BCAA Vs Creatine - Which One To Choose?
Posted on July 30 2019
BCAA and Creatine are the 2 amino supplements that have long retained the star place among the fitness supplements. They are both seemingly similar and are often marketed to a similar audience. Usually, athletes, bodybuilders, those that take part in sports and activities that involve bursts of energy go for these supplements. Both of them can lead to significant muscle output and recovery when combined with regular exercise.
As much as their growing popularity, a kind of confusion and a mixture of opinion surrounds these supplements, for a good reason.
In spite of having gotten sufficient information on these supplements through several blogs and taking advice from fitness experts, most of you still find it a trouble to decide, which among the 2 supplements should you choose? Especially, the ones who are new into the fitness field encounter 2 major doubts about them:
1) Do these supplements perform the same task and give the same benefit?
2) Can both the supplements be combined or taken together?
If the confusion has led you to face the adversity, this article is for you…
Also Read: Should You Take Creatine On Rest Days?
Knowing The Difference Between Creatine & BCAA Is The Key To Understanding
Let’s go ahead with a basic understanding of what amino acids are. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which play a vital role in every bodily function. Our body doesn’t produce 9 of the 20 amino acids. These are termed essential amino acids, the requirement of which can be met either through high protein diet, protein powders or amino supplements. The remaining amino acids which the body can synthesize on its own are the non-essential amino acids.
The advantage of taking amino supplements is that they help you get direct access to the amino and aim for quicker results.
Also Read: Can Women Use Creatine Supplement? Or Is It Only For Men?
Both BCAA and Creatine have unique properties and benefits. You can decide on these supplements based on your fitness goals.
BCAA means the branched-chain amino acids that comprise of the 3 essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine. When amino supplements themselves are fast-acting, BCAAs are even faster because they are different from the other amino acids in that they are broken down primarily in the muscles instead of liver. Moreover, the BCAA in BCAA supplements are in free-form. BCAA gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream without requiring any digestion.
1. Leucine: Stimulates muscle protein synthesis and helps burn fat
2. Isoleucine: Aids in quick recovery and prevents muscle loss
3. Valine: Boosts energy and does muscle repairing
Creatine is an amino acid, which is a tripeptide molecule made up of arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine is produced by the body naturally. It primarily enhances exercise performance by creating ATP which is essentially the energy currency of the body.
1. Arginine: Improves exercise performance and recovery
2. Glycine: Promotes muscle growth
3. Methionine: Has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving properties
Function Of BCAA
As already told, BCAA does not require any pre-digestion. It directly gets absorbed into the bloodstream. BCAA fuels your workout through a process called gluconeogenesis where it burns itself as fuel and preserves the muscle from breakdown. Because of this nature, BCAA is useful to be taken during an intense workout and can be used as a standalone supplement (especially in the carb-fasted state). You don’t have to worry about getting energy through food which needs to pass through the digestive system first. BCAA performs as a quick energy source and the combination of the 3 amino acids work efficiently in muscle synthesis.
1. Helps you work harder without getting fatigued
2. Helps enhance protein synthesis and achieve lean muscles
3. Fuels your muscles for training
4. Promotes fat loss
5. Best to be taken when on a low-calorie diet
6. Prevents the breakdown of muscles and aids in muscle recovery
7. Suitable to be used as a standalone supplement or as a part of a blend
Also Read: BCAA Vs Glutamine- Which Supplement To Choose?
Function Of Creatine
Creatine, unlike the BCAA, doesn’t get absorbed into the bloodstream directly. Instead, it gets stored in the skeletal muscle as Creatine Phosphate, where it loses a phosphate molecule to ADP to convert into ATP, which performs as an energy source. Creatine doesn’t synthesize muscles directly, unlike protein or BCAA. It simply gives you more endurance to do more reps and this promotes muscle growth.
1. Helps increase endurance
2. Reduces recovery time
3. Promotes muscle growth
4. Enhances muscle size due to water retention.
5. Reduces fatigue
When Is BCAA Supplementation Favourable?
1. If you want lean muscles while cutting fat.
2. When you are on a low-calorie diet and not getting enough protein.
3. Useful for aerobic exercises like cardio, gymnastics, aerobics, HIIT, strength training, athletics.
4. Is suitable to be taken before and during the workout to get maximum fuel and to stay in an anabolic state.
5. Especially suitable for vegetarians as it is found mainly in animal foods.
Also Read: Effect Of Combination Of BCAA & Caffeine On Athletic Performance
When Is Creatine Supplementation Favourable?
1. If you want to bulk up and gain strength.
2. If strength and muscle mass are your primary goals.
3. To get potential energy required for heavier, longer workout sessions which could lead to increased muscle mass.
4. Creatine draws in more water into the muscles, which makes them appear larger.
5. Gives effective results when taken pre-workout like HIIT (sprinting, weight lifting, bodyweight exercises like pushups).
6. Suitable to be used pre-workout.
7. Suitable to be consumed as a blend (like Protein+Creatine) rather than as a single supplement.
8. Especially suitable for vegetarians as it is found mainly in animal foods.
Now comes the answer to your final doubt…. Can BCAA & Creatine be taken together?
Sure, you can definitely combine the 2 supplements but keep in mind not to overwork your body. These are performance-enhancing supplements which should be taken judiciously. It is better to keep it for a short time as your body already produces Creatine naturally.
Consuming BCAA and Creatine is more like consuming oatmeal and sweet potato together, one as a protein source and other as an energy source. Combining the duo may lead to extra power and endurance.
Also Read: Combined Effect Of BCAA & L-Citrulline For Athletic Performance
BCAA and Creatine are super supplements which come with unique benefits… It seems like the battle between the 2 supplements has not been won yet!
Reaping the benefits of fitness supplements isn’t as simple as buying them. You must do your part too…Make healthy lifestyle choices and exercise regularly…
Also read: 3 Facts You Must Know About BCAA
Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?
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wow, thanks, you helped me make my decision!
amazing thanks for the info I finally understand the difference
What an article!! serious information in a very well understandable way… like it!
Thanks you !! I did know if I can mix both great info
Very well define
I was very curiously searching for what is bcaa drink. This article helped a lot. Thank you very much for sharing this great information.
Hi, I was really in dilemma regarding these two supplements. But after reading your detailed post, I’m sure now when should I go with Creatine and when for BCAA. I think right now I need Creatine as my primary goal is to increase muscle mass and get bulk. :-)