When you're working out but struggling to gain muscle, you might turn to supplements for help. Creatine is a dietary supplement used by athletes to improve performance and promote weight gain. Kre-Alkalyn Creatine is a special version of the supplement created by All American Pharmaceutical that's said to be more effective than ordinary creatine supplements. However, the specialty supplement may not be any better than other brands. Before adding creatine or any other weight-gain supplement to your usual routine, talk to your doctor and discuss benefits versus risks.
What Is Kre-Alkalyn Creatine?
Creatine is a non-essential amino acid found in meat and fish, and it's also made by your liver, pancreas and kidneys. Your body converts creatine into a different form and stores it in your muscles, where it can be used as a source of energy for high-intensity activity, such as lifting weights. Athletes and bodybuilders take creatine as a supplement to help improve energy levels for exercise and promote weight gain. Creatine monohydrate is the most studied form of creatine.
Kre-Alkalyn Creatine is a patented form of creatine marketed as safer and more effective than creatine monohydrate. According to an article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the manufacturers add an alkaline substance to the amino acid to increase its pH, making it less acidic. The buffering prevents the protein from turning into creatinine in the liquid you mix it in, according to the All American Pharmaceutical website, and also helps prevent degradation of the amino acid in the stomach, making it more available to your muscles.
Kre-Alkalyn Creatine and Weight Gain
When taken as a supplement, creatine monohydrate improves an athlete's capacity for anaerobic exercises such as weightlifting, which means the muscles have more power to work out, leading to more reps and muscle growth.
It turns out Kre-Alkalyn Creatine may not be any better at improving exercise or muscle growth than creatine monohydrate, according to a 2012 clinical study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. This study compared the effects of creatine monohydrate versus Kre-Alkalyn Creatine on muscle power and gains, as well as the amount of creatine in the muscle. The authors of this study found no difference in creatine levels, muscle strength or mass between the creatine and Kre-Alkalyn Creatine groups, and concluded that the buffered creatine supplement may not work any better than the creatine monohydrate supplements.
However, this study included only 36 weightlifters as participants, and more research may be necessary to differentiate the buffered creatine from the ordinary creatine. In any case, either supplement may help you make gains by improving your workout tolerance and the ability to push harder.
Creatine and Weight Gain
You may notice an increase in your weight when you start taking a creatine supplement such as Kre-Alkalyn Creatine. However, while creatine is an amino acid, it does not promote muscle growth. Creatine causes your muscles to retain water, so the higher number on your scale is a result of water weight gain. When taking creatine supplements, you need to make sure you drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Creatine Safety Concerns
Although it's considered a safe supplement, some people may experience side effects. Common complaints include stomach upset, diarrhea, muscle cramps, an increase in blood pressure and dizziness. More serious side effects include liver dysfunction and kidney damage. You should not take creatine in any form if you have a history of liver or kidney disease or have high blood pressure. Women who are pregnant or nursing shouldn't use creatine supplements because there's not enough information on their safety for mother or baby.
High doses of creatine may damage the kidneys, and you need to be cautious when taking the supplement with medications that are also known to be harmful to your kidneys such as cyclosporine, tobramycin, gentamicin, probenicid, cimetidine, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Check with your doctor before adding any kind of supplement to your regimen to make sure it's safe for you, especially if you have medical conditions.
Gaining Weight When Taking Creatine
You may be working out better now that you're taking Kre-Alkalyn Creatine, but the only way to gain weight is to eat more. Add 250 to 500 calories to your usual intake to help you gain an extra 1/2 to 1 pound a week. Gaining slowly ensures most of the extra weight you put on is muscle and not fat. However, depending on how active you are, you may need to make adjustments to your caloric intake either up or down to help you make the gains you want. Those extra calories should come from healthy foods. Good choices are lean proteins such as chicken and fish, fruits, starchy veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats such as nuts or avocados.