Harvard Women's Health Watch

Ask the doctor: Does creatine improve strength in postmenopausal women?

Q. Could you discuss the benefits of creatine supplements for older, postmenopausal women? Are there any drawbacks?

A. Creatine is a substance made in our bodies from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. Amino acids are the chemical building blocks of protein; we get them from dietary protein. The body makes 1 to 2 grams of creatine a day, and we also get creatine from certain foods, such as fish and meat. Most (95%) of the body's creatine is located in muscle, though some is found in other tissues, including the brain and retina.

Creatine increases energy by producing adenosine triphosphate, a high-energy compound released in muscle during intense, anaerobic exercise. Creatine supplements promote protein manufacture and provide a quick source of energy for muscle contraction.

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