The usefulness of Creatine HCL

Creatine is a highly studied, safe and effective tool for increasing performance and building muscle mass. It works for both highly trained gym goers and more casual exercisers alike. Creatine is also relatively affordable, making it one of the most popular supplements on the market today.

There are two main types of creatine, and both can be highly beneficial to your workout. However, there are some advantages to one kind of creatine, this being Creatine HCL. The supplement in this form is slightly different from the standard monohydrate creatine and is easier to consume and digest. Creatine HCL has undergone a lot of research in recent years, and it’s time everyone understands its usefulness.

What is Creatine HCL?

Creatine HCL (HCL is short for hydrochloride) may sound advanced, but it is actually pretty simple. This is just a creatine molecule bound together with hydrochloric acid. The hydrochloride helps increase the stability of the supplement, making it one of the most effective supplements to promote strength gains and muscle growth.

Like all forms of the creatine supplement, the HCL variety is used by many athletes and bodybuilders to create an anabolic environment that increases muscle cell volume, and subsequently muscle size. Creatine HCL is one of the most popular forms of creatine and offers better solubility, absorption, and pH alignment with the body than other forms of the supplement.

Creatine HCL can be used both pre- and post-workout. It dissolves quickly and can easily be mixed into water for a stimulant free pre-workout or used in a post-workout shake. Creatine HCL is also available in pill form for hassle-free consumption. The supplement also absorbs quickly, which reduces water retention, bloating, and weight gain, as it quickly gives you more energy.

How does Creatine HCL work?

There are two major processes behind creatine:

ATP production and the synthesis of protein. These processes work in conjunction to boost energy and build muscle. The ins and outs can be a little confusing if you aren’t a biochemist, but the end results are easy to understand. Essentially, creatine HCL helps you push out an extra rep or shave a couple seconds off a sprint. It’s no secret that lifting more will make your muscles bigger and stronger—creatine just helps you get there.

Protein synthesis

Studies have shown creatine helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This sounds great, but what does it really mean?

Protein synthesis is the process by which cells generate new proteins and creatine speeds this process up. When cells can replace each other rapidly, the body can heal more quickly and perform harder tasks. Creatine’s ability to synthesis proteins increases performance on a cellular level. The supplement can increase strength and lean muscle mass more effectively and in a shorter amount of time than strength training alone. In fact, creatine can yield results in as little as two weeks of use.

ATP production

In addition to synthesizing protein, creatine HCL helps to increase the production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). ATP is an energy source and the primary fuel for the phosphate energy system that the body uses when making short muscle contractions. Basically, it’s the energy system we use when lifting, sprinting, or doing any form of high-intensity movement.

When ATP is used to drive energy, it loses a phosphate and become ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). ADP is kind of useless, but it can easily be converted back to energy driving ATP with the addition of a phosphate. This is where creatine becomes helpful. The supplement provides ADP with the phosphate needed to become ATP again, ATP is used as energy, and you can train harder for longer.

By increasing ATP, Creatine HCL increases anaerobic capacities. Essentially, the supplement allows muscle groups to do more reps with an increased power. In other words, Creatine HCL lets you train longer and harder in addition to stimulating muscle growth. More reps, higher weights, and increased muscle volume lead to gains all around.

Creatine HCL vs. Monohydrate

Both creatine HCL and monohydrate creatine will result in a more intense workout and muscle gain. However, each form of the supplement comes with a few distinct advantages.

Creatine HCL contains hydrochloride for absorption

Perhaps the biggest advantage of creatine HCL is the inclusion of hydrochloride. As we previously mentioned, the hydrochloric acid molecule helps stabilize the creatine supplement. This form of creatine is more soluble in water than creatine monohydrate and can be absorbed by the body more quickly. Additionally, the pH is better aligned to the digestive tract.

There are two reasons this is important:

First, creatine HCL is convenient and easy to take. It’s high solubility and quick absorption means you can easily mix a dose into liquid and take it on the way to the gym. HCL doesn’t require the “loading” period you may expect from monohydrate creatine; rather, you’ll see effects right away.

Second, and more importantly, the quick absorption of HCL reduces side effects. Creatine monohydrate does not dissolve well and can have difficulty absorbing into the body. Some researchers have found less than three percent of monohydrate is absorbed by intestinal cells within 90 minutes. A lot of the supplement gets left in the intestinal tract. This form of creatine may not even make it to your muscles! It can also cause stomach aches and water retention that leads to bloating. In fact, the most common negative side effects of creatine can be attributed to the monohydrate variety.

