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Dr Abbie Smith-Ryan: The big benefits of creatine for women

Long associated with elite athletes and muscle-obsessed male bodybuilders, creatine has become one of the most popular and interesting supplements for people from all walks of life. Unfiltered spoke to leading exercise physiologist and sports nutrition expert Dr Abbie Smith-Ryan to discover how creatine for women can improve not only their physical health and performance but cognitive health and function too
Dr Abbie Smith-Ryan, PhD
Dr Abbie Smith-Ryan, PhD

Dr Abbie Smith-Ryan is an expert in exercise physiology and sports nutrition. She serves as the associate chair for research for the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, the director of the Applied Physiology Laboratory, and co-director of the Human Performance Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She is a lifelong advocate for empowering women and people through evidence-based knowledge. Follow her on Instagram. Visit asmithryan.com.

Creatine for women is an essential supplement

Only a few years ago creatine was viewed by many as a potent and borderline illegal performance-enhancing drug, used only by the most dedicated and risk averse bodybuilders.

Yet creatine is having something of a moment, crossing over into the mainstream health and wellbeing conversation not just for its ability to improve athletic performance, but also for many cognitive benefits. And while elite athletes and muscle-bound gym rats are still creatine’s biggest fans, more and more women are coming round to the science-backed benefits of this cheap yet powerful supplement.

One expert leading the creatine craze is Dr Abbie Smith-Ryan, PhD, a renowned exercise physiology and sports nutrition researcher who has built her career on studying optimal training, nutrition and supplementation protocols, especially for women.

Creatine for women explained

Creatine, which is a naturally occurring compound formed from three amino acids is found in small amounts in certain foods and synthesised by the body, is often associated with muscle growth, but its advantages for women, particularly as they age, are profound and well-supported by scientific research.

In an Unfiltered exclusive interview Dr Smith-Ryan reveals these numerous benefits of creatine supplementation for women, including its ability to enhance muscle strength and endurance.

As women age, maintaining muscle mass becomes crucial to prevent sarcopenia, a condition characterised by the loss of muscle mass and function. Left unchecked weaker muscles, and the accompanying problem of weaker and delicate bones, can lead to a heightened risk of falls and serious injury.

Creatine supplementation can significantly increases muscle mass and strength, making it an invaluable tool for women aiming to stay active and healthy, according to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Beyond its physical benefits, creatine also supports cognitive health and function, including better memory and mental clarity, according to the Journal of Experimental Biology. This is particularly beneficial for women experiencing cognitive decline related to menopause or ageing.

Additionally, creatine has been shown to support overall well-being by reducing the risk of depression and anxiety. The Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology published findings indicating that creatine supplementation can enhance the efficacy of antidepressants, providing a potential adjunct therapy for mood disorders.

As Dr Abbie Smith-Ryan explains, creatine supplementation is not just for athletes; it is a powerful tool for women of all ages looking to maintain their health, vitality, and mental acuity.

Listen to the Unfiltered Extra podcast episode with Dr Abbie Smith-Ryan on Spotify

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