Despite extensive research on creatine, evidence for use among females is understudied. Creatine characteristics vary between males and females, with females exhibiting 70-80% lower endogenous creatine stores compared to males. Understanding creatine metabolism pre- and post-menopause yields important implications for creatine supplementation for performance and health among females. Due to the hormone-related changes to creatine kinetics and phosphocreatine resynthesis, supplementation may be particularly important during menses, pregnancy, post-partum, during and post-menopause. Creatine supplementation among pre-menopausal females appears to be effective for improving strength and exercise performance. Post-menopausal females may also experience benefits in skeletal muscle size and function when consuming high doses of creatine (0.3 g·kg-1·d-1); and favorable effects on bone when combined with resistance training. Pre-clinical and clinical evidence indicates positive effects from creatine supplementation on mood and cognition, possibly by restoring brain energy levels and homeostasis. Creatine supplementation may be even more effective for females by supporting a pro-energetic environment in the brain. The purpose of this review was to highlight the use of creatine in females across the lifespan with particular emphasis on performance, body composition, mood, and dosing strategies.
Keywords: cognition; dietary supplement; exercise performance; female; hormones; menopause; menstrual cycle; mood; pregnancy.