When you’re looking to maximize your athletic potential, supplements can really help you push the limits of your athletic performance. But like anything else, it’s the little things that make the difference. This may seem simple, but nutritional timing, dosage, and how your product is taken can be very important to your overall success and performance results. Creatine and protein powder are two of the best supplements to supplement when you’re looking to increase muscle mass, strength and power, if not the best supplements to help you increase muscle size and strength. But can you mix creatine and protein powder together? Let’s dig in and see if it’s okay to take creatine and protein at the same time.
Creatine is a nonessential dietary protein-like compound produced primarily by the kidneys and liver. Creatine is composed of three amino acids: L-glycine, L-arginine and L-methionine.
About half of your body’s creatine reserves are obtained through diet and synthesized in the body. Creatine is found in protein, especially lean proteins like chicken, beef, and tuna. The rest is made from amino acids in the liver and kidneys. On average, a well-rounded diet consisting of lean protein, high-quality carbohydrates, and healthy fats provides 1-2 grams of creatine per day.
About 95% of the creatine in the body is stored in muscle cells as creatine phosphate. Supplementation increases creatine phosphate stores, which causes greater changes in energy production, resulting in greater muscle strength and power building. Phosphocreatine helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
During anaerobic exercise (without oxygen), creatine phosphate is used to generate ATP – the energy source used by cells during exercise. This is the so-called phosphagen system, a form of anaerobic metabolism.
Creatine can significantly increase intramuscular phosphocreatine stores. It has been shown to improve the energy supply of the phosphogen system, thereby increasing the maximum ability to resynthesize adenosine triphosphate (ATP) via non-oxidative pathways, thereby increasing performance, strength and power.right).
Protein is one of three macronutrients and consists of 20 amino acids in their simplest molecular form. Protein causes greater changes in muscle growth, size and volume by inhibiting muscle mass breakdown and increasing muscle protein synthesis.
Protein comes from animal or plant sources, such as lean meats, and plant foods such as beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Animal protein is generally considered the more rapidly absorbed and more anabolic form of protein compared to plant protein.
No matter what source you choose, getting enough protein in your diet is important to aid in the muscle building and recovery process. Most people don’t consume enough protein to build muscle or support their athletic goals. Supplementing with protein, such as whey protein isolate, can be very helpful and beneficial in supporting greater muscle growth and recovery.
Now it’s time for the long-awaited question. Can you mix creatine with protein powder? Yes, you can, and you should. The reason is as follows.
Most creatine is odorless and easily soluble, so it can be easily added to protein powders. So you won’t even taste it. When the body gets the amino acid from whey protein supplements, methionine pairs with arginine and glycine to create creatine. So in addition to mixing creatine with protein, protein powders will additionally synthesize some level of creatine.
Creatine works differently than most supplements. It does not ignore acute effects, meaning it does not take effect immediately after ingestion or supplementation.What matters is the dosage over time Effectively increases creatine stores in skeletal muscle cells. Therefore, continued supplementation will help induce greater changes in performance results and body composition.
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Protein, about the same. You cannot simply eat or supplement with protein and get acute benefits. Protein must be continuously included in the diet as a major nutrient to induce anabolic and compositional changes. So, pairing creatine with protein will help produce better results and be a powerful combination.
Now, let’s discuss why combining creatine and protein is a good idea.
To be clear, the research is somewhat conflicted about the exact timing of when to take creatine.
Some studies suggest that creatine should be taken before a workout, while others suggest that it should be taken immediately after a workout. Considering that the direct cause of creatine is ATP production, it should presumably be supplemented before a workout. Other theories suggest that creatine is most effective after a workout, based on the assumption that your muscles are depleted of nutrients and absorb and synthesize creatine at a faster rate.
A study published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition The effects of pre- and post-workout creatine monohydrate supplementation on body composition and strength were studied. Nineteen study participants were randomly assigned to take 5 grams of creatine post-workout or pre-workout for 4 weeks.
Studies have found that creatine intake immediately after a workout is superior to pre-workout in terms of body composition and strength (right). The main limitations of this study include the small sample size and short duration of treatment.
Another 32-week study of 32 older male participants also found that creatine supplementation improved muscle strength and post-exercise creatine supplementation increased lean tissue mass to a greater extent than resistance training alone.right).
Other studies have shown no difference between pre- and post-workout creatine supplementation (right). However, according to the results, Studies do show that taking creatine closer to the time period before or after exercise than at other times of the day produces better and more effective results.
The same principle applies to proteins. It’s important to keep muscle tissue charged with the energy it needs to maximize performance. Drinking a protein shake before a workout can help raise amino acid levels in the blood at a faster rate than eating food alone. This brief surge of amino acids is called hyperaminoacidemia, and it stimulates more muscle protein synthesis. It is equally important to take a high intake of amino acids after a workout, as it will aid the muscle rebuilding process and optimize post-workout recovery.
Take it before, after, or both with your protein, mixed with creatine for best results. If performance and gains are the focus, look for whey protein isolate and advanced creatine, such as Kre-Alkalyn. You’ll improve your athletic performance and gain more strength and power from your workouts.