The creatine/phosphocreatine/creatine kinase circuit is instrumental in regulating high-energy phosphate metabolism, and the maintenance of cellular energy turnover. The mechanisms by which creatine is able to buffer and regulate cellular energy balance, maintain acid-base balance, and reduce the effects of oxidative stress have led to a large number of studies into the use of creatine supplementation in exercise performance and to treat diseases associated with cellular energy depletion. Some of these studies have identified sex-specific responses to creatine supplementation, as such; there is the perception, that females might be less receptive to the benefits of creatine supplementation and therapy, compared to males. This review will describe the differences in male and female physique and physiology that may account for such differences, and discuss the apparent endocrine modulation of creatine metabolism in females. Hormone-driven changes to endogenous creatine synthesis, creatine transport and creatine kinase expression suggest that significant changes in this cellular energy circuit occur during specific stages of a female's reproductive life, including pregnancy and menopause. Recent studies suggest that creatine supplementation may be highly beneficial for women under certain conditions, such as depression. A greater understanding of these pathways, and the consequences of alterations to creatine bioavailability in females are needed to ensure that creatine is used to full advantage as a dietary supplement to optimize and enhance health outcomes for women.
Keywords: Nutrition; Reproduction; Women's health.