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The many benefits of creatine include overall improved athletic performance, muscle gain, and increased strength, power, and speed. All of this occurs because creatine positively impacts energy production during exercise, particularly resistance exercise. Every now and again, a novel type of creatine will appear on the market and become all the rage.
Currently, that’s creatine HCl, or creatine hydrochloride. This type of creatine isn’t new, but it’s having a major moment due to marketing around the molecular properties of creatine HCl, which purportedly increase its bioavailability.
The problem is, there isn’t any research to date proving that creatine HCl—or any type of creatine, for that matter—is more effective than creatine monohydrate, the current gold standard, according to registered dietitian Destini Moody.
So in our Beyond Raw Creatine HCl review, we’ll look at the formulation and price per serving to help you decide if this should be the next creatine in your supplement stack.
Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider. GGR also recommends choosing a product that has been third-party tested for quality.
30+ Creatine Supplements Tested
At GGR, we strive to write product reviews that are actually honest, accurate, and genuinely helpful. We want you to get the best bang for your buck, always, and that’s why we prioritize hands-on product testing. That way, our roster of certified personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and athletes can provide firsthand detail about what it’s like to use a specific product.
Beyond Raw Creatine HCl
- Designed to promote cellular hydration
- Claims to enhance muscle protein synthesis
- 2 g of lab-grade micronized creatine HCI per serving
Pros & Cons
- Many reports of visible muscular gains
- No added ingredients
- Relatively affordable
- Many find it mixes easily
- Sour and acidic taste is not for everyone
- Texture is too grainy for some
A Quick Look at Beyond Raw Creatine HCl
Formally Beyond Raw Chemistry Labs Creatine HCl Powder (that’s a mouthful, right?), this dietary supplement is a creatine hydrochloride powder with 2 grams of creatine per serving. It comes with 120 servings to a tub and contains no other ingredients: just creatine HCl.
This is what we like to see in the best creatine supplements—no additives or proprietary blends with BCAAs, carnitine, or other ingredients that manufacturers say improve muscle performance and lead to fitness gains (without actually telling you how much of each ingredient is in the product).
I digress… Anyway, it’s creatine and only creatine, and that’s a good thing.
RELATED: Creatine vs Pre-Workout
Before You Buy
- The 2-gram dose does not meet the minimum clinically recommended dose of 3 to 5 grams of creatine per day.
- Manufacturers claim that creatine HCl is more bioavailable and that your body can do more with less creatine in this form, but there is not yet any conclusive evidence to support that claim, according to registered dietitian Destini Moody (and this 2022 literature review in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research1).
Is Beyond Raw Creatine HCl Worth It?
Because this creatine supplement doesn’t contain the clinically recommended dose of creatine, it’s not our top choice. Creatine HCl supplements seem to be “based on a misinterpretation of how Creatine HCl works,” Destini says.
“People have taken this bioavailability prospect and ran with it, making people believe that you can take a lower dosage of creatine HCl and get the same results,” Destini told us when we initially investigated HCl supplements for our Con-Cret creatine review. “This is nothing more than gym-lore and has not been proven, however.”
In good faith, we’d steer you toward a creatine monohydrate supplement that contains at least 3 grams of creatine per serving.
- People who want creatine HCl specifically
- Those who struggle with bloating from creatine (HCl is supposed to help with that)
- Individuals who don’t mind the sour taste of hydrochloric acid
Not recommended for:
- Those who want the full clinically recommended dose of creatine, which is 3 to 5 grams per day or 20 to 25 grams per day for a creatine loading phase
Beyond Raw Creatine HCl Specs
|Price per serving||$0.42|
|Creatine type||Creatine hydrochloride (creatine HCl)|
|Creatine per serving||2 g|
|Serving size||2 g|
|Calories per serving||0|
|Sugar per serving||0 g|
|Other key ingredients||None|
Experience Using Beyond Raw Creatine HCl
GGR product tester and fitness editor Frieda Johnson tried Beyond Raw Creatine HCl. She’s been taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily for many years and, for the purposes of product testing at GGR, replaced her daily creatine with Beyond Raw to see how it compared.
