There have been several controversies regarding the differences between taking whey protein powder and amino acids. People new to working out are also often stuck in the middle of both supplements.
However, is it a good thing to take both? Which of them is better? What are the similarities and differences between the two?
If you’re interested to know if you can take these two supplements together, keep reading.
So, Can I Take Whey Protein and Amino Acids Together?
Yes, it is possible to take the two supplements simultaneously. However, we recommend taking BCAAs pre-workout rather than post-workout.
Rich in leucine, isoleucine, and valine, BCAAs are absorbed into the bloodstream faster than protein. They make up 30% of the protein mass in the muscles. Meanwhile, leucine is a precursor to muscle protein synthesis and may also maintain the glycogen reserves that fuel your muscle during a workout.
BCAAs have significant benefits, but a quality protein powder is essential for overall muscle growth and health. Additionally, protein supplements have all the essential amino acids, while BCCAs only contain specific branched-chain amino acids.
What is Whey Protein Powder?
Whey protein powder is made from the whey left after milk has been strained and curdled. It is a great way to supplement your diet when you require more than what beans, meat, and so on can offer.
Also, it is high in easily digestible protein and repairs your muscles after a workout. It aids the muscles in recovery and ensures you don’t experience muscle breakdown or soreness after training.
Gym instructors and fitness personnel often recommend the daily consumption of the supplement, especially before a workout, to stimulate your muscles and keep your athletic performance at peak levels.
It also contains all the nine essential amino acids that enhance weight loss, healthy heart, muscle building, and low cholesterol. In addition, they help with proper body functioning.
What are Branched Chain Amino Acids, and Do They Increase Muscle Protein Synthesis?
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are amino acids believed to increase protein synthesis, lean muscle development, and athletic performance.
On average, BCAAs are lower in calories than whey protein, which presents them as a better option when trying to lose weight while maintaining muscle. They also help to prevent early fatigue when exercising without eating. It is an incomplete amino acid with only three amino acids: valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
Meanwhile, the three other amino acids deliver their functions together and give you the benefits you intend to derive from them. It is also absorbed into your blood more rapidly than protein.
Do You Need BCAAs?
First, BCAAs are far more expensive than whey protein. A 10-ounce can of BCAA supplements from a quality manufacturer is generally sold for $30, while a five-pound bag of whey protein is sold for $50.
Also, if you intend to lose weight while maintaining muscle, BCCAs are a way better option. However, some people prefer to use the supplements simultaneously as they complement each other.
Those who combine the two tend to see great results. You can pair a scoop of BCAAs with your pre-workout drink and then have a post-workout protein smoothie to balance the intake of both.
However, you don’t have to worry if you can’t get BCAAs. They provide significant benefits but are not compulsory for improving athletic performance. Taking whey protein alone can give you the desired results.
When Do You Take Amino Acids?
You can consume them before and during a workout to strengthen muscles and conserve glycogen stores. However, it’s best to take them with protein immediately after training.
Essential Amino Acids Vs. Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein isolate aids immune and digestive functions. It also helps to rebuild and enhance muscle recovery after a workout.
Whey is a high-quality, complete protein source that contains bioactive peptides from milk proteins and all the essential amino acids needed for protein synthesis. It improves overall protein and is better than other protein types as it contains BCAAs with a higher rate of absorption and consumption.
They are the building blocks of protein that power key body processes required for maintenance, development, and immunity. It provides easily digestible amino acids to boost energy and metabolism while maintaining muscle mass.
Should I Take BCAAs or Whey Protein Post-workout?
Whey isolate and amino acids help to recover after a workout session as they stimulate protein synthesis and repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue.
In 2006, a study in Experimental Gerontology affirmed that whey protein and essential amino acids are excellent sources of muscle protein synthesis even though amino acids have a more significant anabolic effect.
A bodybuilder can attain the 15-gram Branched Chain Amino Acid level by taking 20 to 30 grams of protein.
Whey protein Isolate can be a fantastic recovery supplement when combined with carbohydrates. You can scoop one or two scoops of whey protein isolate into your fruit smoothie.
How Do I Use Whey Protein Powders and BCAAs to Meet My Nutritional Goals?
Whey protein and BCAAs improve recovery and performance. However, you must figure out what you intend to achieve before comparing them.
To gain weight, you must increase your caloric and macronutrient intake. A whey protein drink between meals will increase your daily consumption and help you reach your goal faster. Amino acids help you lose pounds and get slimmer.
Post-workout amino acids benefit from repairing and rebuilding lean muscle tissue without the extra calories of a protein drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I take protein or amino acids after a workout?
Yes. You can take the two supplements post-workout as it repairs and rebuilds muscle tissues. They also enhance muscle recovery and prevent soreness after every workout session.
Which is better, amino or whey protein?
Both supplements are excellent and have their advantages. Amino acid supplements help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and enhance the free and smooth flow of blood. Meanwhile, whey protein powder’s digestive and immune function helps to repair muscle tissue and contains all nine amino acids.
Can I mix amino acids with a protein shake?
Yes, you can mix amino acids with a protein shake. However, we recommend taking amino acids before your workout other than with protein shakes after a workout. BCAAs are absorbed into your blood faster than protein and contain a high dose of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
So, to answer the question, you can take whey protein and amino acids together, but we recommend taking them as a pre-workout rather than post-workout.
If you found this article resourceful, check our other articles on ExpertFitness.org.
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Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.