Creatine hcl vs. Creatine monohydrate


That Other Guy
Two Main Forms of Creatine

There are two main forms of creatine supplement – creatine hydrochloride (HCL) and creatine monohydrate. You may have taken one or both forms in your time as a serious weight lifter.

Other forms of creatine supplements

While creatine monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride are the two types we will be discussing today, there are several other forms of creatine that you can use. These creatine combinations include:

Creatine Magnesium chelate – a chemically bonded compound powder combining creatine and magnesium, thought to provide a greater anabolic effect and increase body absorption of creatine monohydrate or hcl

Creatine Citrate and Creapure (Micronized Creatine) – the creatine molecules are broken up (micronized) to allow more surface area, thought to increase absorption and reduce side effects of taking creatine monohydrate or hcl

Buffered Creatine (Kre-Alkalyn) – compounded with baking soda and/or malic acid to increase pH alkalinity for better absorption, not found to be any better than creatine monohydrate or hydrochloride

Creatine Ethyl Ester – created to increase the bioavailability of creatine, not found to have any other benefits than taking creatine monohydrate or hydrochloride

Liquid Creatine – creatine is already dissolved into water, may help with absorption but would need higher dosage, not found to be more beneficial than monohydrate or hcl

Creatine Anhydrous – creatine with the water removed, provides slightly more creatine per gram than monohydrate but no proof that it absorbs better

Creatine Citrate – powder bonded with citric acid, thought to provide better absorption over creatine monohydrate, but no studies to prove the claim

Creatine Alphaketoglutarate/Creatine AKG – alpha-ketoglutaric acid is bonded with creatine, thought to help with stomach upset and diarrhea prevention as a precursor of glutamine, no evidence to support it’s better than creatine monohydrate or hcl
But, do you know which form is best when comparing creatine monohydrate vs hcl?

Creatine Monohydrate's Downside

The main issues with creatine monohydrate are its solubility in fluids and its absorption by the body. Some research has reported that less than 3% of the original amount of creatine monohydrate is transported across the intestinal cells within 90 minutes. Not only is this an issue because it limits the uptake of creatine by the intestines and then by the muscles, but it can also lead to stomach upset (from the creatine sitting in the intestines and drawing water into them) and water retention in the subcutaneous space (under the skin), which blurs a person's muscularity and makes them look smooth and bloated.

Although some experts claim that creatine monohydrate doesn't cause bloating or water retention, I have data on thousands of individuals showing that many of them do, in fact, experience this "bad" water retention with creatine. In fact, several studies actually show that creatine monohydrate not only increases intracellular water (inside the muscle cells where you want it), but it also increases extracellular water levels, which is the area under the skin that causes that puffy look. Even though the changes in extracellular fluid may be small, in those who are very lean it can make a big difference in how "shredded" they look. I know that when I'm getting ready for a photo shoot I am NOT risking any small increases in my subcutaneous water levels. That's just one reason why I use creatine HCL.

There's also data on numerous individuals experiencing stomach issues such as abdominal cramps and diarrhea from taking creatine monohydrate, even when it's micronized. Again, this is due to the creatine that's not dissolved in the fluid it's mixed with -- it then sits in the intestines and draws water in. I've personally had severe issues with creatine monohydrate. It doesn't do well with my intestines. And I've heard from thousands of others who experience the same issues. With creatine HCL, I have zero stomach issues, which is not only great news for my stomach but also for my muscles, because I know that it's being absorbed and getting to them.

HCL Rationale

Creatine HCL works well because adding the hydrochloride group to the creatine molucule lowers the pH of the creatine, making it more acidic.This drastically increases its solubility in fluids. You'll notice this when you mix creatine HCL in water; it mixes almost instantly with no sedimentation, with no particles sitting in the bottom of the glass. Any ingredients that have precipitated to the bottom of a cup are ingredients that will sit in your intestines and not be absorbed properly. This will also cause water to be pulled into the intestines, causing stomach discomfort and diarrhea. Creatine HCL has been shown in the lab to be about 40 times more soluble in fluid than creatine monohydrate.

And research shows that when subjects consume the same amounts of creatine HCL and creatine monohydrate, the creatine HCL is absorbed by the intestines around 60% better than creatine monohydrate. This means that you can take a much smaller dose of creatine HCL to get similar results as creatine monohydrate. With greater solubility in fluid, greater absorption by the intestines and with a much smaller dose, you significantly reduce the chance of stomach issues and subcutaneous water retention.

Although published studies comparing performance benefits of creatine HCL to creatine monohydrate have yet to be done, the data I have on trained lifters confirms that creatine HCL outperforms creatine monohydrate in lean muscle mass gains, strength and power increases and greater endurance in the gym. This has also been reported by thousands of people following my advice to switch to creatine HCL.

But even if you don't want to believe that creatine HCL outperforms creatine monohydrate, you can rest assured knowing that it definitely provides similar results as creatine monohydrate, at a much smaller dose and with none of the potential side effects. There truly is no debating that fact.
Personally HCL has been the easiest on my digestive tract. Just a forum members personal experience. It also caused me to become thirsty which monohydrate never did. I took it as sign it was sinking into my muscles.

Random creatine fact. It was shown in rat studies to help with seizure control. Lower seizures intensity, frequency and even eliminating them in some models. Biggest issue is crossing the brain barrier. The rats were given doses in grams per kg of body weight. 10g/20g/50g per kg I remember right. I remember I'd need like 100g to replicate the study.

Lifes weird. I was doing this research yesterday for some reason. Figure even if very little crosses into my brain a little bit extra in my brain isnt bad and a little extra size on my frame isnt bad either. Especially with the price of creatine.