RELATED: Can You Dry Scoop Creatine?
Price Per Serving
At $49.99 for a container with 120 servings, Beyond Raw creatine HCl costs about 42 cents per serving. This is a great price per serving, but remember, the serving is underdosed. A creatine supplement with a slightly higher price per serving, but 5 grams of creatine per serving, is a better value.
Beyond Raw Creatine HCl powder contains 2 grams of creatine HCl and nothing else. This would be great, if it met the minimum recommendation that was developed after decades of research on creatine and its effects on physical performance.
The company markets the formula as “lab-grade,” but again, there isn’t any scientific evidence, conducted in labs or otherwise, proving that this form of creatine is more effective than monohydrate. It’s true that creatine HCl is more water-soluble than creatine monohydrate, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements2. However, there aren’t any known practical benefits.
As mentioned previously, this logic is faulty at best. “Research has shown that [creatine HCl] may be more bioavailable than creatine monohydrate, but the science on this is shaky and hasn’t been proven on a large scale despite the thousands of studies that have been done on creatine,” Destini points out.
She continues, saying, “There is no available human evidence to date that the dosage of Creatine HCl is different from that of creatine monohydrate.”
In the two extensive reports I found comparing creatine monohydrate to other forms of creatine—the aforementioned 2022 literature review in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research1 and a 2021 literature review in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition3—there isn’t even a mention of creatine HCl, which could be because the existing studies on that form of creatine were flawed for one reason or another and not worthy of inclusion.
Additionally, a 2020 controlled trial in the journal Science & Sports4 found no significant performance differences among groups who took monohydrate or HCl and a 2015 study in the journal Food and Nutrition Sciences5 concluded the same.
Taste and Solubility
According to Destini, “Creatine HCl definitely mixes more neatly in water,” and Frieda’s testing experience supports this.
Beyond Raw creatine “Mixes in water very well,” Frieda says, adding that she didn’t notice any clumping or settling, and “it looks pretty much clear mixed into water.”
The taste is sour, as is typical with creatine HCl.
“This is ‘unflavored,’ but it tastes like straight lemon juice,” Frieda says. “This is true of every creatine HCl I’ve ever tried, but this one is strong even for what it is. I would definitely recommend mixing it with juice. I added it to a blueberry pomegranate juice and it was excellent.”
One common side effect of creatine is bloat, and creatine HCl is supposed to help prevent that due to its greater water solubility. However, Destini says that gastrointestinal distress is one big reason she doesn’t recommend creatine HCl. “The stomach hates HCl,” she says. “It doesn’t taste good and it can take the gut weeks to adjust to the harshness of the compound.”
Our tester, Frieda, didn’t note any negative reactions to Beyond Raw creatine HCl, although she has had that problem with other HCl supplements.
“I do feel like I have less bloating after taking HCl compared to monohydrate,” Frieda says, “but the muscle-related effects seem to be a little less profound than my regular creatine.” Frieda’s been taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily for a decade, so it’s likely that the 2-gram serving doesn’t provide the same results.
RELATED: Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
This creatine supplement does not appear to be third-party tested. Athletes who are subject to drug testing for banned substances in sport should look for a product that is screened by the National Sanitation Foundation or the Banned Substances Control Group. For everyone else, third-party testing isn’t a huge deal, but can offer additional peace of mind when buying supplements.
