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With countless options to choose from, finding the best creatine supplement can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. You want a product with the most quality ingredients, a positive user experience, and the greatest ability to improve strength. Is this the product you’ve been searching for? We’ve created this GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 review to help you decide.  

GNC claims the polyethylene glycosylated (PEG) creatine hydrochloride (HCL) used in this supplement is an advanced form of creatine more powerful than creatine monohydrate. Is it too good to be true? We’ve done the digging to determine if these claims are legit so you don’t have to. Keep reading for insight into the benefits, downfalls, product formulation, and potential side effects, as well as our expert product tester’s experience using this supplement. 

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.

Creatine Supplement Connoisseurs

Let’s just say we know a thing or two about creatine supplements. Our expert product testers are on a mission to provide you with the most reliable feedback related to all things creatine. You could go as far as to say we are a bit obsessed.

Who are our expert testers? None other than highly reputable certified personal trainers, CrossFit-L1 trainers, Olympic athletes, and nutritionists who have your best interests in mind. We’ve tested hundreds of products, from gym equipment and fitness trackers to nutrition supplements and cross-training shoes. Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and product tester, tried the GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189, and we’ve included his valuable, always transparent insight in this supplement review. 

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189

GNC AMP Creatine HCl 189

GGR Score: 3.26 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Creatine hydrochloride supplement in tablet form 
  • Claimed to improve strength and performance more efficiently than creatine monohydrate 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Subscribe and save 10%
  • Gluten-free, no milk
  • No artificial flavors

Cons

  • Contains sucralose
  • Mixed reviews on effectiveness from customers
  • Only available in tablet form

Bottom Line

GNC AMP Creatine HCl 189 is a creatine hydrochloride supplement in tablet form. GNC recommends taking two tablets per day. They claim this supplement will help improve strength and performance more efficiently than creatine monohydrate. Customer reviews of the product were mixed regarding the effectiveness.

A Quick Look at GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189

GNC was founded in Pittsburgh by David Shakarian in 1935. Although David only made $35 on his first day in business, he relentlessly pushed forward to achieve his goals and grow his company. 

Today, GNC products offer innovative health solutions and are made with high-quality ingredients. Over the last several decades, GNC has become well-known as a leader in the sports nutrition industry, housing nine unique brands, including GNC AMP, and hundreds of products.

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 is made with creatine HCL to improve muscular strength, maximize muscle growth, and provide immediate energy during a workout. Not only that but the product is designed to increase muscle production of ATP (energy), and improve muscular endurance.

GNC Amp Creatine Pills

Taken in pill form, GNC Amp claims that the PEG-creatine system in this product has a superior absorption rate compared to creatine monohydrate, so you’ll experience the full product benefits and truly get what you pay for. 

RELATED: Creatine Benefits

Is GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 Worth It?

Creatine HCL 189 could benefit several types of athletes, but isn’t for just anybody. 

Great for:

  • Weightlifters wanting to build muscle mass
  • Powerlifters focused on increasing their one-rep max 
  • Endurance athletes who would benefit from explosive power
  • Those who prefer taking pills to powder

Not recommended for:

  • Anyone pregnant or nursing, or anyone under the age of 18
  • Anyone with an upcoming surgery (within 2 weeks)
  • Athletes who undergo drug testing for their sport, as this product is not third-party tested
  • Anyone who prefers to take the most-studied form and dose of creatine

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 Specs

Price per serving$44.99 on GNC.com ($27.99 on Amazon)
Servings per container60 servings
Flavor optionsUnflavored
Ingredients1250 mg PEG Creatine HCL
Other ingredients:Dicalcium Phosphate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Vegetable Stearate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Enteric Coating, Croscarmellose Sodium, Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Silicate, Titanium Dioxide (Mineral Whitener), Magnesium Stearate Vegetable Source, Vegetable Acetoglycerides, Natural Mint Flavor, Sucralose, Triacetin, Diacetylated Monoglycerides
*This product is gluten-free
Third-party tested?No

Experience Using GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 

One serving of Creatine HCL 189 is two tablets. The tablets are large and should be taken with plenty of water. The outer casing is slick, making it easier for some to swallow. Even so, many customer reviews on Amazon complain that they are too big and uncomfortable to swallow. 

RELATED: How Much Water Should You Drink with Creatine?

“These are HORSE PILLS! Pretty big, and you need to take two pills for a serving. However, I found them OK to swallow,” says product tester Anthony O’Reilly.

GNC Amp encourages you to take these tablets at a time that’s convenient for you, perhaps when taking a multivitamin or pre-workout. Creatine is effective before, during, or after a workout. Unlike ordinary creatine supplements, this creatine HCl product doesn’t require a loading phase. 

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout Without Creatine

Otherwise, there’s not a whole lot to say about taking a creatine supplement in tablet form. The directions are clear, easy to follow, and if you can manage to swallow the pills, then that’s really all there is to it.

