You may be curious about the benefits of creatine vs whey? After all, these are two of the most popular fitness supplements that provide an ideal protein boost to support your health and fitness goals.
To get a better idea of which you should choose when evaluating creatine vs whey protein, you will need to understand the benefits of both supplements and how they can support you.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is the protein found in the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds during the cheese-making process. After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through additional processing to become a powder that can easily be mixed with soft foods or liquids.
Oftentimes people use whey protein powder to enhance their health, athletic performance, or to reduce nutritional deficiencies. One of the major advantages of whey protein over other protein supplements including creatine is that it contains all nine essential amino acids. Since your body doesn’t make essential amino acids, you must get them through your diet, and whey protein makes this possible.
Whey protein intake has been associated with a variety of health benefits. For example, one 2018 study found that taking whey protein in combination with strength training can enhance muscle strength, increase lean body mass, and may help improve physical functioning in older adults. Whey protein also provides the protein fractions and limited amino acids that support your immune system and the production of the antioxidant glutathione.
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, taking whey protein may help. Researchers found that people who took whey protein lost significantly more body fat and were able to preserve lean muscle mass compared to the control group.
Whey protein may also help your muscles recover more quickly following an intense workout. One study found that whey protein supplementation after exercising increased muscle strength and reduced muscle damage to help reduce recovery time.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid that is mainly found in your muscles. Unlike whey protein, creatine consists of only three amino acids including methionine, arginine, and glycine.
Roughly half of the creatine in your body comes from food sources like milk, red meat, and seafood while the other half is produced by your liver and kidneys. Most of the creatine in your body is stored in your skeletal muscles and is used during heavy lifting or intense exercise.
Many athletes are drawn to creatine supplements to help give their workouts an extra boost and to help improve workout recovery time. Creatine supplements generally come in the form of creatine monohydrate.
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine monohydrate supplementation is not only safe, but has been reported to have a number of benefits including improving exercise performance, enhancing post-exercise recovery, and may help prevent injuries. Additionally, creatine can cause your muscle cells to store more water which helps them appear larger and fuller.
Creatine vs whey protein
To have a deeper understanding of which you should choose, whey vs creatine, you’ll have to look at some of the drawbacks and benefits of each.
One difference between creatine vs whey protein is in the number of amino acids they each deliver. Whey protein has the upper hand here as it contains all nine essential acids that your body can’t make, while creatine provides just three. These amino acids (plus protein fractions) found in whey make it great for supporting your fitness goals AND your immune system.
Both creatine monohydrate vs whey protein supplementation can help increase muscle mass, however, during intense exercise, creatine may have the upper hand. Creatine supplementation can provide your muscles with an extra boost of energy during grueling workouts and may also help to prevent exercise-related injuries.
You may be thinking, why not take both whey and creatine together in hopes they have a synergistic effect? While taking both supplements isn’t necessarily harmful, research shows that taking both doesn’t necessarily provide additional benefits.
As you can see, both creatine vs whey protein can help you reach your goals, but do so in different ways.
Should I take both creatine and whey protein?
Both whey protein concentrate vs creatine supplementation are popular sports nutrition supplements as they have been shown to support exercise performance. While it may not be harmful to take both creatine and whey protein, research has shown that taking both together doesn’t offer any additional health benefits.
Which is better: whey or creatine?
Whey protein and creatine both work to help build muscle, but they accomplish this in different ways. Whey protein provides all the essential amino acids your muscles need to recover after working out. Additionally, whey protein helps to increase muscle mass. Creatine can give your muscles a boost of energy during intense workouts and can help your muscles store more water making them appear larger.
Is whey or creatine better for muscle gain?
Both whey protein and creatine can support muscle gain. Creatine can boost strength and muscle mass by increasing your energy stores during a workout. Whey protein provides all the essential amino acids needed to strengthen and build your muscles.
- Nabuco HCG, Tomeleri CM, Sugihara Junior P, et al. Effects of Whey Protein Supplementation Pre- or Post-Resistance Training on Muscle Mass, Muscular Strength, and Functional Capacity in Pre-Conditioned Older Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):563. Published 2018 May 3. doi:10.3390/nu10050563
- Frestedt JL, Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA, Ward LS, Bastian ED. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008;5:8. Published 2008 Mar 27. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-5-8
- Cooke MB, Rybalka E, Stathis CG, Cribb PJ, Hayes A. Whey protein isolate attenuates strength decline after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010;7:30. Published 2010 Sep 22. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-30
- Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:18. Published 2017 Jun 13. doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
- Outlaw J, Burks B, Hayward S, et al. Effects of post-exercise whey protein vs. whey protein plus creatine consumption in females. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013;10(Suppl 1):P20. Published 2013 Dec 6. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-S1-P20
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