Beyond Raw Creatine HCl vs Con-Cret Creatine
- Claimed to be the #1 bioavailable creatine
- 750 mg of microdosed creatine HCl
- No loading, cycling, cramping, bloating, or retaining water
- Formulated to improve energy, strength, endurance, and recovery
- Claimed benefits: Muscular strength, reproductive wellness, cognitive function, immune and heart health
- Available flavors include raw, fruit punch, hibiscus, lemon-lime, and pineapple
Pros & Cons
- No added sugar or artificial flavors
- Many users enjoy the taste
- Dissolves well in hot or cold liquid
- Reportedly highly effective
- Serving size depends on your weight, so the servings per container varies
- Consider ordering directly from manufacturer
Con-Cret is another popular creatine HCl supplement. I chose to compare Beyond Raw Creatine HCl to Con-Cret Creatine to illustrate how widely HCl dosing can vary. Con-Cret creatine HCl contains just 750 milligrams—or 0.75 grams—of creatine per serving.
This, as Destini told us for our Con-Cret Creatine review, is pretty baseless. There’s just no scientific ground to stand on for a dose that low. And the reason that the dose varies so much for creatine HCl, Destini explains, is because there is no standardized dosing protocol separate from creatine monohydrate.
According to the 2021 literature review in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition3, creatine monohydrate is what “was used in early studies to assess bioavailability, determine proper dosages, and assess the impact of oral ingestion of creatine on blood creatine and intramuscular creatine stores.”
So until science provides us with new recommendations specific to creatine HCl, 3 to 5 grams is what we’ll recommend. Neither of these products match that, but at least Beyond Raw Creatine HCl has a full 2 grams. Otherwise, the products are virtually the same.
|Beyond Raw Creatine HCl||Con-Cret Creatine HCl|
|Price per serving||$0.42||$0.39 to $0.46|
|Creatine type||Creatine hydrochloride (creatine HCl)||Creatine hydrochloride (creatine HCl)|
|Creatine per serving||2 g||750 mg|
|Serving size||2 g||750 mg|
|Calories per serving||0||0|
|Flavors||Unflavored||Raw Unflavored, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Lemon Lime, Pineapple, Raspberry|
|Sugar per serving||0 g||0 g|
|Sweeteners||None||Stevia leaf extract (none in Raw Unflavored)|
|Other key ingredients||None||None|
|Other ingredients||None||In flavored options: natural flavors, Reb A (Stevia rebaudiana leaf extract)|
You can get Beyond Raw Creatine HCl from GNC, Amazon, iHerb, Walmart, Hy-Vee, and more. Where you buy will largely inform your customer experience. In my opinion, Amazon offers the easiest returns, but quality assurance can be hit-or-miss.
Ordering Beyond Raw Creatine HCl
As stated above, this product is available at several online retailers and probably in store at your local supplement store, as well. So, your ordering process will vary depending on where you buy it. Don’t forget to look for subscribe-and-save options at checkout!
Out of more than 3,000 customer ratings on Amazon at the time of writing, Beyond Raw Creatine HCl has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Most of the Beyond Raw Creatine reviews have the same sentiment: The supplement seems to be working but it tastes bad.
“So far it’s been a week and I do feel more energetic and stronger when it comes to my lifts. I also didn’t get bloated, which is great,” one buyer wrote. “The only thing is the taste. The taste is almost unbearable with water during the loading phase. I recommend taking this with cranberry juice because it does a great job at masking the bitter flavor. But overall [it’s] a great product.”
Other descriptors of the taste amongst Amazon reviewers include “horrid,” “battery-like,” “unbearable,” and “overpowering.” However, several reviewers also say that it tastes fine, or at least decent, when mixed with juice, protein powder, an electrolyte drink, or blended into a smoothie.
Final Verdict of Our Beyond Raw Creatine HCl Review
Beyond Raw Creatine HCl is a creatine hydrochloride supplement with 2 grams of creatine per serving. It costs about 42 cents per serving, which is in line with what we like to see; however, it is slightly underdosed on the unsubstantiated premise that creatine HCl is more bioavailable than creatine monohydrate. That said, there are other HCl supplements out there with way lower doses, making this one of the better HCl options.
Beyond Raw Creatine HCl Full Rating
Beyond Raw Creatine HCl
Want to know if creatine HCl is better than monohydrate? Find out in our Beyond Raw Creatine HCl review.
