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Creatine vs. Whey Protein: Which is better?

People who know sports supplements know that there is an entire world of choices to augment your workout and training programs. From basic nutrition to supplements that provide highly specific benefits. It can be difficult to sort them out. For protein boosts, it often comes down to a choice between creatine vs whey protein.  

While these things are quite different, they also have some overlap in terms of how they benefit your training. Creatine vs whey protein is not a choice between which has the best impact on your training. The choice comes down to how these supplements work and what you are trying to achieve.  

To get a better sense of which you should choose, creatine vs whey protein, it is best to evaluate your specific needs and supplement accordingly. Creatine is an amino acid derivative and is more targeted in terms of its real benefits. Whey protein is a complete protein and impacts your training as a full nutrition supplement. 

Evaluating creatine vs whey protein becomes easier when you have all the facts. What is creatine? What is whey protein? What are the benefits of creatine vs whey protein? This guide will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision between creatine vs whey protein. 

What Is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is the short-hand term for the different proteins that can be isolated from whey. Whey is the liquid fraction of milk when it is separated during the process of making cheese. The protein found in milk consists of about 80 percent casein and 20 percent whey. In the process of making cheese, the fatty solids are coagulated leaving the protein-rich liquid in the form of whey.

Whey protein can be easily separated into a powder and used to enrich exercise and training supplements. Whey protein contains all 9 essential amino acids, the amino acids we must get from a food source. It also contains high levels of what is called Branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). The BCAAs in whey protein can be metabolized by our bodies to form muscle tissue. 

Whey proteins are called globular proteins. This means the protein is folded on the molecular level and contains large quantities of energy that are easily released. For this reason, whey protein makes an ideal supplement for people who engage in intense physical exercise. The specific nature of whey protein makes it easily accessible to the body to assist in protein synthesis. The globular proteins in whey build muscle. 

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is made from arginine, glycine, and methionine. It is an amino acid derivative. It is produced naturally by the kidneys, liver, and pancreas. We can also get creatine from food sources like red meat. As a naturally occurring chemical in the body, it is largely stored in skeletal muscle tissue. Once it is stored in the biological cells it is transformed into phosphocreatine and saved for later use. Some of the creatine produced by our bodies and ingested through diet circulates as free creatine. 

Creatine has become ubiquitous among athletes because supplementing with creatine contributes to muscle development. In fact, clinical studies have shown that taking creatine supplements produces measurable increases in both muscle mass and strength. These same studies showed that athletes taking creatine supplements outperformed a control group by as much as 43 percent. Creatine, it turns out, does improve strength and overall performance. 

Creatine Vs. Whey Protein Differences

The real difference between creatine and whey protein is the chemical makeup of the two supplements. Creatine is an amino acid derivative. It is not a complete protein and therefore does not contain all the biochemical components that form muscle proteins in the body. However, as an essential chemical feature of muscle protein synthesis, it is instrumental in putting on muscle and getting real gains from your training and workouts. 

Whey protein is a complete protein. Since it contains all the amino acids the body requires to not only build muscle but also perform numerous other metabolic functions, it can lead to increased muscle growth. 

Whey protein must be metabolized and converted into the component parts of muscle protein. As such, it does give you everything you need to increase lean muscle and get the most out of your training. The decision between creatine vs whey protein has to do with how you will be providing your body with the amino acids for protein synthesis. If you rely on creatine, you will need to provide the metabolic processes with another source of amino acids. 

When to take Creatine

Evidence suggests that the best time to take creatine is shortly before or after you exercise. This seems to work better than supplementing hours after exercise. Researchers found that over a ten-week study those that took creatine supplements within a short period before or after exercise demonstrate significant muscle gains over those that took creatine supplement hours before or after their training. 

Researchers indicated that it does not matter if you take a full dose before or after exercise or split your dose between a half dose before and a half dose after. 

When to take Whey Protein

The conventional wisdom says to take whey protein supplements 16-60 minutes after exercise. This timeframe is known as the anabolic window. It is the period of time in which metabolic processes are most efficient for converting protein into muscle protein synthesis. 

However, more recent evidence shows that the window is much larger than people once thought. Some recent research suggests you have up to two hours after exercise or training to get the most out of a whey protein supplement. 

Benefits of Creatine

Creatine is one of the most studied exercise supplements around. The benefits of creatine are not just anecdotal; they are scientifically verified. And there is a considerable list of benefits to recommend creatine as a workout supplement. 