Price Per Serving

It is much less expensive to purchase this product off Amazon rather than the GNC website. At the time of writing, you save a whopping $17.00 when you buy this GNC creatine from Amazon. 

You can purchase Creatine HCL 189 on Amazon at a reduced price of $27.99 for a two-month supply. For 120 tablets, you pay 0.23 cents per pill. Since a serving is two tablets, this comes out to be 0.46 cents a serving.

GNC Amp Creatine Man Pouring Pills In Hand

There is also the option to purchase a four-month supply for $64.99 on Amazon. For 240 tablets, you pay 0.27 cents per pill and 0.54 cents a serving. 

Formulation

PEG Creatine HCL is the main ingredient in Creatine HCL 189. GNC Amp claims this form of creatine is better absorbed, more efficient, and of higher quality than creatine monohydrate, the most studied form sold today.

Although GNC refers to a clinical study to back up these claims on their website, they do disclose they performed the research themselves and don’t offer links to the original research.

GNC Amp boasts the results of a randomized, double-blind study of 57 males that indicated those who supplemented with GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 containing 1.25 grams of PEG creatine HCL significantly improved their leg press one-rep max by 54.3 pounds compared to subjects taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate who increased their performance by 52.3 pounds.

In the very few human studies completed on creatine HCL, one randomized, double-blind study1 observed 40 individuals complete 4 weeks of weightlifting while taking either creatine HCL or creatine monohydrate. Both creatine supplements improved exercise performance, but only creatine HCL was associated with body composition changes. 

Although these results sound impressive, GNC’s research can’t be verified. Many more independent clinical studies are needed before we can confidently suggest that creatine HCL is superior to other forms of creatine. In fact, most current research shows that the most effective form is creatine monohydrate, according to a 2022 systematic review2 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It’s also of note that GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 is dosed at 1.25 grams, which is significantly below the recommended amount of 3 to 5 grams per day.

RELATED: How To Take Creatine

Following creating HCL, calcium is the next on the ingredient list, which research3 shows may help increase blood creatinine concentration. Creatinine is a byproduct of creatine that helps boost muscular energy. Most other ingredients included are used to make this product into a pill form. For instance, microcrystalline cellulose is used as a binder in wet and dry manufacturing processes. Enteric coating is a polymer barrier used to form the outer shell of a pill.

Note that a natural mint flavor and sucralose (an artificial sweetener) are included in small amounts. Some Amazon customers mentioned a slightly minty taste.  

Taste and Solubility 

GNC states on its website that creatine HCL has superior solubility compared to other forms of creatine. Creatine HCL is thought to be 41 times more soluble in water than creatine monohydrate1. This could mean that creatine HCL can be better absorbed into the bloodstream, potentially resulting in greater muscle creatine uptake and effectiveness, though the research on this is limited.  

Although the supplement is considered unflavored, the tablets have a slight mint flavor. Keep in mind these tablets are intended to be swallowed, not chewed, so you probably won’t notice much of the mint flavoring. 

Side Effects

Creatine supplementation is generally well tolerated, however the most commonly reported side-effects include water retention and GI distress. 

During the first few days of taking a creatine supplement, you may retain water due to increased intracellular volume3. Typically this is a short-term side-effect that resolves on its own. However, it can be accompanied by GI distress and feeling uncomfortably distended.

That said, since creatine HCL is thought to be more soluble and easily absorbed than other forms of creatine, these side effects may be less likely1

It’s a common fear that creatine supplementation causes kidney damage from elevated creatinine in the blood that must be expelled through urine. However, research has found4 that those with healthy kidneys filter out creatinine without causing damage.

RELATED: Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?

Third-Party Testing 

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 is not third-party tested. Keep in mind, the Food and Drug Administration does not approve dietary supplements for safety before they’re sold in stores. That’s why we encourage third-party testing to ensure a product is free of heavy metals, allergens, and banned substances.

Comparison to Con-Cret Creatine HCL 

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 and Con-Cret Creatine HCL contain the same form of creatine in different amounts. A serving of Con-Cret Creatine HCL includes 750 milligrams of creatine HCL, compared to Creatine HCL 189, which includes 1,250 milligrams. 

Con-Cret Creatine HCL is available in both powder and tablet form. The powder form is available in many different flavors, including fruit punch and lemon-lime. Con-Cret Creatine claims to be the most bioavailable creatine.

Whereas Con-Cret Creatine HCL powder would need to be mixed with water and consumed as a liquid, Creatine HCL 189 is simply swallowed in pill form. Some customers prefer the ease of taking a pill, while others would rather sip on a flavored drink. 

Con-Cret Creatine HCL powder is made with fewer ingredients, only including natural flavors and stevia leaf extract. Both supplements are free of stimulants.

Creatine HCL 189 is more expensive based on the price per serving. Creatine HCL 189 costs 0.46 cents per serving, compared to Con-Cret Creatine HCL powder at 0.39 cents per serving.

