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Top Picks for Sports Supplements for Female Athletes

Top Picks for Sports Supplements for Female Athletes

The 2021 Olympics had almost equal participation of men and women, 49% of women participants, a milestone for gender parity in elite sports. Although female participation in sports has increased, more research on the benefits of supplements for athletes is necessary.

Female athletes have different nutritional needs than male athletes. They face unique challenges such as hormonal fluctuations, menstrual cycles, bone health, and iron deficiency. Female athletes can benefit from sports supplements customized to their individual goals and physiology to enhance their performance, recovery, and overall fitness. In this article, we will explore some of the top sports supplements for female athletes and how they can assist in realizing their full athletic potential.

Why Do Female Athletes Take Sports Supplements?

Sports supplements are nutritional, herbal, or other compounds to improve sports performance, recovery, or health. They might be tablets, powders, liquids, bars, or gels. Female athletes may use sports supplements for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To fill in the gaps in their diet and meet their increased energy and nutrient demands
  • To prevent or treat deficiencies of certain nutrients, such as iron, calcium, or vitamin D
  • To improve their strength, power, endurance, or speed
  • To reduce fatigue, soreness, or inflammation
  • To support their immune system and prevent infections or illnesses
  • To enhance their body composition, such as increasing lean muscle mass or decreasing body fat
  • To cope with stress, mood swings, or hormonal imbalances
Why Do Female Athletes Take Sports Supplements?


When Can Female Athletes Use Supplements?

The use of supplements by female athletes isn’t a one-size-fits-all matter. It’s influenced by their goals, needs, preferences, budget, and health history. Here are some simplified guidelines:

  • Before starting supplements, seek advice from a health expert, such as a doctor, dietitian, or sports nutritionist. They can help identify your nutritional needs and suggest suitable supplements.
  • Opt for high-quality supplements tested for purity and safety by third-party organizations like NSF International, Informed Sport, or USP. Stay away from supplements with banned substances, artificial ingredients, or high levels of stimulants or caffeine.
  • Stick to the instructions on the supplement label. Don’t exceed the recommended dose or usage period. Overuse can lead to adverse effects or interactions.
  • Keep track of your body’s reaction to supplements. If you notice any changes, positive or negative, adjust your supplement intake.
  • Remember, supplements aren’t a substitute for a balanced diet, proper training, and rest. They’re meant to support your overall nutrition and lifestyle. A holistic approach to health and performance yields the best results.
When Can Female Athletes Use Supplements?


Understand the Female Athlete’s Body

When selecting sports supplements for female athletes, one of the most crucial elements is their specific physiology and metabolism. Female athletes' hormonal profiles, body composition, and energy systems differ from those of male athletes, influencing how they adapt to training and nutrition. Among the significant distinctions are:

     1. Testosterone levels

Female athletes have lower testosterone levels, which encourage muscle growth and strength. This implies they have less muscle mass and more body fat than male athletes, making it more difficult for them to grow or shed fat. To overcome this problem, female athletes may benefit from substances that promote muscle protein synthesis, such as creatine, beta-alanine, essential amino acids (EAAs), and protein supplements.

     2. Estrogen levels

Female athletes typically have higher estrogen levels, which are crucial for regulating their menstrual cycle and reproductive health. This hormone influences athletic performance in various ways. Positively, it boosts muscle endurance, the absorption of glucose, and the breakdown of fats. However, it also has drawbacks, like promoting water retention, increasing inflammation, and heightening the risk of injuries. Moreover, estrogen levels vary during the menstrual cycle, leading to performance, mood, and hunger changes. Female athletes can manage these hormonal fluctuations and their effects by taking supplements like iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B, and omega-3 fatty acids, which help maintain hormonal balance.

