When you want to build muscle, professionals recommend that you have creatine on your list of supplements. The most common creatine is monohydrate. However, creatine has many types. Two types of creatine we will focus on in this article are creatine monohydrate and HCL. But which is better for gains between creatine monohydrate vs HCL? That’s what we will find out.
What Is Creatine?
Scientifically, creatine has a similar structure as the body’s building blocks of protein called amino acid. The creatine molecule plays an essential role in the production of energy. Creatine supplements further increase energy within your body cells. Hence, you can keep up with the activities that you need to do.
Creatine is mostly found in meat. That is why vegetarians have low levels of creatine, as stated in one published study. Creatine supplementation benefits both vegetarians and non-vegetarian. The supplements improve brain function and support musculoskeletal health. And of course, it improves your exercise performance as well.
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine supplementation gives the body the much-needed energy it needs for workouts and training. The muscle tissue in the body stores creatine as phosphocreatine. The body synthesizes phosphocreatine during workouts, especially high-intensity exercises. It provides the muscles with extra energy by pulling water into the muscle cells, thereby increasing protein synthesis. The body uses this protein as an energy source during high-intensity workouts such as heavy weight lifting.
Additionally, creatine also promotes adenosine 5’-triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is a molecule needed for energy storing and transferring among cells. ATP helps your body’s muscles to function better and work harder during exercises.
Creatine Monohydrate vs HCL: What Are They?
The difference between a regular creatine monohydrate supplement and HCL stems from people’s desire to know which can help them achieve their muscle goals. While creatine monohydrate is the most popular, creatine HCL ranks close too. Muscle building and muscle growth uses both monohydrate and HCL, but what are they?
Creatine monohydrate is the most common form of creatine. Creatine monohydrate contains a creatine molecule as well as a water molecule. Monohydrates may increase the muscle cell’s water content. Thus, it promotes muscle growth as it sends signals to the body when cells start to swell.
Rest assured, however, that creatine is safe to consume. Cramps and upset stomachs are minor side effects of the supplement. Other than these, there are no serious side effects noted. To consume creatine monohydrate, experts recommend several small doses instead of one large dose. This technique helps tone downside effects.
Currently, many supplement users use creatine hydrochloride. The main reason some prefer HCL supplementation is because it has better water solubility. Creatine HCL binds with hydrochloric acid to improve its absorption rate and solubility.
Due to these improvements, HCL can be broken down quicker. It is also absorbed by the cells faster. Water retention and side effects are not much of a concern since the bloodstream takes it in.
One study showed that creatine HCL has 38x more water solubility than monohydrate. Additionally, creatine HCL has no loading phase as opposed to creatine monohydrate. Thanks to the inclusion of hydrochloric acid. It promotes a more stable creatine molecule.
Unfortunately, however, there are not enough studies of creatine HCL on humans. Hence, we couldn’t really compare creatine monohydrate vs HCL. We need more research and studies for HCL to properly compare the two.
Differences Between Creatine Monohydrate vs HCL
Now that you know what creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL are, the next question would be their differences. How do they differ, and how do they affect your muscle build-up?
Creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL should be equally effective as supplements. As long as they are taken in appropriate dosage, they help increase muscle mass and can improve strength gains and muscle strength. However, the problem lies with the quantity of research and studies conducted on creatine HCL.
One study found out that creatine HCL is more effective when it comes to absorption and water solubility. However, there aren’t enough studies to back up the claim. So, if you want a more proven and tested creatine supplement, go for creatine monohydrate. Many studies published about creatine monohydrate claim that it is effective in helping build muscles.
When it comes to dosage, you need less creatine HCL than monohydrate. Experts recommend taking a quarter of a teaspoon of creatine HCL daily. Meanwhile, creatine monohydrate needs about 15-20 grams during the loading phase. It further requires 5 grams daily to keep up with muscle building.
A powdered form of creatine monohydrate vs HCL also exists. This improves ease of use since you can simply mix it with water and other juices that you may be taking. But we want to give the top score to supplementing creatine HCL for this one. HCL has a water-soluble and acidic nature. It mixes easily with water compared to monohydrate.
However, there are also finely ground creatine monohydrates available on the market that you can purchase. This type of monohydrate mixes easily with water, too, especially when mixed using hot water.
Most people don’t really suffer from side effects when taking either creatine monohydrate or HCL. When side effects do occur, they are generally very minor and do not cause concern. If you still want to lessen the chances of side effects during supplementation, your best bet will be creatine HCL. Due to its faster solubility and absorption rate, it is absorbed by the bloodstream quicker than monohydrate. This ability lessens any untoward side effects.
Moreover, side effects usually occur during the loading phase. Though the creatine loading phase isn’t necessary, some people still do it for creatine monohydrate. Thus, taking creatine monohydrate may increase the chances of experiencing side effects more.
Both creatine monohydrate and HCL are deemed pure and safe to use. As long as you choose a reputable company that uses high-quality ingredients, then you are good to go. You also have to check that the company does not make any unsupported claims
On a personal note, however, it is vital to consider that creatine HCL has limited studies. Limited studies decrease its credibility of being safe. Between the two, it is best to go for the one that actually has enough studies to prove and support its safety.
Between creatine monohydrate vs HCL, monohydrate has over 500 peer-reviewed papers. These reviews support its advantages toward the performance abilities of athletes. Creatine HCL, however, has fewer reviews which makes it less convincing.
There’s no reason why you should scrap HCL. Since creatine HCL is water-soluble, it has fewer side effects that may hinder your exercise performance. It helps you perform better and maintain the energy required for exercises.
For the tight budget, the cost of a dietary supplement plays an important role in choosing which one to take. Which is cheaper between creatine monohydrate vs HCL? The direct answer to that is creatine monohydrate.
Given that monohydrate is more common than HCL, many manufacturers on the market compete with each other. And even if you take less dosage of HCL than monohydrate, you can still save more with monohydrate than HCL.
How to Maximize Creatine Benefits
Whether you choose creatine monohydrate or HCL, make sure to choose a trusted manufacturer. Check the labels and credibility of the brand you are using. Ensure that it does not contain any artificial ingredients and fillers.
Additionally, take creatine as recommended. HCL and monohydrate have different doses that you need to be wary of. Though a loading phase is not necessary, experts still recommend it. The loading phase needs to be followed by a maintenance phase. This strategy will yield a better result. It will also maximize the benefits you can get from creatine.
Choosing between creatine monohydrate vs HCL depends on you. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
While creatine HCL has fewer side effects, it is pricier than monohydrate. So if you have extra cash for the more expensive HCL, you can expect less bloating and less fluid retention. You also don’t have to suffer from cramps and stomach upsets as much as when you take monohydrate. Additionally, creatine HCL does not require a loading phase. Thus, it is more convenient to use when it comes to dosage.
Creatine monohydrate, on the other hand, has more studies and research conducted. Thus, you can rely on its credibility more. Monohydrate is also cheaper than HCL, so this is a great pick for those considering the price. The downside of monohydrate, however, is that it can have more side effects than HCL. Though the side effects are minor, some people do not prefer it.
Taking different supplements such as creatine helps in your workout routine. It also gives your muscles a big boost. The energy that creatine provides helps manage your workout better.
Consequently, it improves your performance as well. So, make sure that you weigh the pros and cons of both creatine types, and choose which one works best for you.