creatine on exercise are well researched and documented. However, before you read any further, you should know that there are a few people who are wasting their time taking creatine.
A small percentage of people already have high amounts of creatine in the body. Others just can't absorb creatine due to genetics. These individuals don't see any boost if they take creatine, but nor do they experience any adverse side effects.
Luckily, the majority of the population can benefit from taking creatine supplements. Typically, people only consume one gram of creatine in their daily diet. Cooking also destroys a large amount of creatine naturally present in food.
The Benefits of Creatine
The American College of Sports Medicine completed an overview of creatine's effects and found significant increases in participants' athletic performance (source).
Creatine works primarily by increasing energy. It boosts your cells' performance by producing more ATP for cellular functions. This energy release gives you improved muscle strength and also provides benefits to the brain, bones, and liver.
Several studies show that creatine increases performance. A study that examined professional volleyball players found that creatine supplements increased their jumping height, but didn't show a corresponding increase in muscle fatigue (source).
In another study, creatine reduced oxidative damage after a workout. The participants took supplements daily for seven days. The results showed that creatine also aids muscle recovery (source).
Overall creatine boosts your energy to give you more strength and power. It helps muscles cells function more efficiently by increasing water retention, which increases the rate of your muscles' growth.
Type of Exercise
Creatine is most effective for short bursts of energy and power.
If your primary type of exercise is running, creatine won't be much help when it comes to endurance. One study found that although creatine didn't improve endurance, it improved performance in short-term exercise within an endurance sport (source).
Another reason to take creatine is for its long-term cumulative effects (source). Over time, scientists found that those who continued to take creatine had greater lean muscle mass, reduced fat mass, and more overall strength than those who didn't take the supplement.
So far, scientists in sports medicine haven't found any suitable creatine substitute that replicates these long-term effects.
Different Types of Creatine
You've probably noticed that this article is specifically about creatine monohydrate. There are multiple types of creatine on the market these days, and I'll go over some of the differences for you now.
Creatine Monohydrate, our focus today, is the oldest, most widely studied form of creatine. Most research studies you'll read have been done on creatine monohydrate. It's the variety of creatine naturally produced in the body and found in foods.
One downside associated with creatine monohydrate is water weight. Many users initially gain weight from water, which can make your muscles look soft instead of lean. However, there may be a few reasons behind this.
Cheap brands of creatine often include other ingredients, sometimes without the consumer's knowledge. Sometimes these ingredients remain in the product due to cheap manufacturing methods. Excess sodium is the most common source of water weight in this situation.
One study compared a group taking creatine monohydrate and a placebo group taking a sucrose supplement. They found that over time, the creatine group did increase their total body water (TBW), but also increased muscle creatine concentration and body mass (source).
The placebo group experienced only an increase in TBW, showing that creatine alone is not responsible for water weight. Unlike the placebo supplement, creatine helps increase muscle cells' water retention, which helps them function more effectively.
Any weight gain from water also tends to disappear over time and with a consistent workout.
Many fitness experts recommend creatine monohydrate over other types. It's the cheapest and provides the most direct benefit to your body.
Micronized creatine is very similar to the original creatine, but with smaller particles. Many manufacturers now cut creatine into smaller molecules to create a fine powder.
Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)
HCL is a newer form of creatine, which tries address the issue of water weight. Creatine HCL is less likely to cause water weight gain because it's better at dissolving in water.
However, high-quality creatine monohydrate doesn't produce significant water weight gain. Creatine HCL is a good supplement with many of the same benefits of creatine monohydrate but it can be costly.
Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE)
Like HCL, Creatine ethyl ester absorbs more quickly into the body. Some of the creatine you take is naturally destroyed during the digestion process before your body can absorb and make use of it. The more bioavailability a supplement has, the more your body can absorb.
Although CEE is becoming popular in some circles, research still can't provide much support. A study comparing creatine ethyl ester and creatine monohydrate found that CEE produced inferior results in all areas measured.
Creatine monohydrate consistently scored higher in increasing strength, power, muscle mass, and muscle creatine levels.
Companies have poured time and resources into the development of new strains of creatine. However, creatine monohydrate still holds its own against these "enhanced" versions.
Are There Any Dangers to Taking Creatine?
In a few cases, creatine has resulted in adverse effects. However, these side effects are entirely preventable.
Some people complain of stomach cramps after taking creatine. You can prevent cramps by making sure you drink enough water. Creatine increases the amount of water your muscles retain and make it easier for you to become dehydrated.
Diarrhea and nausea are more complaints associated with creatine use. However, in this case, dosage may be the problem. Taking too much creatine can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, so make sure you stick to the recommended dosage.
Now let's get to my picks for the best creatine for women. There are many products now marketed specifically toward women, however not all of these will give you the best results. Worse, some of these products are far overpriced!
I've selected creatine monohydrate supplements that work well for women, even if they aren't packaged in pink.
I've reviewed a lot of great, high-quality products today, but if I had to choose one, I'd go with Naked Creatine. They're my pick for best creatine for women because of their dedication to powerful, quality ingredients.
Naked Creatine uses 100 percent pure creatine monohydrate for maximum power. They're careful to keep out any artificial ingredients, and you can purchase this powder at a great price.
If you're looking for a creatine supplement to boost your game, try incorporating a little Naked Creatine into your workout mix.