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Creatine Has Surprising Benefits for Women Over 50: Better Balance, Sharper Memory + More

Health experts share what to look for when buying a creatine supplement

Many folks associate creatine with weight lifting or assume it’s only for gym-goers. This makes sense, since it’s a key ingredient in many post-workout powders and shakes. But creatine’s advantages extend far beyond the gym — especially for women over 50. From better balance to smoother skin, experts reveal how to harness the benefits of creatine for women, plus what to look for in a creatine supplement.

What is creatine?

Creatine is a naturally occurring substance produced by your body. It’s also found in certain foods, including red meat, seafood and dairy.

“[Creatine] is stored in our muscles and used as a quick source of energy during activities that require short bursts of power, like lifting weights and sprinting,” explains Raj Dasgupta, MD, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California and the Chief Medical Advisor for Sleep Advisor. “When you take creatine supplements, you’re adding more of this energy source to your muscles.”

Everyone makes creatine, but women produce about 30% less than men. Unfortunately, those stores decrease even further with age. That’s where creatine supplements come in.

A measuring cup with creatine powder in it, which is beneficial for women, against a pink background
Anna Efetova/Getty

5 benefits of creatine for women

Creatine typically comes in a powder format that easy to include in a smoothie, glass of juice or cup of tea. And working a bit of creatine into your daily diet is especially beneficial for women. Here’s why:

1. Creatine wards off falls

One in two women age 50 and older will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Thankfully, creatine supplementation may help. “Creatine can aid in maintaining muscle strength,” says Dr. Dasgupta. “It may [also] reduce the risk of falls and fractures as we age, as well as indirectly support bone health.”

Ongoing research backs this up. A study in the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that creatine supplementation decreased the risk of falls by keeping your muscles strong. This, in turn, curbs your odds of fractures. Creatine also activates cells responsible for bone formation and resorption, supporting the production of new, healthy bone tissue.

Related: Doctor’s Best Natural Ways to Strengthen Bones So You Avoid Osteoporosis Drugs

2. It reduces age-related muscle loss

Women begin losing muscle at age 30, and it only accelerates once you hit 50. Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, also known as sarcopenia, can make it harder to stay steady on your feet, walk at your usual pace or even carry heavier items like groceries inside. To thwart trouble, consider creatine.

Research in Nutrients found that taking a creatine supplement was a safe and effective strategy for increasing muscle strength and endurance. Another found that creatine supplementation may even provide a novel treatment for muscle wasting caused by cancer, kidney disease and heart disease. 

Tip: If you’re worried that creatine will leave you looking like a bodybuilder, don’t be. “Many women believe that creatine will just make them bulky, but this is purely a myth,” says Alex Oskian, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and nutrition coach at Working Against Gravity. Yes, creatine supports muscle formation. But Oksian says the primary benefits are “tone, strength and definition.”

3. Creatine smooths skin

Sure, wrinkles, crow’s feet and smile lines are normal parts of aging. But that doesn’t mean you sometimes wish you could make them disappear. To help turn back the clock, reach for topical creatine, which plays an essential role in collagen production.

A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that people who applied a topical creatine formula to their faces for six weeks saw a significant reduction in sagging skin on their cheeks and jowls. Creatine even reduced crow’s feet and wrinkles under the eyes, too

A mature woman smiling after taking creatine

Related: Collagen for Women: Adding a Little To Your Smoothie May Make Skin Look Years Younger

4. It boosts your memory

Bothered by memory blips and mood swings during menopause? “There’s emerging evidence of cognitive benefits and even potential relief from menopausal symptoms” for women who supplement with creatine, Dr. Dasgupta says.

Research in Experimental Gerontology suggests creatine supplementation may improve short-term memory, reasoning and intelligence. And an additional study in Nutrients found that creatine improved mood and cognition in women. Just note that while these findings are exciting, Dr. Dasgupta says “more research is needed to confirm the claims.” (Discover more ease ways to reverse brain aging.)

5. Creatine makes exercise easier

You know that regular exercise is important, but it can be hard to stay committed when your workouts leave you exhausted. Creatine to the rescue!

“A study in the Strength and Conditioning Journal found that women benefit more than men when it comes to performance and athletic improvements while supplementing with creatine,” Oskian says. But what does that actually mean? Women who supplemented their workouts with creatine could exercise longer and didn’t get tired as quickly. That helped them achieve their fitness goals sooner and with less effort.

A mature woman lifting blue hand weights while smiling
Paul Bradbury/Getty

The best creatine for women

Considering all the benefits that creatine may offer, you’re probably wondering what the best creatine supplement is for women. Dr. DasGupta’s advice: Look for creatine supplements that “have been checked by third parties to ensure they’re safe and trustworthy.” Likewise, he recommends “sticking with creatine monohydrate, since it’s the most studied form. Also, it doesn’t hurt to check customer reviews and brand reputation to get a feel for reliability.”

HaVy Ngo-Hamilton, PharmD, a clinical consultant at BuzzRx, echos this advice, adding that you should “look for [creatine supplement] brands that have been around for a while.” She also recommends finding a creatine supplement with the ‘NSF certified for sports’ distinction. This means the product has met the National Sanitation Foundation’s standards for health and safety.

There are hundreds of creatine supplements to choose from, but Oskian says she regularly recommends Thorne Creatine to her clients. “Thorne does in-depth testing and research on every supplement,” she says. “The brand also provides educational support, which is very helpful.”

How much creatine should women take?

The amount of creatine you should take depends on several factors including your age, general health and goals. “For women looking to try creatine, a good starting does is usually 3-5 grams daily,” says Dr. Dasgupta. However, if you’d like a personalized recommendation, talk with your healthcare provider.

Also be sure to take the supplement regularly for the best results. “To reap the benefits of creatine, daily and consistent intake is recommended,” Oskian says. If you don’t stick to a schedule, the creatine won’t build up in your body, so you’re less likely to reap the rewards.”

For more of the best health-boosting supplements for women:

Sea Moss Is the Viral Supplement Top Docs Love: How It Can Boost Weight Loss, Heart Health & More

Harvard Doctor Says This Much Omega 3 Per Day Is Essential for Good Health — Here’s How to Get It

Anxious and On Edge? Doctors Share the Best Supplements to Tame Stress Naturally

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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