If you prefer a creatine HCL product in powder form, made with natural flavors, and offered in several flavors, then Con-Cret Creatine HCL is your best bet. On the other hand, if you like the convenience of taking creatine HCL in tablet form then Creatine HCL 189 may be for you. 

Learn more with our Con-Cret Creatine review.

Con-Cret Creatine HCL

CON-CRET Creatine

GGR Score: 3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Claimed to be the #1 bioavailable creatine
  • 750 mg of microdosed creatine HCl
  • No loading, cycling, cramping, bloating, or retaining water 
  • Stimulant-free
  • 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

Pros

  • No added sugar or artificial flavors
  • Many users enjoy the taste
  • Dissolves well in hot or cold liquid
  • Reportedly highly effective

Cons

  • Serving size depends on your weight, so the servings per container varies
  • Consider ordering directly from manufacturer

Bottom Line

Marketed as the number one bioavailable creatine, CON-CRET Creatine delivers 750 milligrams of microdosed creatine HCl per serving. This supplement is formulated to support muscular strength, reproductive wellness, cognitive function, and immune and heart health. CON-CRET Creatine is available in several flavor options which seemed to be liked by the majority of users. Unlike some other forms of creatine, CON-CRET claims that with CON-CRET Creatine HCl, there is no need for loading or cycling.

Customer Experience

GNC wants to ensure you’re fully satisfied with your supplement purchase. If you purchase Creatine HCL 189 from the GNC website, you can make a return within 30 days from the order date for a full refund. Refunds do not include the costs of shipping and handling. They do accept returns for items that have been opened and used. 

Ordering GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189

When ordering from the GNC website, you are prompted to select a shipping method for your order. Shipping options include ground, third-day, second-day, or overnight shipping. Orders made after 4 pm EST may not be processed until the following business day. 

This product is also sold on Amazon and Walmart.com and can be found in stock at GNC stores. 

Customer Reviews

This product has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon and 4.2 out of 5 stars on the GNC website.

One Amazon customer noticed enhanced strength: “Every time I start taking it my bench and squats go up 20 lbs almost immediately. Really lets you lift more to build more. It can be daunting to swallow these horse pills at first, but once you get used to it it’s no big deal. Results are worth it!”

Another GNC customer mentions difficulty swallowing the tablets: “I’m definitely stronger and less fatigued when taking them, but they are pretty big pills and hard to swallow. So far, I’ve had no issues with water retention or bloating. On the whole, I think these are good value for your money.”

Final Verdict of Our GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 Review

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 may benefit weight lifters interested in gaining strength and enhancing muscle power and endurance during an intense workout. Although GNC makes some convincing claims that creatine HCL is superior to competing products made with creatine monohydrate, their claims lack sufficient research and evidence. 

Creatine HCL 189 tablets are large and difficult to swallow but have superior solubility and may absorb better than other forms of creatine. Many customers report having less GI distress when taking Creatine HCL 189 tablets compared to other creatine supplements. If you like the convenience of taking your supplements in tablet form, you could give this product a shot. 

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 Rating

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189

Is Creatine HCL 189 more powerful than creatine monohydrate? We’ve created this GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 review to help you decide.

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 34

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.26

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 Rating

Price Per Serving – 4
Formulation – 1.5
Taste – 3
Solubility – 4
Side Effects – 5
Third-Party Testing – 0
Customer Service – 4
Customer Reviews – 4.6
Check Price

GNC Amp Creatine HCL 189 FAQs

What is creatine HCL 189 good for?

Creatine HCL 189 is intended to improve muscular strength, enhance energy production during a workout, increase muscle power during short bursts of high-intensity exercise, and improve muscular endurance.

Is creatine HCL 189 safe?

It’s generally considered safe to consume a creatine supplement in the recommended serving size on the product label. Do not take creatine HCL 189 if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or expecting to have surgery within the next two weeks.

If you are taking medication or have a medical condition, always talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement.

Is creatine HCl 189 better than monohydrate?

The effectiveness of creatine monohydrate is well-researched and documented, but we lack sufficient evidence to suggest that creatine HCL is the better option.

How many creatine HCL 189 pills should I take?

The recommended dose is 2 pills per serving. Be sure to swallow tablets with lots of water to avoid discomfort.

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.

References

  1. Elias de França, Bruno A, Caroline Y, et al. Creatine HCl and Creatine Monohydrate Improve Strength but Only Creatine HCl Induced Changes on Body Composition in Recreational Weightlifters. Food and Nutrition Sciences,06,1624-1630. doi: 10.4236/fns.2015.617167
  2. 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
  3. Barry EL, Mott LA, Melamed ML, et al. Calcium supplementation increases blood creatinine concentration in a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2014;9(10):e108094. Published 2014 Oct 15. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108094
  4. 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

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