CREATINE HCL VS CREATINE MONOHYDRATE: WHICH ONE IS BEST FOR YOU?
Time to read 5 min
Time to read 5 min
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements in the industry and is popular among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike. So what is it? Creatine is a chemical found naturally in your body and in red meat and seafood.
The reason creatine is so beloved within the fitness community is its impact on your muscles. Creatine is responsible for creating energy in your muscles, with about 95% of creatine being found in the skeletal muscle, mainly in the form of phosphocreatine. Creatine is used to improve your performance during training and weight-lifting and is known to increase muscle mass and strength, creating bigger, fuller muscles (WebMD. 2020). If you’re trying to build the stone-carved aesthetic physique of a bronze & marble renaissance statue, add creatine to your stack.
Wondering how reliable it is? Creatine has an excellent reputation, and the use of creatine is approved by the International Olympic Committee, which is the guardian of the Olympic Games. While some supplements aren’t approved for competitive events, creatine is allowed on one of the biggest global sporting stages. Doesn’t that speak volumes?
When you supplement with creatine, you’re increasing your stores of phosphocreatine, which is a form of energy stored in your cells. Increasing these stores helps your body produce more ATP, which is basically your body’s energy currency. The more ATP you have, the better your body can perform during training (Mawer, R. 2023).
As we mentioned earlier, creatine is renowned for building muscle. Let’s dive into how creatine can help you with muscle gain:
Creatine can help by enhancing your endurance, allowing you to take on a higher workload during training, which can support long-term muscle growth. Creatine can increase cell signalling, which supports muscle repair and growth, while other studies suggest that creatine can incite a rise in anabolic hormones (Mawer, R. 2023).
Supplementing with creatine can increase the hydration of your cells, raising the water content in your muscle cells and promoting volumisation that can elicit muscle growth. It can also reduce protein breakdown and lower the myostatin levels that delay or prevent new muscle growth (Mawer, R. 2023).
Creatine doesn’t just come in one shape and size, there are many different forms that have been researched and used. Let’s discuss two of the most effective and popular forms of creatine.
Creatine Hydrochloride has become increasingly popular among athletes and bodybuilders, with reports suggesting that it offers superior solubility over creatine monohydrate. Creatine HCL’s advanced solubility has led to speculation that it can be taken in a lower dosage, reducing potential side effects like stomach upset (Tinsley, G. 2017).
The hydrochloride attached to the creatine also increases the stability of the creatine molecule, meaning a ‘loading’ phase isn’t as essential as it may be in the case of monohydrate (O’Sullivan, J. 2022).
If you want to try creatine HCL, consider adding Hi-Tech Creatine HCL to your training routine. Coming in easy tablet form, these rapid-absorbing tabs deliver 1000mg of creatine hydrochloride per serving and are sourced from a GMP-certified facility.
Creatine monohydrate is the most used, most trusted and most researched variant of creatine available. Until deeper research is conducted on other strains of creatine, it looks like monohydrate will continue to sit that throne.
Creatine monohydrate is by far the most researched creatine option on the market, with over 1,000 studies pointing to its effectiveness and high safety record (Tinsley, G. 2017). Despite growing research on creatine HCL and a promising study that suggests that hydrochloride is 38 times more soluble than monohydrate, it is hard to look past the extensive record that monohydrate holds (Tinsley, G. 2017).
Comprehensive research has indicated that creatine monohydrate performs just as well, if not better, than other creatine options like creatine ethyl ester or liquid creatine. This includes increased exercise performance, strength, power output and muscle mass.
If you’re browsing our creatine range at ASN, you will probably notice that 90% of those are monohydrates. For the best creatine monohydrate options, don’t look past Evolve Creatine Monohydrate. This formula is 100% pure, pharmaceutical grade and can help you improve ATP production and muscle growth.
You’d have to pick up a magnifying glass to spot the difference between these creatine forms because the discrepancies are slim. The most prominent distinction is the way they are absorbed and utilised.
Creatine monohydrate is the most common of creatine and is often processed in different ways. This includes micronised creatine to improve its solubility and anhydrous creatine, which involves removing the water molecule to create 100% creatine. Creatine monohydrate is also most effective when used in a loading phase (Woods, B. 2021).
Creatine HCL differs because attaching hydrochloride instead of water enhances the water solubility and absorption by a considerable margin. This means less water retention (which is a potential side effect of creatine monohydrate), and you can still achieve results without needing a ‘loading’ phase.
While mixing your creatine with your favourite supplements or stirring it in a glass of cold water is effective because creatine draws water into your muscle cells, there is more that you can do to maximise your absorption. Consuming creatine with either a carb or protein-based meal to maximise your absorption of creatine as carbs or proteins can enhance creatine absorption via the related release of insulin. You should also try to stay well hydrated throughout the day to optimise how your body utilises creatine (Mawer, R. 2023).
Alternatively, supplementing with a creatine transport system can help you utilise absorption. Try incorporating Evolve Pump Action with your creatine (Evolve Creatine Monohydrate is the perfect partner) to boost its effectiveness. This creatine matrix contains creatine monohydrate, GlycerSizeTM to boost muscle hydration and AstraGin to boost nutrient absorption.
If you’re looking for the right creatine option to support your goals, it’s hard to look past the reliability and reputation of creatine monohydrate. While there isn’t enough evidence to separate the results in muscle growth, power output, muscle volumisation or endurance, the absorption efficiency may be something to consider. If you don’t want to go through the ‘loading’ phase with creatine monohydrate, you may prefer to opt for creatine HCL.
Whether you need help finding the right creatine supplement or want more information on how the different types of creatine can support you, our friendly team at ASN are eager to help you out. Just head in-store or reach out online for help from our dedicated team.
WebMD. 2020, ‘Creatine - Uses, Side Effects, and More’, WebMD, accessed 23 March 2023, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-873/creatine#:~:text=Creatine%20is%20a%20chemical%20found,is%20found%20in%20skeletal%20muscle.
Mawer, R. 2023, ‘Everything You Need to Know About Creatine’, Healthline, accessed 23 March 2023, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-creatine#basics
Tinsley, G. 2017, ‘Top 6 Types of Creatine Reviewed’, Healthline, accessed 23 March 2023, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/types-of-creatine
O’Sullivan, J. 2022, ‘Creatine HCL vs Monohydrate | Which Is Best For Your Goals?’ Gainful, accessed 23 March 2023, https://www.gainful.com/blog/creatine-hcl-vs-monohydrate/#:~:text=Because%20creatine%20HCL%20has%20greater
Tinsley, G. 2017, ‘5 Reasons Why Creatine Monohydrate Is the Best’, Healthline, accessed 23 March 2023, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/creatine-monohydrate-is-best
Woods, B. 2021, ‘Creatine Monohydrate vs. HCL: Which One is Best For You?’ Naked Nutrition, accessed 23 March 2023, https://nakednutrition.com/blogs/supplements/creatine-monohydrate-vs-hcl
Mawer, R. 2023, ‘Everything You Need to Know About Creatine’, Healthline, accessed 23 March 2023, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-creatine