Creatine HCL vs Monohydrate: Full Guide

By Amber SmithOct 12, 2022 4:00 AM
Elm and Rye Pre Workout Blend


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In this article, we will compare creatine HCL vs monohydrate to help you decide which is the best for your needs. Both of these substances have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to understand the differences before you make a decision. We will break down everything you need to know about both of these compounds, including their chemical structures, uses, and side effects. Let's get started. 

Best Creatine Pre Workout 

  1. Elm & Rye Pre Workout       

  2. Alpha Lion Super Human Pre

  3. AX Athlean X-Cite 

  4. 1st Phorm Project 1

  5. 5 Percent Nutrition All Day You May Natty Ratio BCAA Recovery Drink

  6. Xwerks Ignite 

  7. Pre JYM X Extreme Pre-Workout Formula

Creatine is one of - if not the most - popular supplement for gaining strength and size, and it's with good reason. Creatine has been used since lifting's golden era, so you might have even heard of or used creatine before. Although there are a few different forms now - monohydrate and hydrochloride being the two main ones  - not much about creatine has changed since its introduction. Each form does have its advantages though.

Bodybuilders looking to add muscle size and strength can benefit from creatine supplementation. Creatine is most effective when used in conjunction with bodybuilding, strength training, HIIT, and other explosive movements like plyometrics and sprinting (running and cycling).

What is creatine? 

Creatine is a supplement that comes from natural sources and helps with energy production. Although the human body can produce creatine (~1gram/day), it's mostly found in foods such as red meats or fish.

Although creatine is found in the muscles, it's also present in the liver and kidneys. Yet, not enough can be gained from dietary or endogenous sources to improve performance, which is why supplemental creatine may beneficial.

Creatine monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride both boost the amount of creatine your body can hold, although in different manners.

How does creatine work?

When ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is used for energy, it's converted to ADP (adenosine diphosphate). Creatine works by donating a phosphate group to ADP, which is then recycled back into ATP. 

This allows your body to have more ATP available, which can lead to increased power output. Although the mechanism is more complicated than that, it's ultimately what allows your body to perform better when taking creatine.

Creatine monohydrate has been studied the most out of all the forms and has been shown to be very effective in improving power output, strength, and muscle mass. Creatine hydrochloride (HCL) is a newer form that's gaining popularity because it doesn't need to be loaded and may have better absorption.

So, which one should you take? Let's take a closer look at each type. 

There are several types of creatine supplements on the market. They all (in theory) enhance muscle creatine uptake, although the most common and well-researched varieties are monohydrate and hydrochloride. The chemical differences between these two forms are slight, but they may make a big difference in your results.

The most frequently used form of creatine supplement is creatine monohydrate. Since the 1960s, bodybuilders have turned to creatine monohydrate as their supplementation of choice. Creatine monohydrate is made up of creatine plus a water molecule, allowing it to dissolve in your favorite beverage.

But more importantly, the water increases its absorption into the muscles, which are full of water. There is another form of monohydrate called anhydrous, where the water molecule has been removed. It may increase absorption rates, but it also tends to be pricier.

The most common form of creatine is creatine monohydrate, which is also the most studied. Because of this, we know more about how it can support muscle development than other forms. Benefits include an increased 1 rep max for squatting, increased vertical jump height, and reductions in 30 meter sprint time.

Creatine monohydrate has been shown to enhance total reps during exercises and can improve overall anaerobic capacity. It's also been proved to help with muscle damage reduction and increased rates of muscle repair after exercise. This implies that your strength will most likely grow without any negative side effects on recovery time.

The fact that creatine monohydrate necessitates a loading phase is one of the features that sets it apart from other medicines. The notion of priming the body with larger doses of creatine for a week, then reducing down to a normal dose, is known as loading.

The theory behind loading is that it allows you to saturate your muscles with creatine. This, in turn, may help reduce the amount of time it takes to see results. That being said, research on loading is conflicting and some studies have found no difference between those who did and didn't load.

If you don't want to load, you can still expect to see results from creatine monohydrate, it may just take a little longer. The other option is to increase your dosage, which we will discuss later on.

Hydrochloride (HCL) is another popular form of creatine that has been shown to be just as effective as monohydrate in most studies. HCL is made by combining creatine with hydrochloric acid, which is found in your stomach.

This process is thought to increase the absorption of creatine because it doesn't need to go through a loading phase. In fact, one study showed that HCL was absorbed 41% better than monohydrate. However, this study was small and more research is needed to confirm these results.

The main advantage of HCL over monohydrate is that you don't need to load. This means that you can start seeing results sooner and avoid any potential gastrointestinal issues that may come with loading. However, it's important to note that HCL is a newer form of creatine and more research is needed to confirm its long-term safety and effectiveness.

If you're looking for a creatine supplement that is easy on the stomach, HCL may be the way to go. However, if you want to stick with the most researched form of creatine, monohydrate is still your best bet.

No matter which form of creatine you choose, make sure to drink plenty of water and monitor your intake if you notice any gastrointestinal issues. Creatine is a safe and effective supplement when used properly, so don't be afraid to experiment with different forms to find the one that works best for you.