     3. Amounts of hemoglobin

Female athletes typically exhibit lower hemoglobin levels, a protein essential for transporting oxygen in the bloodstream. Consequently, they experience reduced oxygen distribution and usage compared to male athletes, often leading to increased fatigue and shortness of breath during physical activities. Enhancing their oxygen-carrying capacity can be achieved through supplements that stimulate red blood cell production. Supplements like iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are particularly beneficial.

Understand the Female Athlete’s Body


     4. Glycogen levels

Female athletes had lower glycogen stores, the stored form of glucose in the muscles and liver. This implies they have less food for high-intensity exercise and may deplete their glycogen stores faster than male athletes. Female athletes may benefit from supplements that improve carbohydrate intake and absorption, such as maltodextrin, dextrose, or waxy maize, to replace their glycogen stores.

Recommended Sports Supplements for Female Athletes

Based on the above differences, here are some of the best sports supplements for female athletes and how they can help them improve their performance, recovery, and health:


Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical in meat, fish, and eggs. The body also produces it and stores it in the muscles. Creatine aids in the regeneration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary source of energy for brief, intense bursts of exercise such as running, leaping, or weight lifting. Creatine supplementation can raise the amount of creatine in the muscles, which can improve sports performance in the following ways:

  • Strength and power output
  • Muscle mass and volume
  • Anaerobic endurance and capacity
  • Resistance to fatigue and muscle damage
  • Recovery time and quality

Because female athletes have lower levels of testosterone and creatine than male athletes, creatine is especially effective for increasing strength, power, and muscular mass. Creatine can benefit female athletes participating in high-intensity intermittent sports like soccer, basketball, or tennis, as their ATP system is heavily used. Creatine can also improve cognitive abilities, including memory, attention, and response time, which is beneficial for female athletes who must make quick decisions and execute complex skills.

For female athletes, the suggested dose of creatine is 3 to 5 grams per day, taken with a carbohydrate-rich meal or drink to improve absorption. Loading creatine is unnecessary because it might induce gastrointestinal pain, bloating, and weight gain. Creatine is safe and beneficial for long-term use if you drink plenty of water and monitor your kidney function.




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Non-essential amino acid beta-alanine is present in meat, poultry, and fish. The body also synthesizes and converts it into carnosine, a dipeptide stored in the muscles. Carnosine works as a buffer against hydrogen ion accumulation, which occurs during anaerobic activity and causes muscular acidity, exhaustion, and pain. Supplementing with beta-alanine can boost the amount of carnosine in the muscles, which can improve the following aspects of athletic performance:

  • Anaerobic endurance and capacity
  • Lactic acid tolerance and clearance
  • Resistance to fatigue and muscle damage
  • Recovery time and quality

Beta-alanine is particularly useful for female athletes involved in high-intensity activities lasting over 60 seconds, such as middle-distance running, cycling, or swimming. This is because these athletes produce more lactic acid than their male counterparts. Furthermore, beta-alanine benefits those participating in repeated high-intensity exercises like interval training, circuit training, or team sports, where quick recovery between sets or plays is crucial. Additionally, beta-alanine can improve cognitive functions like attention, focus, and mood, which can be advantageous for female athletes with mental stress or pressure.

Female athletes should take 2-5g of beta-alanine daily, divided into smaller doses of 0.8-1.6g, with meals or drinks to increase absorption. Beta-alanine can cause harmless tingling, reduced by lower doses or sustained-release formula. It's safe for long-term use, but monitor taurine levels as it competes for absorption.


EAAs are essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from food or supplements. They are the building blocks of protein and are involved in various processes related to muscle growth, repair, and function. EAAs include leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, and tryptophan. EAA supplementation can provide the following benefits for female athletes:

  • Stimulate muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscle breakdown
  • Enhance muscle strength, size, and quality
  • Improve muscle recovery and soreness
  • Support the immune system and prevent infections or illnesses
  • Regulate hormone levels and mood
  • Reduce appetite and cravings

EAAs are especially beneficial for female athletes who want to increase their muscle mass and strength, as they have lower levels of testosterone and protein synthesis than male athletes. EAAs can also help female athletes with a low protein intake or a vegetarian or vegan diet, as they may need more EAAs from their food sources. EAAs can also help female athletes who train in a fasted state or have a long gap between meals, as they can prevent muscle catabolism and preserve muscle glycogen.


