Is Creatine Better Than BCAAs?
When it comes to fitness supplements, BCAAs and creatine are the two amino supplements that have gained massive popularity and are often marketed to a comparable demand.
Active people like athletes and bodybuilders, who are commonly involved in sports and movements requiring rounds of energy, typically go for these supplements. Because these two supplements contribute to notable muscle output and recovery along with regular exercise, it's no doubt that there's really a high demand for them.
Despite ample information, studies backed by science, and reviews on these supplements from many reputable blogs and websites and seeking advice from health experts, most people still have a hard time deciding which of the two supplements they should choose. More importantly, those who are new to the fitness department often ask:
- Do these two supplements have the same benefits?
- Can both of them be consumed together?
And the most searched question is: Is creatine better than BCAAs?
To help end the confusion, this blog covers the following:
- What are BCAAs?
- What is Creatine?
- The Difference Between BCAAs and Creatine
- BCAAs vs. Creatine vs. Whey
- Glutamine vs. BCAA vs. Creatine: Which is the Best?
- Can I Mix Creatine with BCAAs?
- BCAA vs. Creatine: Which Should You Use?
What are BCAAs?
BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) refer to the three essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that contain a unique structure that contributes to muscle growth. The "branched-chain" indicates the part of the molecular structure which "branches" out to one side. These naturally occurring substances, which you get through your diet, give your body the important nutrients for muscle building and repair. The unique benefits of these three amino acids include:
- Leucine: Encourages muscle synthesis and fat burning
- Isoleucine: Reduces muscle loss and supports repair and growth
- Valine: Increases energy and speeds up muscle repair
Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, and eggs are rich in BCAAs, but those who are into sports and those who train their bodies may need more than what they can get from their food intake.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is also made from amino acids, but it is made up of different elements than BCAAs. These naturally occurring substances are arginine, glycine and methionine, and they provide the following benefits for bodybuilders, weightlifters and gym goers:
- Arginine: Enhances performance and speed of recovery.
- Glycine: Supports muscle growth
- Methionine: Provides pain relief and anti-inflammatory support
Creatine is also naturally found in muscle cells and the brain and can be sourced in foods like red meat and seafood. People who consume creatine orally benefit from enhanced athletic performance and boosted muscle mass. This chemical also dramatically aids muscles in producing strength and energy throughout heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise.
The Difference Between BCAAs and Creatine
Creatine vs. BCAA for Fat Loss
Without a doubt, BCAAs are a wonderful means for promoting weight loss and achieving a healthy weight goal. In addition, studies have proven that having a diet rich in amino acids can mean a lower risk of obesity. Studies also show that leucine has proven to be a powerful appetite suppressant while maintaining a more extended metabolism level or calorie burning.
As for creatine, while it was once thought only to be beneficial for gaining mass, a comparatively new study implies that this supplement is excellent for fat loss while maintaining muscle building.
For the fat loss round, the winner is BCAAs!
BCAA for Fat Loss: The Research
If you're on your journey towards losing weight, BCAAs may help your body decrease undesired fat more effectively. Branched-chain amino acids are claimed to help prevent weight gain and promote fat loss.
To support this claim, observational studies reveal that those taking an average of 15 grams of BCAAs from their daily food may have the chance of up to 30% lower risk of being overweight or obese than those consuming an average of 12 grams each day.
However, it's also important to share that those taking fewer BCAAs also consumed about 20 fewer grams of total protein daily, which may have affected the results.
During a 19-day study period, competitive wrestlers who consumed a high-protein, calorie-restricted diet supplemented with BCAAs shed 3.5 more pounds (1.6 kg) than those provided with a soy protein supplement.
Furthermore, it's worth noting that the BCAA group also lost 0.6% more body fat than the soy protein group, despite getting equivalent calories and almost less total protein every day.
In another study, weightlifters who were given 14 grams of BCAAs per day lost 1% more body fat throughout the eight-week study period than those who took 28 grams of whey protein per day. The BCAA group also got 4.4 lbs (2 kg), which means more muscle gain.
With that being said, these two studies may have some flaws. For example, there was little information about the composition of the supplement and diet taken, which could have affected the outcomes.
Creatine or BCAA for Cutting
In terms of cutting and losing weight, BCAAs are ideal while fasting because, in this process, your body will use fat and muscle tissue for energy when your body is in a daily calorie deficit mode, and you have empty glycogen stores.
Nevertheless, you can still take it at other times, such as after eating a meal. Hence, leave your worries about taking BCAAs at any time. When taking BCAAs, your food will be utilized for fuel first since using blood sugar is more manageable instead of discharging energy from cells.
A great time to consume BCAAs is when you're hungry. Taking BCAA pills or drinking a shake would become the best beneficial bridge during this time until your next meal or workout.
Muscle Growth: Is It BCAA or Creatine?
So the question is, is it BCAA or Creatine for muscle growth?
Quick answer: it depends!
People with low protein intake may opt to choose BCAAs because they are affordable, have low calories, and are an easy way to boost muscle protein synthesis.
On the other hand, creatine can help you get energy fast for strength building. So it may be the best choice for those who are powerlifting, for example.
