Difference between Creatine and Protein

People talk a lot about healthy nutrition and workouts, and the time when someone talking to you about protein and creatine was considered a fitness junkie is long gone. Today there is a higher degree of interest in what it means to have a smart and balanced diet paired with a fit body, and you simply cannot miss out on the conversation anymore. So do you know the difference between creatine and protein, for example? Read on and you might just pitch in to the conversation next time.


Creatine vs Protein
Image of creatine powder to be used as a supplement

Creatine is a substance identified in 1832 by Michel Eugene Chevreul. He named it creatine from kreas, the Greek word for meat, since it was found in the skeletal muscle. The substance is a nitrogenous organic acid responsible for the energy supply of the body, especially for the muscle.

Athletes, bodybuilders and all other sportsmen practicing sports which entail sudden bursts of energy, may use creatine supplements. It improves endurance and allows you to do more reps (repetitions). Creatine supplements work for body building only if the person taking them takes advantage of the energy boost and hits the gym. There is an initial weight gain, which is mainly water. This water is then pulled into the muscle cells which then increase protein synthesis, allowing the consumer to work out more and more intensely.

There are concerns regarding the fact that creatine may be bad for your body as it affects the liver and kidneys, although research has shown no clear signs of harm. However dehydration is one of the problems regarding these supplements, and some people may be allergic to them. Also, long term consumption may lead to increased formaldehyde production, the effect of which is unknown.

foods rich in protein
Picture of foods rich in protein

Protein is a macronutrient which plays an important role in building muscle. Other body functions of the protein consist of catalyzing metabolic reactions, DNA replication, making antibodies for the immune system, making hormones and enzymes, carrying (transporting oxygen through the blood) and storing things (storing iron in the liver). Along with fat and carbohydrates, proteins provide the body with calories which they burn during every type of activity. When broken down in the body, proteins help build muscle mass and metabolism. Protein deficiency means growth problems, shrinkage of muscle tissue, diarrhea, fatty liver, anemia and a weak immune system among others.

We take our proteins from food such as meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, soy products, nuts, fish, grains and vegetables. Sportsmen may also take whey protein to increase performance during a workout. The recommended amount of protein a person should eat a day is 10-35% of the entire caloric intake. Eating too much protein, on the other hand, can have its side effects, doctors warning that the kidneys are the most affected organs in these cases.

Creatine vs Protein

So what is the difference between creatine and protein?

Basically, the body produces creatine in small amounts and it is made out of protein molecules which play an important part in the entire body function. Creatine is turned into energy which is stored in the muscles, helping with intense workouts. Protein helps tissue repair and muscle growth. Supplements can be taken for both creatine as well as protein, but they should not necessarily be combined.

There are also differences in the way in which supplements work. Protein is best taken right before work-outs as it is rapidly absorbed in the bloodstream and it produces the amino-acids needed for muscle building. Creatine is best for maintenance and storing periods and supplements are best taken after the workout as they might cause dehydration.

A good protein intake is vital for any human being, and supplements can also be taken by people who are not working out or looking to build body mass. The effects of protein deficiency are many and are usually correlated to malnutrition. Creatine, on the other hand, is only good for workouts and increasing body mass. Also, there are more severe consequences to a hyperproteic diet than there are to taking creatine supplements.

Comparison Chart

Creatine Protein
Found in the skeletal muscle and in very small amounts in other organs Makes up the body, plays important roles in many functions
Creatine levels can be increased by consuming supplements Protein intake can be increased by consuming various types of food or by taking supplements
Stored in the muscles, used as energy during workout or sports such as football which imply bursts of energy Is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream
Potentially harmful to kidneys; may cause dehydration Hyperproteic diets affect the kidneys
Supplements are a personal choice of people looking to increase body mass Protein deficiency can have severe effects on the body