How much creatine HCL is equivalent to monohydrate?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, including your individual response to creatine. However, many experts suggest that the HCL form is about 30-40% more effective than monohydrate, so you may need a slightly smaller dose to achieve the same results. 

Ultimately, it's best to start with a lower dose of whichever form you choose and increase it gradually until you find the sweet spot. This will help minimize any side effects and ensure that you're getting the most out of your supplement.

Should I take creatine HCL every day?

The recommended dose of creatine HCL is between 0.03-0.05 grams per pound of body weight, which should be taken daily for optimal results. However, some people prefer to split their doses up into two or three smaller servings throughout the day.

If you decide to go this route, make sure that you're taking at least one serving before and after your workout. This will help ensure that your muscles are properly fueled for exercise and recovery.

No matter how you choose to take it, be sure to drink plenty of water when taking creatine HCL. This will help prevent any gastrointestinal issues that may occur.

Can I take creatine HCL with other supplements?

Creatine HCL can be taken with other supplements, but it's important to be aware of potential interactions. For example, taking HCL with beta-alanine may increase tingling sensations known as paresthesia.

Additionally, combining HCL with caffeine may cause an upset stomach in some people. If you're sensitive to caffeine, it's best to avoid taking it with your creatine supplement.

As always, it's best to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen. They can help you determine if HCL is right for you and make sure that you're taking it safely.

Now that you know more about creatine HCL vs monohydrate: full guide, it's time to share our favorite pre workout creatine supplements to try this year: 

1.     Elm & Rye Pre Workout    


Image courtesy Elm & Rye 

Pre-Workout products - caffeine, Beta Alanine, Ashwagandha, B12 (methylcobalamin), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), and CoQ10 - are designed to help with concentration during exercise by increasing energy, focus, endurance, and muscular development through a combination of adaptogenic and scientifically researched components.

You'll be more attentive and tenacious, as well as gain additional muscle mass. This is a powerful pre-workout that's jam-packed with evidence-based compounds and includes everything you need to train harder, recover faster, and achieve your greatest goals.

2.     Alpha Lion Super Human Pre

Image courtesy Alpha Lion 

Superhuman Pre Workout by Alpha Lion is a high-quality supplement that includes clinically dosed substances. There are no fillers, fluff, or proprietary combinations in the mix. You'll be able to observe the benefits of your efforts almost immediately after taking it.

Want to feel stronger, more energetic, and improve your stamina? This pre workout supplement will do just that while also helping you maintain focus during workouts. If you're looking for an honest product that lists all its ingredients and is guaranteed to work, look no further.

3.     AX Athlean X-Cite 

Image courtesy Athlean 

X-Cite has increased in popularity since the release of its first pre-workout product in 2004, and it is still considered one of the most effective. It's no surprise that X-Cite is a favorite among serious athletes, as it contains the most researched and powerful components found in sports nutrition.

The supplement facts panels at Athlean-X only contain the best ingredients from around the world. With research and science to back each ingredient, you're guaranteed to get results by taking these supplements. Enjoy these rare and effective ingredients so that you can experience the power of nature working for you!

4.     1st Phorm Project 1

Image courtesy 1st Phorm 

The goal of this pre-workout supplement is to assist you in reaching your maximal performance potential. It contains a combination of components that will allow you to power through your exercises and achieve your objectives.

Project 1 was created with one objective in mind: to assist athletes to achieve their full potential. We've put together this pre-workout supplement using the highest quality components available to help you get the most out of your workouts.

Project 1 is the perfect pre-workout supplement to help achieve your fitness goals.

5.     5 Percent Nutrition All Day You May Natty Ratio BCAA Recovery Drink

Image courtesy 5 Percent Nutrition 

Natty redefines nutritional drinks for post-workout recovery and muscular growth. It's all natural, sweetened with stevia, and available in two delectable flavors. Prepare to grow Natty style!

If you're trying to build muscle and want an all-natural BCAA supplement to assist you in reaching your goals, ALL DAY YOU MAY NATTY is the solution.

Maintaining anabolic state throughout the day is key for optimizing muscle growth and recovery, which is why ALL DAY YOU MAY NATTY is the best way to achieve that goal. You can have it any time--between meals or after a workout--for maximum benefit.

6.     Xwerks Ignite 

Image courtesy Xwerks

Xwerks Ignite is a pre-workout supplement with clinically tested ingredients. It's strong, but also fast-acting so that you'll see results from your workouts almost immediately.

This pre-workout supplement will assist you in increasing strength, endurance, and energy levels. It will also aid in improved concentration and increased intensity during workouts. If you're searching for a pre workout that's been fully researched and works, this is the one to try.

7.     Pre JYM X Extreme Pre-Workout Formula

Image courtesy Jym 

With additional key ingredients from the original Pre JYM formula, as well as new compounds for laser focus and more pumps, strength, and endurance, Pre JYM X is designed to help you achieve your fitness goals like never before.

The most comprehensive pre-workout supplement is JYM X. It has everything you need to help you achieve your fitness objectives, including increased strength, endurance, and vitality.

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