BCAA vs. Creatine: Differences Summary
The primary declared benefit of BCAA supplements is being involved in protein synthesis in the body, so they may help maintain muscle mass growth. Unlike food, which needs to be digested to create this energy, BCAAs are fast-acting and enhance performance right away. BCAAs, therefore, can be the superior choice when hoping to achieve fat loss and when adhering to a low-calorie diet. BCAAs can easily be taken with other supplements and is ideal for fast-acting energy boosts and recovery.
Meanwhile, creatine is a famous supplement often taken in small doses just before doing a workout routine or in more significant doses for more extended periods of time, which is also known as 'Creatine loading. They say that supplementing with creatine helps boost endurance and helps you maximize your training sessions or exercise to the fullest.
Unlike BCAAs, creatine is stored in the body's cells, so it does not directly enhance muscle synthesis but creates the energy needed to perform more intensive workout routines. By empowering you to lift more and complete more reps, you are likely to see more impressive results sooner. Creatine also helps hydrate your muscles, so they look bigger and encourage growth.
BCAA vs. Whey vs. Creatine: What Are Their Differences?
You might ask, "What's the difference between BCAAs and whey protein?”
If you're a newbie to the realm of fitness, athletics, bodybuilding, and supplements, there may be questions about the different products ready for your fitness journey – and which ones you think you should be taking.
The battle between BCAA vs. Whey Protein is a common question usually asked online.
What is Whey Protein?
Well, from the name itself: whey. Whey protein comes from the whey that's left over after the milk is strained and curdled. As a result, it contains high bioavailable protein. Moreover, it's an excellent way to supplement your diet if your body still needs more protein than what you can get from protein-rich foods such as meat, tofu, beans, and dairy.
Because of this fact, many fitness experts and trainers highly suggest taking whey protein on a regular basis, especially before doing workouts, to ensure muscle energy and maximum athletic performance are achieved.
What's more, whey protein is particularly recommended for doing muscular repairing of "microtears" that come from an intense workout, so they can aid recovery and prevent you from experiencing after-workout extreme soreness or muscle weakness.
Bottom line: BCAAs, creatine, and whey protein are great fitness supplements, but BCAAs come in high-protein foods; whey protein comes from whey, and creatine comes naturally from muscle cells in the body.
BCAAs have a lower calorie content than whey protein, which makes them a better option if you're trying to lose weight or cut weight while still targeting to maintain your muscle. Moreover, they are also more quickly available than whey protein. They can also help early fatigue when training fasted.
Glutamine vs. BCAA vs. Creatine: Which is the Best?
All these supplements - glutamine, BCAA, and creative - have diverse roles in our bodies.
- Glutamine is needed for proper digestion and muscle soreness recovery.
- Creatine is required for ATP generation (Adenosine Triphosphate - molecule carrying energy in the cells. It gets chemical energy from food molecules breakdown and releases it to fuel other cellular processes) and strength building.
- BCAAs are essential amino acids for protein synthesis and muscle healing.
Our take is, all are best at their particular role. However, here's a priority guide we recommend: BCAA, creatine, and glutamine.
Can I Mix Creatine With BCAAs?
Yes, you can!
When the name of these products or supplements first rang a bell in the market, there were some mixed feelings and thoughts about combining creatine and BCAA. However, throughout some time, many studies have proven that mixing them is nothing to worry about.
In fact, many fitness experts and health gurus nowadays suggest consuming creatine and BCAA together.
Just a friendly reminder, it's vital to bear in mind that these are still classified drugs in essence, and they can't be easily mixed like regular food items. Therefore, you must obey a scientific method of combining them.
If you have a physical trainer, it's highly suggested that you seek their help determining the correct amount of ratio and proportion for you.
Benefits of Mixing BCAA and Creatine
Health and fitness enthusiasts significantly approve of taking BCAA and creatine together. These supplements have been proven to provide enormous benefits for them.
When taken together, they are a source of the much-needed balance between strength and endurance. Also, due to their complementary nature, they are effective together, helping your workout sessions become more productive than you can imagine.
BCAA vs. Creatine: Which Should You Use?
There is no clear answer to this question because whichever supplement is best for you completely depends on your goals and body composition. However, if you have low protein intake, are eager to build lean muscle, or are focused on cutting rather than building bulk, BCAA supplements may be your best option. Alternatively, if you are seeking that pumped-up look with muscles that appear larger and have more mass, using a creatine supplement may be the route you are looking for. Again, it may be best to try both products and see whichever works best with your body type and routine.
Best of all, both of these supplements can be safely consumed in partnership with one another. That means you can get the best of the energy boost and muscle-building qualities that they provide.
BCAAs vs. Creatine: Final Thoughts
Is creatine better than BCAA? There's no apparent winner between BCAA vs. creatine. Different people have different needs.
As mentioned, both can be consumed at different times within the same day. You have to understand the features and benefits of the two and then choose accordingly.
Our take is to have creatine for strength training and building muscle mass. Meanwhile, BCAA supplements are better for enhancing lean muscle. Taking both BCAAs and creatine will help you reach your health goals faster and offer better results.
Find out whether creatine or BCAA supplements are what your body is looking for. Shop high-quality versions of both products via SupplementSource.ca and kick your workout regime into high gear with naturally occurring benefits that boost your ability to lift, run, jump and pump to the best of your ability.