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Creatine & Protein Shakes

By Joseph Eitel

Creatine and protein are types of amino acids found both in nature and in supplement form. Creatine and protein shakes are commonly used by strength-training athletes looking to improve their muscle mass and performance. As with any supplement, you should consult your doctor to discuss possible drug interactions and risks associated with taking creatine or protein supplements.

The Facts

Creatine and protein shakes are commonly used by weightlifters and athletes looking to bulk up or improve their overall physical fitness levels. Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in fish and meat and produced naturally in the liver, kidneys and pancreas, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Protein shakes are supplements used to fuel the body with protein in an effort to build muscle.


Creatine works by supplying the muscles with additional energy during a workout. This can help you increase the intensity of your workouts, although it has been shown to be ineffective for some people, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes. Protein powders are primarily used immediately following a workout to help replenish the body with much-needed proteins lost during an intense lifting session. Muscles are made of protein, considered the building block of all bodily tissues.


Creatine supplements can be purchased in powder, pill, tablet, liquid or energy-bar form. The most common, and most studied, type of creatine blend is called creatine monohydrate. The most common types of protein shakes are available as powders that are mixed with water, milk or juice. Whey protein is the most common type of protein shake on the market, with soy protein blends being the top choice for vegetarians.


When taking creatine supplements, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that adults complete their “loading” phase by taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate four times a day for one week. Next, begin your “maintenance” phase by taking 2 to 5 g per day. The average adult should consume between 46 and 56 g of protein per day. If you are looking to build muscle mass, however, aim for 1 g of protein per pound of body weight, University of New Hampshire dietitian Nancy Clarke recommends. Never take protein or creatine supplements without first consulting your doctor.


Creatine is generally recognized as safe, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports; however, studies on the topic of creatine supplementation are ongoing as of 2010. Creatine supplementation may cause negative interactions with some medications, and may not be a healthy choice for people with certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease. Likewise, taking too much protein can have negative side effects, including kidney problems and weight gain, Clarke adds. Always talk to your doctor before starting a creatine or protein supplementation program.

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