BCAA vs Creatine – What Are The Differences?
BCAA or Creatine? (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Human Window Staff
By Human Window Staff
Updated on May 15, 2019

If you’re struggling to pick between BCAA and Creatine, then you probably are looking to find out which of these popular supplements is best for your personal situation.

In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at both Creatine and BCAA supplements to see what they are used for and whether you can take them together.

The health and fitness supplements industry has exploded in recent years, and that means there is more choice than ever when it comes to the products that you can buy to support your fitness goals.

However, the extra choice and information can sometimes make it difficult to pick out the very best supplements for your own situation.

This guide to BCAAs and Creatine will bring you everything you need to know about these specific supplements, so you can choose which is best to support you on your journey.

We’re going to break this article up into the following sections:

• What are BCAA Supplements?
• What is Creatine?
• BCAA vs Creatine
• Can You Take BCAA and Creatine Together?
• Anything Else to Consider?
• Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts

So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at both Creatine and BCAA supplements to see where they stand.

What are BCAA Supplements?

Performance Lab Sport BCAA
Performance Lab Sport BCAA (Photo: Performance Lab)

You probably know about BCAA supplements if you’ve landed on this article, but let’s cover the basics now anyhow.

In case you didn’t know, BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are a specific group of three amino acids – namely, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.

There are nine ‘essential’ Amino Acids that your body requires as it cannot produce them internally. BCAAs refer to three of these nine Amino Acids – Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.

In case you didn’t know, Amino Acids are often referred to as the ‘building blocks’ of protein. And we all know that protein supports the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.

That’s primarily why BCAA supplements have become incredibly popular in recent years, as more and more people look to for products to support their health and fitness goals.

BCAA supplements are usually sold in a ratio of 2:1:1 of Leucine to Isoleucine to Valine, which is intended to mimic the ratio found in the human body.

If you’re looking to find the best BCAA supplements on the market, then be sure to check out our dedicated guide here at HUMAN WINDOW.

BCAA supplements come in various shapes and sizes. Some supplements are flavored powders which can be mixed with water like pre workout supplements. Other BCAA supplements come as tablets, which you can take with a glass of water.

There is lots of debate about when is best to take your BCAA supplement. Generally speaking, though, most people choose to take BCAA supplements either just before, or just after exercise.

So, now that we’ve covered the basics about BCAA supplements, it’s time to take a closer look at Creatine.

What is Creatine?

Creatine Monohydrate is the most popular form of Creatine and is also the cheapest. You'll find it in many pre workout supplements (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Creatine Monohydrate is the most popular form of Creatine and is also the cheapest. You’ll find it in many pre workout supplements (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Creatine is one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements around. It is used by gym goers and athletes alike to help support their goals.

Creatine Monohydrate is the most popular and most affordable type of Creatine supplement. It is available as a standalone supplement and is also added to other products such as pre workouts.

As far as supplements go, Creatine is probably one of the most extensively studied substances around.

It is claimed to have various benefits for those who take it when it comes to supporting muscle growth and athletic performance.

Generally speaking, the two widely claimed benefits of taking Creatine is to support muscle building and athletic performance.

Creatine is also one of the more affordable supplements out there, which is perhaps another reason for its popularity.

Creatine is usually taken in small doses just before a workout, or in larger doses over long periods to help support your fitness goals.

So, not only is Creatine one of the most widely researched supplements on the market, it is also one of the most popular ones.

Now that we’ve taken a detailed look at Creatine, it’s time to focus on how it measures up when compared to BCAA supplements.

BCAA vs Creatine

Pre workout supplements are incredibly popular these days (Photo: Adobe Stock)
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

So, now it’s time to take a look at BCAA and Creatine and see how they compare.

As we’ve already mentioned, BCAA supplements contain Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, which are three of the nine essential Amino Acids that your body needs from your diet.

It is claimed that taking BCAA supplements can help to support the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, seeing as they are three of the ‘building blocks’ of protein in the body.

Many athletes and bodybuilders choose to take BCAA supplements to help support their health and fitness goals.

So, to summarize, the main claimed benefit of BCAA supplements is that because they are involved in protein synthesis in the body, they may contribute to the maintenance and growth of muscle mass.

As we mentioned above, Creatine is a popular supplement which is usually taken in small doses just before a workout, or in larger doses over longer periods of time, known as ‘Creatine loading’.

It is widely claimed that supplementing with Creatine could help to boost endurance and help you get the most out of your training sessions or exercise.

Unlike BCAA supplements, Creatine doesn’t contain any Amino Acids or protein, and as such it will not contribute directly to protein synthesis.

Instead, it is usually used as a supplement to ‘boost’ performance and help support your health and fitness goals in that way.

Can You Take BCAA and Creatine Together?

So, what about taking BCAAs and Creatine together?

For whatever reason, you may want to add both BCAAs and Creatine to your supplement stack. The question many people often ask is whether it’s OK to take them both together or not.

Generally speaking, it should be fine to take BCAAs and Creatine together, as they are completely different supplements that work in different ways.

That being said, it’s important to make sure that the supplements you take are part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.

You should be responsible with your supplements and not look to take too many of them at one time.

It’s generally a good idea not to overdo it in terms of supplements. Making sure that you are sticking to a good diet and exercise regime should come before thinking about combining BCAAs with Creatine.

If you’re wondering whether BCAAs or other supplements will break your fast (if you practice intermittent fasting), then be sure to check out our dedicated guide.

Anything Else to Consider?

As we mentioned above, supplements should only be used as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

It’s always a good idea not to overdo it on the supplements – and you should only think about taking things such as BCAAs or Creatine if you are already eating right, exercising regularly and getting plenty of rest.

Supplements are not substitutes for real food and good nutrition. You should be able to get all of the macronutrients and micronutrients you need by following a balanced and healthy diet.

It’s best to be responsible when it comes to using supplements. They can be good tools to support your goals, but you shouldn’t overdo it or buy into the marketing hype too much.

You should also speak to a certified medical professional before thinking about taking any new supplement for the first time.

Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts

So, that brings us to the end of our look at BCAA vs Creatine.

We’ve walked you through the basics about BCAA supplements and why these products which contain Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine have become so popular in recent years.

We’ve explained how BCAAs are part of the ‘building blocks’ of protein in the body, and have detailed how protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.

We have also explained the basics of Creatine and why it is one of the most popular bodybuilding and fitness supplements on the market.

Finally, we also explained the main differences between BCAAs and Creatine.

So to summarize, both BCAA and Creatine supplements can be used as part of healthy diet and lifestyle to support your fitness goals, and they both work in different ways.