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We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may receive a small commission or other tangible benefit. Optum Store and Healthline are owned by RVO Health. Here’s our process.

Creatine, a substance found naturally in the body, has been shown to provide several benefits in terms of exercise performance when taken as a supplement (1, 2).

In women specifically, creatine supplements have been linked to improvements in strength, exercise performance, and muscle mass, both before and after menopause (3, 4).

Furthermore, early research suggests that taking creatine supplements may have benefits for women outside of the gym, including helping reduce mental fatigue and manage depression (3, 5).

Several kinds of creatine supplements are available, including creatine ethyl ester and creatine HCL.

However, research suggests that creatine monohydrate is the most effective form, as it has been shown to improve muscle creatine and phosphocreatine concentrations by 15–40%, allowing muscles to produce more energy during exercise (1, 2).

Keep reading for our picks of the 5 best creatine supplements for women

Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in muscle cells that plays an essential role in energy production during exercise (1).

Although your body produces it naturally, creatine is also available in supplement form.

Creatine supplements have been found to help with exercise recovery and improve strength, power, muscle mass, and anaerobic exercise capacity (1, 2).

To help you decide which product is right for you, we researched the best creatine supplements for women using the following criteria:

  • Creatine monohydrate: All the products contain creatine monohydrate for optimal effectiveness.
  • Vetting: All the products included have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards.
  • Ingredients: We looked for products that are made with quality ingredients and free of artificial additives.
  • Reviews: The products below have mostly positive customer reviews.

While this list is for women, creatine has been shown to be effective in both men and women. Most healthy adults, regardless of gender, can use creatine supplements.

Why you should trust us

Every brand and product on our list has been vetted to ensure that it aligns with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. Each product in this article:

  • adheres to allowable health claims and labeling requirements, per Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations
  • is manufactured in facilities that adhere to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) established by the FDA
  • is produced by a medically credible company that follows ethical, legal, and industry best standards
  • is made by a company that provides objective measures of trust, such as having its supplements validated by third-party labs

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price range.

Generally, prices range from $0.23–$1.30 per serving, or $12.99–$39 per container, though this may vary depending on where you shop and the container size.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $0.50 per serving
  • $$ = $0.50–$1.00 per serving
  • $$$ = over $1.00 per serving

Best overall

Thorne Research Creatine

  • Price: $
  • Available flavors: unflavored
  • Type: powder
  • Testing certifications: NSF Certified for Sport
  • Creatine monohydrate per 1-scoop (5-gram) serving: 5 grams
  • Other ingredients: none

Thorne Research is a reputable supplement company that’s known for using high quality ingredients.

In addition to manufacturing its products in CGMP-compliant facilities, the company is NSF Certified for Sport. This means its supplements are third-party tested and guaranteed to be free of substances that are banned in sports.

This creatine supplement, in particular, is a great option for those with dietary restrictions, as it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors and is certified gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free.

In fact, the only ingredient listed on the product is 5 grams of creatine monohydrate.

Pros

  • third-party certified safe for sport
  • affordable
  • free from major allergens

Cons

  • none

Best overall runner-up

BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate

  • Price: $$
  • Available flavors: unflavored
  • Type: powder
  • Testing certifications: third-party tested
  • Creatine monohydrate per 1-scoop (5-gram) serving: 5 grams
  • Other ingredients: none

Like the Thorne Research product, this creatine supplement contains just one ingredient: creatine monohydrate.

As a result, it’s free of soy, dairy, gluten, yeast, added sugar, and other additives.

Plus, with more than 25,000 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, the supplement is clearly a fan favorite.

BulkSupplements products are manufactured in a facility that’s inspected by the FDA and meets the CGMPs.

Certificates of analysis (COAs) for third-party testing results are also available upon request, though the company does not disclose the name of the testing organization.