Iron is a mineral required to form hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Anemia, weariness, weakness, and reduced immunological function can all result from an iron deficiency. Due to menstrual blood loss, poor food intake, and increased iron losses in sweat, urine, and feces during exercise, female athletes are at a higher risk of iron insufficiency. Iron supplementation can help prevent or treat iron deficiency and improve aerobic capacity, endurance, recovery, and immune function.

Calcium and Vitamin D for Bone Health

Calcium and vitamin D are crucial minerals for bone health. Calcium, the most abundant mineral in bones and teeth, is essential for muscular contraction, nerve signal transmission, and blood coagulation. Vitamin D promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption from meals and promotes bone remodeling and immunological function. Adequate intake of these nutrients is critical for female athletes to maintain bone density, avoid stress fractures, and improve general health and athletic performance. Calcium and vitamin D supplements are especially beneficial for people with a low dietary intake, a history of bone injury, or a susceptibility to osteoporosis.

Protein Supplements

Protein is a macronutrient required for muscle growth, repair, and maintenance. It also helps to make enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. Female athletes need more protein than sedentary women to support training, recovery, and adaptation. Protein supplements might be a handy and efficient way for them to achieve their protein requirements, particularly after activity or in between meals. It can also aid female athletes in increasing muscular mass and strength, improving body composition, and decreasing muscle discomfort and damage.

Vitamin B for Energy and Metabolism

The B vitamins, which include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid, and cobalamin, are essential for energy production, protein metabolism and red blood cell synthesis. They also play a role in the health of the neurological system, skin, hair, eyes, and liver. Female athletes may require more B vitamins than inactive women due to higher energy expenditure and sweat loss. B vitamin supplementation can boost energy output, reduce weariness, and improve cognitive function and immunological health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are essential for the body. They have anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects and play an important role in brain health and function. Female athletes can benefit from omega-3 supplementation as it can help to reduce inflammation, muscle soreness, and joint stiffness caused by exercise. It can also improve heart health, mood, and cognitive function.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids


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Magnesium for Muscle Function and Recovery

Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in 300 enzymatic activities in the body, including energy production, protein synthesis, muscular contraction, and neuron function. It also contributes to bone health, immunity, and heart health. Female athletes may need more magnesium due to increased sweat and urine loss during activity. Magnesium supplements can improve muscle function, reduce cramps and spasms, speed recovery, and promote better sleep and relaxation.

Antioxidants for Immune Support

Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids, protect the body's cells from free radical damage. This damage can cause inflammation, muscle damage, and immunological suppression during exercise. Antioxidant supplements can benefit female athletes as they can help improve their antioxidant capacity, minimize exercise-induced oxidative stress, and boost their overall health and immunological function.

STAAR LABS: Best Sports Supplements Meeting Your Needs

In conclusion, sports nutrition must adapt to the evolving landscape of nearly equal representation of male and female athletes. Supplements tailored to female athletes' unique physiology and requirements can enhance performance, speed up recovery, and maintain overall health with a balanced diet and training. The benefits of supplements for athletes become particularly evident in optimizing their athletic potential.

STAAR LABS offers scientifically formulated sports supplements for female athletes. Our products are rigorously tested and proven to work, helping athletes achieve their performance, recovery, and health goals. Whether you are a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, STAAR LABS has the right supplement for you. To embark on your journey towards peak athletic performance and well-being, we invite you to explore STAAR LABS for further invaluable information and personalized solutions.

José L. Areta & Kirsty J. Elliott-Sale (04/05/2022). Access date: 2023-12-01.

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