Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: April 26, 2021

Trying to find an optimum combo of multiple sports supplements, perfectly balanced nutrition, and training regimen every day may be overwhelming.

Wrong choices put you at risk of wasting money, harming the supplement effectiveness, even your health.

And you just want to maximize the muscle-building results, energy production, and strength during your bodybuilding or weight training, high-intensity workouts, and other sports endeavors.

It’s particularly debatable whether taking widely popular whey protein and creatine supplements together is additionally beneficial.

This article answers many vexed questions about mixing creatine with protein.

So, keep reading.

Is Mixing Creatine With Protein Supplements Safe?

protein powder in a scoop

It’s generally considered safe for healthy adults to use a creatine supplement with whey or another protein powder.

What’s more, it’s convenient and can be beneficial.

Just make sure you don’t exceed the recommended intake per day and be aware of how they may interact with other supplements and medications you’re taking. [1] [2]

“When used orally at appropriate doses, creatine is likely safe to take for up to five years. However, there is concern that creatine taken in high doses is possibly unsafe and could damage the liver, kidneys or heart.” Mayo Clinic

That’s why it’s always wise to seek professional medical advice first, especially for long-term use.

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The Benefits of Mixing Protein and Creatine

man stretching outdoors

One of the safest, most effective, affordable, and commonly used forms of creatine is creatine monohydrate.

And here’s why you should mix it with your protein.

1. It enhances muscle endurance, strength, and power.

Phosphocreatine is a compound your body converts into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and uses as a primary energy source for muscle contractions.

It produces strong contractions needed to high-intensity movements such as weight lifting and jumping.

2. It provides quick energy bursts and greater strength.

It also provides you with enough energy during short-burst high-intensity endurance, and resistance training like lifting heavy weights, sprinting, and similar types of activities. [3]

However, besides providing quick energy bursts and greater strength, creatine doesn’t prevent muscle damage. [4]

And that’s where a top-quality whey protein supplement comes into play.

3. It enhances tissue repair and recovery.

woman in a muscle therapy

It’s popular among bodybuilders and other athletes to drink a whey protein shake because whey proteins get absorbed quickly and are metabolized directly into your muscle tissue. [5]

More importantly, a whey protein supplement provides your body with Leucine and other valuable branched-chain amino acids (BCAA).

These building blocks of proteins promote muscle protein synthesis and tissue repair, maximize muscle growth and exercise performance.

They prevent muscle strain, and enhance the recovery process after exhaustive resistance training. [6] [7]

4. It increases muscle mass and enhances performance.

When used in combination, your body can absorb more creatine than when used separately, plus it utilizes less sugar to transport creatine to your muscles, supporting a low-carb diet regimen. [8] [9]

Creatine also reduces the oxidation of Leucine, an essential BCAA you get from whey protein supplementation to improve muscle protein synthesis, prevent short-term muscle loss, and support the long-term muscle-building process effectively. [10]

Now you have the necessary information on the safety, difference, functions, and benefits of both supplements, including the scientific evidence behind each fact.

Let’s get to another relevant point - ways to use them both in combination to increase muscle mass and achieve your other goals in the gym.

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When Is the Best Time to Take Them?

woman drinking in a tumbler

Based on research, the optimal time to take protein and creatine together may be after workouts. [12] [13] [14]

Timing is often critical to getting the most out of supplements.

Since many people consider creatine a pre-workout and protein a post-workout supplement, you may be in doubt when it’s best to take them combined.

The ideal time frame for maximized benefits may be within half an hour of finishing your workout when your “starving” muscles are most receptive to the nutrients.

Mixing creatine with your post-workout whey protein shake helps restore energy balance, improve rehydration, prevent muscle breakdown, and kickstart recovery.

Experts advise you also to get some sort of carbs to increase your body’s ability to uptake creatine and further boost your muscle tissue recovery.

Combined with protein, fast-digesting simple sugar like cyclic dextrose can give your body rapid replenishment.

That’s because your muscles absorb the amino acids and sugars better post-exercise when your glycogen levels are low, and insulin levels are high.

How to Combine Them for Maximum Gains

protein powder in a scoop and a tumbler

Research suggests to use 0.3g of creatine per kg (2.2lbs) of body weight per day for a week, then 3-5g a day to maintain high creatine levels stored in your muscle tissues. [15]

As for protein, experts claim that using around 20-25g, i.e. 1.6g/kg (0.73g/lbs) daily is sufficient for improving muscle gains in young adults. [16]

And according to some sports nutrition studies, it’s recommended to load up on creatine when you start consuming it.

It’s like investing in your body’s energy bank, where you accumulate energy stores in your muscles to prepare them for high-intensity exercise with increased strength and improved athletic performance. [17]

Generally, most people experience great results when mixing whey protein powder and creatine products in a 6:1 ratio.

To get the most out of both products, some seasoned athletes advise taking one scoop (around 32g) of whey protein powder and 5g of creatine together once a day after exercising.

Simply mix a scoop of creatine into your whey protein shake, adding lots of liquid like water or milk so that they dissolve well.

Or drink your creatine pill with your protein shake instead of water only.

And remember to add carbohydrates in your shake at double the quantity of whey protein to enhance creatine absorption and fuel up your muscles faster to get ready for the next strenuous workout.

Here’s why it matters:

Protein and carbs increase your insulin production. The insulin carries the creatine around your body.

So, the more whey protein you consume, the more insulin your body produces. As a result, higher insulin means your muscles absorb more creatine.

Related: Best Liquids & Supplements To Mix Creatine With

FAQs

Can You Take Creatine if Your Pre-Workout Has Creatine in It?

Yes, you can take creatine if your pre-workout already has creatine in it as long as you don’t exceed the total dosage recommended per day.

Check our blog to learn more about the differences between creatine and pre-workouts.

What Should You Not Mix Creatine With?

You should not mix creatine with: 

  • Caffeine, as it may decrease creatine efficacy
  • Alcohol because it may cause dehydration, slow down muscle recovery, and undo some other muscle-building creatine benefits
  • Ephedra (including supplements that contain it) because such a combination might increase the risk of stroke and other similar serious side effects

Particular medications that might damage the kidneys (e.g. nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and many others) [18]

What’s the Best Thing to Mix Creatine With?

The best thing to mix creatine with is healthy liquids like water, protein shake, almond or coconut milk, fresh cold-pressed juice, or smoothie to prevent dehydration and pack in all the essential vitamins, minerals, carbohydrate, and other valuable nutrients.

So, Can You Mix Creatine With Whey Protein?

While some experts might argue against mixing protein with creatine, others claim you can mix them for convenience because your body absorbs and utilizes them on an as-needed basis.

They’re generally safe and effective in enhancing exercise performance, muscle growth, and recovery, although they may not provide many additional benefits when taken together.

Essentially, it’s all a matter of preferences.

Now that you have all the necessary information, you may decide whether taking both whey protein and creatine supplements at the same time will help you increase muscle mass and reach your other fitness goals.

Feel free to share your experience with us.


References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-creatine/art-20347591
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-whey-protein/art-20363344
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407788/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29722252/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924180/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537849/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852797/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5469049/
  9. https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/11/3/article-p349.xml
  10. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/jappl.2001.91.3.1041
  11. https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/17/1/article-p70.xml
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23919405/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25993883/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5214805/
  15. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249320351_Creatine_Supplementation
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537849/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8760078/
  18. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-873/creatine

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