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Beyond Raw Creatine HCl: FAQs
What is the best creatine?
In the expert opinions of our product testers and sports nutrition professionals, the best creatine supplements are:
– Best Creatine Supplement Overall: Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
– Best Creatine Supplement for Post-Workout: Legion Recharge
– Best Creatine Monohydrate: Xwerks Lift
– Best-Tasting Creatine Supplement: Jacked Factory Growth Surge
– Best Creatine Supplement for Cutting: Kaged Creatine HCl
– Best Creatine Supplement for Athletes: Onnit Creatine Monohydrate
– Best Unflavored Creatine Supplement: Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate
– Best Pre-Workout with Creatine: Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite
– Best Creatine Supplement for Beginners: BulkSupplements Creatine Powder
– Best Budget Creatine Supplement: Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
– Best Creatine Supplement Capsules: Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules
– Best Creatine Gummy: Swoly Creatine Gummy
– Best Creatine for Muscle Growth: Redcon1 Tango Creatine
Is creatine gluten-free?
Yes, creatine is a gluten-free compound. Creatine supplements that do not contain additional ingredients do not contain gluten.
How should I take creatine?
You can take creatine with plain water or you can mix it with another supplement, such as a whey protein powder shake.
Who takes creatine?
Most anyone can take creatine and benefit from it, especially active people. It’s a very popular supplement in the bodybuilding community, as well as among CrossFitters, powerlifters, and those who participate in any strength- or power-based sport.
Does creatine help with weight loss?
Creatine isn’t a weight-loss supplement, but it can help you work harder in the gym due to the role it plays in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is what powers exercise. This, in turn, can lead to greater muscle protein synthesis, thus more muscle mass, which is one way to “recomp” your body.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.
- Fazio C, Elder CL, Harris MM. Efficacy of Alternative Forms of Creatine Supplementation on Improving Performance and Body Composition in Healthy Subjects: A Systematic Review. J Strength Cond Res. 2022;36(9):2663-2670. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003873
- Brandon T. Gufford, Kamaraj Sriraghavan, Nicholas J. Miller, Donald W. Miller, Xiaochen Gu, Jonathan L. Vennerstrom & Dennis H. Robinson (2010) Physicochemical Characterization of Creatine N-Methylguanidinium Salts, Journal of Dietary Supplements, 7:3, 240-252, DOI: 10.3109/19390211.2010.491507
- Antonio J, Candow DG, Forbes SC, et al. Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show?. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2021;18(1):13. Published 2021 Feb 8. doi:10.1186/s12970-021-00412-w
- M. Tayebi, H. Arazi, Is creatine hydrochloride better than creatine monohydrate for the improvement of physical performance and hormonal changes in young trained men?, Science & Sports, Volume 35, Issue 5, 2020, Pages e135-e141, ISSN 0765-1597, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scispo.2019.07.013.
- França, E. , Avelar, B. , Yoshioka, C. , Santana, J. , Madureira, D. , Rocha, L. , Zocoler, C. , Rossi, F. , Lira, F. , Rodrigues, B. and Caperuto, É. (2015) Creatine HCl and Creatine Monohydrate Improve Strength but Only Creatine HCl Induced Changes on Body Composition in Recreational Weightlifters. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 6, 1624-1630. doi: 10.4236/fns.2015.617167.
The many benefits of creatine include overall improved athletic performance, muscle gain, and increased strength, power, and speed. All of this occurs because creatine positively impacts energy production during exercise, particularly resistance exercise. Every now and again, a novel type of creatine will appear on the market and become all the rage. Currently, that’s creatine HCl, or creatine hydrochloride. This type of creatine isn’t new, but it’s having a major moment due to marketing around the molecular properties of creatine HCl, » Read more about: Beyond Raw Creatine HCl Review (2023): Underdosed or Highly Bioavailable? » Read more
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