Nutrition Scam Hero Image

Is Creatine HCl 189 PEG a Scam? - TLDR

Creatine HCL 189 PEG

SUMMARY:  It is our opinion that Creatine HCl 189 PEG, currently used by GNC, is a scam. Its study is egregiously incorrectly designed. Furthermore, we believe the study actually shows that Creatine HCl 189 PEG is worse than normal Creatine. 

Creatine HCl 189 PEG is Creatine Hydrochloride combined with polyethylene glycol. Polyethylene glycol is the basis of a number of laxatives such as MiraLax, (not a joke). If you have had a colonoscopy, you have had PEG. It is even used in sex lube! The creators claim the PEG increases absorption of the Creatine. However, they never correctly tested that in their studies. They compared 10 grams of Creatine 189 PEG to 20 grams of Creatine Monohydrate. It's like the person who designed this study had never heard the word Creatine and just picked dosages at random that have absolutely no reflection on the real world or what these products are sold / dosed at. Creatine 189 PEG is sold at a dosage of 1.25g, and Creatine monohydrate is typically dosed at 5g. The study in no way at all reflects how this product is sold as it was tested at 8 times the dosage.

Adding up all the time periods for Table 1 in their study, Creatine 189 PEG had 13.27 mg dL and plain old Creatine Monohydrate had 115.24 mg dL. Creatine Monohydrate had 10x better absorption! Granted the dosages were so messed up you are comparing 2x the amount of Creatine monohydrate but even if we divide by 2 to normalize the dosage, Creatine Monohydrate had 5x the absorption. This study was designed to get a positive outcome for marketing claims, not to answer the question whether Creatine HCl 189 PEG is actually better. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, particularly when you can't feel the benefits, like improving creatine absorption. They should have compared 1.25g of Creatine 189 PEG to 5g of Creatine monohydrate but based on these results that would have come back hilariously negative.

The study try's to spin these negative results positively by saying that the Creatine 189 PEG uptake must be slow. Since there is no data supporting this hypothesis, it is equally valid that taking crappy, low-absorption Creatine 189 PEG for long enough eventually saturates the muscles and equals taking a superior absorbing Creatine Monohydrate. Avoid Creatine HCl 189 PEG, just use Creatine Monohydrate which also has the bonus of being much cheaper.

Agree with our opinion? Disagree? Either way, be sure to let the FTC know here.
Alternatively, email Christine DeLorme from the FTC's Division of Advertising Practices directly: [email protected]

What is a TLDR review?

A full ingredient review takes weeks to research and weeks to write up as they are 2000–4000 words in length. We love the research part but don't have a full mastery of the English language and loathe the writing. TLDR means "Too long, didn't read". We are going to try doing the same research and just writing a summary. If an ingredient gets enough views, we will expand this to a full write-up. We hope this allows us to give our opinion on more ingredients and prioritize novel new ingredients that just launched.