Unless you are completely and totally new to the world of bodybuilding, you have probably heard of both whey protein and creatine. If not, this article should serve as a good introduction to the basics. These are probably the two most popular bodybuilding supplements in the world, so you should become familiar with them if you intend to get serious about your efforts.
But how do these substances differ? Well, they are almost opposites because of the fact that they work in two completely different ways. Simply put, whey protein is a nutritional supplement that is intended to provide the body with all the protein it needs in a concentrated form. Creatine is a performance-enhancer that works by increasing the body’s store of readily available energy. This allows for longer and more intense workouts, which is why many bodybuilders swear by the effectiveness of creatine.
How Does Whey Protein Work?
Whey protein is a by-product of the cheesemaking process. After the milk has been allowed to curdle, and after all the solids have been strained out, whey is the liquid that remains. It is interesting to note that human breast milk contains a large amount of whey protein.
One of the distinct advantages of whey protein is that it contains all the essential amino acids that are necessary for proper growth and maintenance. Amino acids are also highly essential for proper muscle growth. Amino acid derivatives make up a large percentage of muscle and organ tissues. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to maintain optimal health. Thankfully, your body can produce most of these amino acids. There are nine amino acids that your body cannot produce, so these must be obtained from food. Whey protein contains all nine of these essential amino acids while containing very little fat, in spite of being a dairy product.
Because of its high protein content, whey induces an anabolic reaction in the muscles. An anabolic reaction is a chemical reaction that takes place inside of your muscles. Anabolic reactions are those in which the body builds itself up and creates new tissue. The opposite would be a catabolic reaction, which involves a breaking down of bio-material.
Research has repeatedly shown that protein supplementation creates an increase in body weight without producing any significant fat. However, the study also found that overeaters didn’t gain as much weight when their protein intake was removed. This suggests that protein can actually cause you to gain more fat if combined with overeating.
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine works differently than a simple protein supplement. It does not contain protein, but it does help the body to process proteins and other forms of energy more efficiently. Creatine is a natural substance that the body produces in small quantities.
For a long time, there wasn’t a lot of good research about creatine and its effects on the human body. However, the widespread use of creatine as a fitness supplement has prompted more extensive studies that have shed new light on the matter.
To understand how creatine works, you have to understand two substances called ATP and ADP. These are basically the energy currency of the body. All the energy that your body takes in will be converted to one of these two substances. Think of it like an international currency exchange: Your body takes in all kinds of energy from various sources, but all of this energy needs to be converted into a format that the body can use. ATP and ADP can change into one another as needed since both fulfill a similar function.
Creatine works by increasing your body’s store of ATP. When this substance is absorbed, it becomes creatine phosphate. This creatine phosphate is used to aid the body’s production of ATP. This delivers more energy to the muscles and thus, more fuel for growth. Your muscles naturally contain creatine anyway, so you aren’t adding anything that isn’t supposed to be there.
Curiously, research has shown that creatine does not really aid very much in the area of workout endurance. Since more energy is being delivered to the muscles in a faster way, one would expect the opposite. However, this can be explained by the fact that your body uses its excess ATP to produce muscle and build the body. Since all the energy is going toward these anabolic reactions, it won’t make a huge difference in your physical endurance.
So, creatine is intended to help you get the most out of every workout. It isn’t meant to boost your endurance, and it provides no nutritional value. It isn’t a steroid or anything even remotely like one, but it does produce an anabolic reaction that aids in the building of muscle.
Are There Safety Risks For Either Of These Supplements?
Both of these substances are considered to be safe. However, it wouldn’t be smart just to assume that the experts are telling you the truth. Sometimes “experts” are bought and paid for, and sometimes they are just plain wrong. Thus, you should do your research and determine if these supplements are safe for you.
The following study concluded that creatine did not carry any significant health risks when consumed at normal levels. This study was conducted over the course of 21 months, so it may not measure all possible long-term factors.
Similar studies have often found that creatine has no negative side effects that science can identify. That being said, there is one side effect: a slight increase in body weight. However, this weight gain will probably be due to muscle gain rather than excess fat.
Conclusion: Which Is Better?
Now we come to the judgment. Which one of these supplements is better? It’s hard to say. Both of these substances seem to be very safe, and both of them have been proven to have certain benefits. The only fair conclusion, in this case, is to say that both of these supplements are equally effective. We cannot really judge creatine by the standards of whey protein (or vice versa) because these supplements are intended for two different purposes.
For best results, we would recommend using both whey protein and creatine. Because these products are made for two different purposes, there is no conflict when using them. Whey protein is a great way to give your muscles the fuel they need for continued expansion, and creatine is a great way of providing them with all the ATP they need. By using these two products together, you get a potent 1-2 punch that helps your muscles in multiple ways.
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