  1. Cells produce more energy. Creatine increases the amount of phosphocreatine in your cells. Stored cellular phosphocreatine stimulates the energy process at the cellular level. It helps produce the chemical ATP which is the chemical broken down during exercise to produce energy. ATP is the basic power source in our cells. Creatine builds and stimulates energy at the most basic level. 
  2. Creatine helps build muscle mass. Creatine opens the cellular pathways that produce new muscle growth. It also assists in the formation of complex proteins that become muscle tissue. 
  3. Improves high-intensity performance during training. Creatine has been scientifically shown to improve endurance and stamina. The effects of creatine that increase endurance are tied to an increase in strength, resistance to fatigue, increased muscle mass, faster recovery, and even improved brain performance
  4. Speeds muscle growth. Creatine has been shown to accelerates muscle growth. Athletes know this, but there is scientific evidence to back it up. Studies have documented increased muscle growth from creatine supplements, seeing significant increases in as few as 5 days. 
  5. Creatine may lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes. Studies have shown that taking creatine supplements lowers your blood sugar levels when combined with high-intensity exercise. Creatine, it seems, can fight short-term blood sugar spikes and this lowers blood sugar over the long term. 
  6. It helps brain function. As creatine enhances the production of the energy-producing molecule ATP at the cellular level, it provides the same boost to your brain as it does for muscle tissue. Creatine has been shown to improve brain function. It can help combat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Creatine could also protect against stroke and epilepsy.

Benefits of Whey Protein

That whey protein supplements provide valuable benefits to athletes is well known. But there are many other benefits of whey protein. Since there has been so much research on whey protein it should be no surprise that other benefits have been linked to whey protein supplements beyond the obvious benefits for fitness.

Other benefits include:  

  1. Great source of high-quality protein: One of the best sources of supplemental protein. Highly digestible absorbs fast, and high in nutritional value. 
  2.  Promotes muscle growth: Whey protein contains branched-chain amino acids which are immediately accessible for muscle protein synthesis. The high concentrations of leucine promote muscle growth and muscle repair and regeneration. 
  3. May reduce blood fats. One study showed that whey protein supplements can significantly reduce the amount of fat in the blood and this can lead to healthy weight management.
  4. Lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that naturally occurring chemicals in dairy products can lower blood pressure. As whey protein is produced, these chemicals are converted into another chemical called lactokinins which have been shown to reduce blood pressure in people diagnosed with hypertension. 
  5. May help in fighting diabetes. Whey proteins have been shown to simultaneously moderate blood sugar and raise natural levels of insulin in the bloodstream. This is a two-fold benefit that effectively combats Type 2 diabetes. 
  6. It can have a positive impact on blood fats. High cholesterol is a major cause of heart disease. Significant doses of whey protein supplements have been found to reduce blood cholesterol.

Best Whey Protein Supplement

There are hundreds of whey protein supplements on the market these days. Online and in sports nutrition stores, you can become overwhelmed with the choices. Many of these products make all kinds of claims, but what you really need is a whey protein supplement that simply packs all the nutrition and amino acids of a solid whey protein.  

Nutriwhey from NF Sports is precisely the whey protein supplement you need. Whey Protein is considered to be the most ‘anabolic’ (the best muscle tissue repairing protein) of the protein sources because it’s higher in BCAAs.

It’s also the protein that is highest in bioavailability, meaning you absorb more of the protein you take in vs other sources. Its rapid digestion time has made it a popular option for use around the time of your workout to maximize recovery.

Best Creatine Supplement

The best creatine supplement available is Micronized Creatine from NF Sports. This creatine supplement provides the support for increased ATP levels in your cells. This is the boost you need for maximum benefit from high-intensity training and for all-around fitness. 

There are many misconceptions surrounding Creatine and its use. It is normally thought that Creatine can lead to dehydration and muscular cramping. However, there is no research that can link cramping during athletic events and Creatine use. 

Research shows increased hydration levels in the muscles lead to your body's ability to handle higher outdoor training levels. Due to increased intramuscular water, the body will start to require high levels of water consumption. Since water has the ability to regulate temperature, taking Creatine will be to your advantage during outdoor activities. Not to mention, it will aid in boosting sports performance.

Wrapping things up

Getting a sense of whether you need creatine or whey protein for a workout supplement really just comes down to evaluating your needs. Both supplements offer a host of benefits, and both have scientific evidence to support them as valuable parts of a workout. 

Creatine will provide the boost you need to train harder and longer with increasing results. It is a fuel for building muscle and gaining endurance. While creatine will help build lean muscle, it is not properly and amino acid, nor is it a whole protein. 

Whey protein, on the other hand, is a whole protein. Whey protein will give you the full range of amino acids for muscle protein synthesis. It is also extremely accessible to your metabolism. The bioavailability of whey protein means it is easily transformed into building blocks for muscle.  Whey protein breaks down easily and packs on muscle when combined with an intense training regimen. 

Both creatine and whey proteins are solid workout and training supplements. Both creatine and whey protein have verifiable results to show that they both lead to solid muscle and endurance. Determine your goals, both long term, and short term, and the information in this guide should help you decide between creatine vs whey protein.

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