Pros

  • third-party tested
  • COAs available upon request
  • more than 25,000 mostly positive reviews on Amazon
  • free from major allergens

Cons

  • testing organization not disclosed

Best for building muscle

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

  • Price: $$$
  • Available flavors: Orange, Blue Raspberry, Black Cherry, Strawberry Lemonade, Unflavored
  • Type: powder
  • Testing certifications: third-party tested by Analytical Resource Laboratories
  • Creatine monohydrate per 1-scoop (9.5-gram) serving: 5 grams
  • Other ingredients: HMB, BioPerine, tartaric acid, malic acid, natural flavors, stevia extract, grape (fruit) powder

Unlike other creatine supplements on this list, this one contains additional ingredients that may help build muscle and strength, such as hydroxylmethylbutyrate (HMB).

HMB is a substance that’s naturally produced in the body. While more research is needed, it may help increase strength, muscle size, aerobic performance, and recovery (6, 7).

This product also includes vitamin D.

In addition to offering several health benefits, vitamin D may help improve upper and lower limb strength. However, more studies are needed to determine its role in other aspects of exercise performance (8, 9).

Lastly, the powder contains BioPerine, or piperine.

Piperine is the active ingredient in black pepper extract, which the company claims helps boost the absorption of nutrients, though more research is needed (10).

In addition to its active ingredients, the flavored versions of this creatine supplement are sweetened with stevia and are gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of artificial coloring and preservatives.

What’s more, the supplement is third-party tested by Analytical Resource Laboratories, and COAs are available on Transparent Labs’ website.

Pros

  • third-party tested
  • COAs available online
  • available in several flavors, including an unflavored option

Cons

  • expensive
  • contains stevia, which may have an unpleasant aftertaste

Best for HIIT

Genius Creatine Powder

  • Price: $$
  • Available flavors: Sour Apple
  • Type: powder
  • Testing certifications: third-party tested
  • Creatine monohydrate per 1-scoop (7.8-gram) serving: 5 grams
  • Other ingredients: beta-alanine, AstraGin, malic acid, natural flavors, organic stevia leaf extract, silica, sodium chloride, monk fruit extract, turmeric root extract, spirulina extract

In addition to creatine monohydrate, this supplement includes several ingredients that may be beneficial for high intensity interval training (HIIT):

  • Beta-alanine: This amino acid helps prevent lactate buildup in muscles, which in turn enhances athletic performance and is particularly helpful during HIIT workouts (11).
  • AstraGin: This supplement blend contains Panax notoginseng extract and Astragalus membranaceus extract. AstraGin’s website claims that it can improve energy levels and increase nutrient absorption in the body. However, no studies have confirmed this (12).
  • Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties that may help with exercise recovery (13).
  • Spirulina: This type of blue-green algae has been shown to increase the time to fatigue in cardiovascular workouts. It may also support weight loss and fat loss when combined with an exercise program (14, 15).

It’s important to note that beta-alanine can cause a harmless tingling sensation. However, this product contains just 1.6 grams, a dose that may be low enough to avoid the tingles.

On the other hand, benefits of beta-alanine supplementation have been shown at doses of 4–6 grams, so there’s a possibility that this supplement may not contain a high enough dose to be effective (11).

Genius Creatine is sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract and free of artificial dyes and fillers. Because Sour Apple is the only flavor option, it may not be ideal for use in smoothies or multi-ingredient protein shakes.

According to the company, all Genius products are third-party tested. However, the company does not disclose the name of the testing organization.

Pros

  • third-party tested
  • free from artificial dyes, fillers, and sweeteners
  • contains other potentially effective ingredients, including turmeric, spirulina, and beta-alanine

Cons

  • testing organization not disclosed
  • only one flavor option

Best capsules

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules

  • Price: $
  • Available flavors: unflavored
  • Type: capsules
  • Testing certifications: Informed Choice
  • Creatine monohydrate per 2-capsule serving: 2.5 grams
  • Other ingredients: gelatin, magnesium stearate

If powdered supplements aren’t your thing, Optimum Nutrition offers creatine monohydrate in convenient capsules.

However, if you’re not a fan of swallowing pills, this may not be your best choice, because you need to take 4 capsules per day to get the 5 grams of creatine monohydrate typically recommended.

Another difference is that this supplement’s manufacturers recommend consuming the capsules with a meal twice per day rather than immediately after a workout.

For quality assurance, Optimum Nutrition’s products are third-party tested by Informed Choice. They are also produced in facilities that meet the CGMPs.

