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Creatine HCL Vs Monohydrate – Overview, Benefits, Downsides, and More

Creatine HCL Vs Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine has gained massive traction in the field of fitness over the past few years. I’m sure you’ve seen bodybuilders or fitness enthusiast at the gym with shaker bottle’s which probably has creatine and pre workout with them.

And if you’re one of our consistent readers you’ve probably read a lot of our creatine articles. Majority of them are focused on creatine monohydrate since majority of studies done on creatine are focused on creatine monohydrate. In reality, there are several types of creatine, including the HCL form.

In this article, we will cover the differences between creatine HCL and Monohydrate, including their benefits and downfalls.

Before we do that, however, let’s start with a quick definition.

What is Creatine HCL?

Creatine hydrochloride (HCL) consists of a hydrochloric acid group connected to a creatine molecule. The origin of this compound is rather interesting. When researchers were experimenting with different creatine forms, they accidentally created creatine HCL.

Thanks to its chemical composition, creatine HCL has improved solubility and stability compared to its counterparts. Due to the safety of this compound, you will often find it as an additive in various foods.

Some Benefits Creatine HCL

Let me start by stating that Creatine HCL does not have much research surrounding it compared to Creatine Monohydrate. However, there are a few benefits surrounding this controversial fitness supplement.

Gets absorbed better than other forms

The most impactful benefit of creatine HCL is its solubility. In other words, this compound gets dissolved rapidly in water, which improves the mixing experience. It also reduces the risk of side effects that often stem from undermixing.

For instance, some users of creatine report digestive problems when the compound isn’t fully dissolved into the shake. Because creatine HCL has a high solubility, it rarely causes water retention. Differently put, you will reap the benefits of creatine without having to deal with the ‘puffy’ look that comes from pre-workout shakes.

Can you mix pre workout with creatine? Yes, you can add creatine to your pre-workout using a shaker bottle.

Creatine HCL also has a high bioavailability. This means that a significant portion of the product will actually reach your muscles, leading to improved results.

Reduce fatigue and tiredness

Creatine HCL supplementation may lower your threshold of exhaustion. What does that mean? Well, you will be able to do more at the gym without feeling super tired.

One study recruited individuals with concussions and divided them into two groups. The first group received creatine supplements, whereas the second one only had a placebo.

Analyzing the results revealed that those who took creatine HCL had half as many episodes of dizziness. Additionally, only 10% of the first group experienced fatigue. Contrast that with the second group that experienced fatigue 80% of the time, and you will start to see the fatigue-reducing effects of creatine HCL.

Sleep deprivation is another enemy of every athlete out there. The good news is that creatine HCL aids with fatigue and energy depletion in these individuals.

Causes less bloating symptoms

As a general rule of thumb, you need more creatine monohydrate to achieve the same results as creatine HCL. For instance, the loading dose of creatine monohydrate is around 20  to 30 grams distributed over 1-2 weeks. As for the maintenance dose, it’s around 5 grams per day.

Creatine HCL, on the other hand, only requires ¼ of a teaspoon per day.

This gives creatine HCL an advantage over other forms – It causes fewer digestive symptoms. It makes sense that getting less of the supplement would cause fewer side effects. If you have taken creatine supplements before, you might be familiar with the awful bloating and diarrhea that come after.

Another digestive symptom that drives people crazy is stomach cramping. Scientists believe it’s the result of water osmosis into the intestines, leading to pain all over your stomach.

Feeling bloated and dealing with stomach cramps can really impact your performance. In fact, many athletes ditch creatine supplements altogether after they experience these symptoms. What these people don’t know is that creatine HCL could provide the same benefits with fewer digestive symptoms.

If these symptoms are negatively impacting your performance, you may consider switching to creatine HCL.

What is creatine Monohydrate?

Creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of this supplement. The vast majority of research papers experimented with this form of creatine. Fortunately, this provided us with plenty of scientific evidence on how creatine HCL interacts with the body.

Note that creatine monohydrate is the closest form to naturally-occurring creatine. Once more, creatine monohydrate consists of one creatine molecule coupled with a single water molecule.

The following sections will cover the benefits of creatine monohydrate:

Has credible research behind it

Because researchers mainly focused their work on creatine monohydrate, we know a great deal about its interaction with the human body.

Creatine monohydrate is excellent at promoting energy production and supporting muscle function. By lowering the levels of myostatin, it also reduces the threshold of fatigue. Moreover, creatine monohydrate aids in the formation of bigger muscle fibers thanks to the action of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).

Optimizes several functions in the muscles

Creatine monohydrate helps your muscle cells get bigger, which is crucial for handling future strains. It also stimulates the development of new muscle fibers.

Researchers found that creatine monohydrate boosts the levels of growth hormones, such as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is the primary substance that triggers muscle growth.

Furthermore, supplementing your body with creatine monohydrate may lead to a process known as voluminzation. What happens is, creatine monohydrate attracts water molecules into the muscles, giving them a puffy look. While this may sound like a bad thing, there is some research that supports the hypertrophic effects of muscle voluminzation.

Scientists also identified the role of creatine HCL in lowering the levels of myostatin, which is a molecule that hinders muscle growth. In fact, many researchers shifted their focus to lowering myostatin levels instead of increasing growth hormones.

Comes at a cheaper price

From an economic perspective, creatine monohydrate is way more affordable than HCL. Therefore, it fits perfectly those on a budget who use creatine regularly.

Note that creatine monohydrate is very accessible, which made it the preferred option for most users.

Another benefit of creatine is increasing maximum workload, which is vital for inflicting micro-injuries on the muscles.

Can you mix pre workout with creatine?

The answer is yes.

Adding creating to your pre workout can actually boost your gains when exercising. The dissolution of creatine HCL is superior to monohydrate, making it a more appealing choice for this purpose.

A comparison: Creatine HCL Vs Creatine Monohydrate

Studies showed that creatine HCL is more soluble compared to monohydrate. Therefore, the ideal option for this question – “can you mix pre workout with creatine” – is creatine HCL.

However, that’s not the full story.


In a study conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University, researchers took a look at the dissolution of creatine HCL versus creatine monohydrate. The former dissolved faster in water compared to monohydrate.

Aside from this unpublished study, we don’t have real evidence that discusses the effectiveness of the two compounds.


As we repeatedly noted, creatine monohydrate is way cheaper compared to HCL. However, you will only need lower doses of the latter to supply your body.

With that said, it will take many long years before creatine HCL becomes more economic than creatine monohydrate.


Comparing the safety of HCL versus monohydrate is relatively unfair. You see, there is plenty of research that supports the safety of creatine monohydrate. In fact, some studies found that creatine monohydrate is even safe for people with renal and hepatic disease. Additionally, creatine monohydrate is safe in the long term.

As for creatine HCL, there is not enough research to confirm its safety. We still don’t have the evidence to support the long-term safety of creatine HCL.

In summary, this one goes to creatine monohydrate due to the lack of research.

Takeaway message

Creatine HCL and creatine monohydrate are two forms of one of the most famous compounds in the field of fitness. They both offer particular benefits and come with unique downfalls. In general, creatine monohydrate seems to be superior to HCL; however, the reason behind this may only be due to the lack of research.

There is a good chance that upcoming years will reveal more information about creatine HCL, which could flip the tables.

We hope that this article helped you understand the similarities and differences between creatine HCL and creatine monohydrate.

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