Creatine HCL has fewer side effects

Many people are afraid to take creatine because they don’t want to become too bulky or gain a lot of weight. It is true that creatine will make you gain weight, but most of the weight comes from muscle mass. The rest is from the water. While your muscles may look bigger, the water retention caused by monohydrate creatine may also make your midsection look larger because of bloat. HCL, on the other hand, leads to better all-around aesthetic results without the added water weight.

You may have heard stories from your gym buddies about severe side-effects of creatine (think kidney problems, digestive issues, and other stuff that’s too gross to actually discuss). However, there is no evidence these side effects are caused by creatine supplements. In fact, even the side effects of monohydrate creatine may just be because the supplement was sub-par. Whether you opt for monohydrate of HCL, be sure you purchase a high quality, pure creatine to reduce the risk of negative side effects.

Creatine monohydrate has been tested more

Creatine monohydrate has been in production the longest, studied and the most, and used by the most number of people. Many professionals recommend supplementing with monohydrate creatine because it has been so thoroughly researched. There are a ton of other forms of creatine, many of which have been tested and proven safe to use. Some, like creatine ethyl ester, are less effective than monohydrate. Others are on par with monohydrate creatine, and several forms have been tested individually but not in comparison to monohydrate.

It’s true that HCL has not been studied as much as monohydrate creatine, but researchers are showing increased interest in the supplement. Keep an eye out for more studies in the future. Eventually one may find different effectiveness in HCL and monohydrate. For now, though, the two supplements seem to work just about the same.

Affordability of creatine monohydrate vs. HCL

There’s no getting around the fact that creatine monohydrate, on average, is cheaper than creatine HCL. However, when compared to other popular supplements, creatine in any form is still a lot more affordable. As with any supplement, often times you’ll get what you pay for. Creatine can be dirt cheap, but the formula may not be great. More expensive creatines will usually be higher in purity and from reputable brands.

Cost can be a big factor in deciding which type of creatine to take. HCL offers fewer side effects and more convivence, but it is more expensive and monohydrate options usually work just as well. Shop around to the find the supplement that fits your lifestyle and your desired price point.

Is Creatine HCL safe to take?

Yes! When taken as directed, creatine HCL is perfectly safe for most healthy adults. Evidence suggests creatine, regardless of the form, is generally a safe supplement. There are a few risks with creatine, but most only occur when the supplement is taken at extremely high dosage. People with kidney disease, diabetes, intestinal issues, or other concerns should talk to a doctor before beginning a creatine regimen.

For the average adult, creatine is safe. In fact, creatine may provide benefits outside of the gym. Preliminary studies suggest the supplement can help prevent muscle degeneration in the elderly, might have positive effects on the brain, and can support the immune system. Plus, it is safe to take daily for continued periods of time.

What are Creatine HCL’s side effects?

Creatine HCL side effects

As we’ve previously discussed, creatine HCL has very few, if any, negative side effects when used by a healthy individual as directed. Some experience increased energy (which is the entire point of the supplement but can lead to mania if not expended), minor bloating, and/or weight gain. Stomach pain, nausea, and cramping may be experienced when beginning supplementation with creatine.

There are a few steps you can take to avoid experiencing negative side effects from creatine HCL. Be sure to purchase a high quality, pure product that has been tested and proven to work. If you’ve never taken the supplement before, start with a partial dose and work your way up to a full one. Creatine does draw water into your muscle cells so be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If negative side effects do occur, try a different brand of creatine or talk to a doctor.

There is some concern that creatine use can harm the functions of the liver, kidneys, and heart. However, there is no evidence of this causal connection. When taken as directed, the side effects of creatine should be entirely positive.

Where to buy Creatine HCL

Creatine HCL is readily available in stores and online. Some big box retailers carry the supplement and most nutrition and health stores with have an option or two in stock. Online options are plentiful from a variety of retailers.

One thing to keep in mind when looking for creatine supplements is purity. You want a supplement as pure as possible. Look for products with Creapure as their source of creatine, as this is the best creatine manufactured and distributed.  Additionally, choose a creatine form a reputable company with plentiful positive customer reviews. It may be an extra couple of dollars per container, but that is worth a pristine product with high satisfaction ratings.

Creatine comes in a few different physical forms including powder, which is the most popular, pills, liquid, bars, and blends. It is often added to supplements like pre-workout. You can do your own experimenting to figure out what works best for you.

Creatine HCL review

Creatine HCL is a highly effective, easily consumed workout supplement designed to increase energy and overall performance. When used as directed, it is safe and comes with minimal side effects since it is easily absorbed and digested. Creatine HCL can help you lift that extra rep, run that extra 100 meters, or add an extra interval to your intensity training.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Creatine HCL leads to improvements in muscular strength and volume. Creatine HCL is readily available for consumer use, so try adding it to your workout routine. You’ve got nothing to lose and it gives you so much to gain.