Pros

  • Informed Choice certified
  • affordable
  • suitable for people who prefer capsules to powder supplements

Cons

  • requires swallowing 4 capsules per day, which may be difficult for some
  • not vegan-friendly

When shopping for a creatine supplement, consider the following factors:

  • Third-party testing: Look for supplements that are third-party tested by an independent organization, such as Informed Choice or NSF International, to ensure quality and accuracy.
  • Safe for sport: Competitive athletes should look for a product that’s certified free of substances banned in sports. Some examples of certifications to look for are NSF Certified for Sport, Informed Sport, and Labdoor Sport.
  • Form: Look for a supplement that contains creatine monohydrate rather than a less effective form, such as creatine ethyl ester or creatine HCL (1, 2).
  • Additional ingredients: If you’d like the product to include more than just creatine, consider a product with research-backed ingredients such as beta-alanine, vitamin D, or HMB.
  • Type: Consider whether you’d prefer taking capsules or buying a powder that you can mix into your protein shake or other beverage.

How much should you take?

When you start taking creatine supplements, it’s typically recommended to consume larger doses initially, during what’s called the loading phase.

Taking 20–25 grams of creatine per day for 5–7 days during a loading phase has been shown to help increase muscle stores of creatine (2, 16).

Afterward, a daily dose of 3–5 grams is recommended for maintaining these stores (2, 16).

Keep in mind that these are guidelines for the general population. Before taking creatine (or any other supplement), make sure to speak with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized dosing recommendations.

Should you take creatine before or after your workout?

Some professionals recommend consuming creatine after exercising, as it’s thought that the post-exercise increase in blood flow may increase the rate at which creatine is delivered to your muscles (16).

Furthermore, some studies have shown an increase in lean muscle mass when creatine is consumed after exercise (16).

However, research on the optimal timing of creatine supplementation is too limited and inconclusive to definitively say that post-workout ingestion is more effective.

Therefore, while the manufacturers of most products on this list recommend using the products after your gym session, it’s perfectly fine to add creatine powder to your pre-workout beverage if that works best for you.

What can you mix creatine powder with?

Most of the creatine supplements on this list are powders that you can mix with water or any other beverage of your choice, warm or cold.

You can also stir the powder into your yogurt or overnight oats in the morning.

However, because the powders are usually unflavored, many people prefer to add them to their post-workout protein shake.

The benefits of creatine have been well researched. However, most of that research has been done with male participants. It has also been suggested that women may not respond as strongly to supplementation as men (2).

Available research in women suggests that creatine may (2, 3, 4, 5):

  • increase strength and bone density both before and after menopause
  • improve exercise performance
  • reduce mental fatigue
  • help manage depression

What are the side effects of taking creatine?

Creatine is a very well-researched supplement. Currently, the only side effect that has been consistently reported is weight gain in some individuals (2).

Weight gain may occur as a result of creatine’s ability to promote hydration in the body, meaning that any weight gain likely comes from small amounts of water retention. However, the overall research on water retention from creatine supplementation is a bit mixed (2, 17).

It’s also worth noting that weight gain from creatine supplementation is typically seen in men, not women (3).

Overall, daily doses ranging from 0.3 to 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day have been shown to be safe and well tolerated (2).

Are there any women that should avoid creatine?

There is currently no research to suggest any women need to avoid creatine. Supplementing with creatine during pregnancy may even have benefits, though more research is needed on this (17).

Still, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, as individual cases may vary.

Can creatine help women lose weight?

The use of creatine supplementation for weight loss in women has not been researched.

However, because creatine can help promote muscle mass, it may be beneficial to take during weight loss to help reduce the loss of lean body mass. This is important because loss of muscle is associated with increased risk of injury, fatigue, and decreased resting metabolic rate (18).

Creatine supplements — and creatine monohydrate, in particular — may help improve strength, recovery time, and exercise performance, as well as offer additional health benefits outside of the gym.

However, as some products are better than others, make sure to look for a creatine supplement that’s made with high quality ingredients and has undergone rigorous testing to ensure quality and accuracy.

Regardless of which product you choose, it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before taking any new supplements.

Finally, while creatine supplements may enhance your nutritional intake, it’s important to remember that they’re not a replacement for a well-balanced diet.