Kre-alkalyn is a buffered form of creatine, a common sports supplement. It's marketed as more effective with fewer side effects than regular creatine. Clinical data fails to support the claim that kre-alkalyn is safer, however -- it likely has the same safety profile as regular creatine. In general, creatine is considered relatively safe at typical dosages, according to MedlinePlus, but there are potential side effects, and it's not safe for everyone. Avoid taking kre-alkalyn without consulting your health care provider.
No Safer Than Regular Creatine
Creatine is a substance normally found in high amounts in your muscles. It's also found in your diet, particularly in meat and fish. People take creatine to enhance athletic performance. Scientists investigating the compound, however, found no evidence that kre-alkalyn causes fewer side effects or is safer than traditional creatine, according to a study published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In addition, according to the study results, kre-alkalyn did not result in greater performance benefits than regular creatine.
Causes Water Retention
One of the most common side effects of taking creatine is water retention. This side effect is typically noticeable within the first week of taking it. You can expect to gain about 1 to 3 pounds of water. This side effect is dose-dependent, meaning higher doses cause more water retention. The reason taking creatine increases water retention is because it attracts water from the body and carries it into the muscles so that they become hydrated. This can make some users feel bloated.
Increases Risk of Dehydration
Because taking creatine increases your body's demand for water, it raises your risk of dehydration. This is especially true if you engage in rigorous physical activity during hot weather, which already ups your water needs. This can lead to electrolyte imbalance or heat-related problems such as heat stroke. Because the creatine draws a large amount of water into the muscle, you must keep yourself well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day while supplementing creatine. The risk of this side effect is more pronounced with higher doses of creatine.
Other Potential Safety Considerations
Kidney complications have been reported in relation to creatine use. For this reason avoid creatine if you have kidney problems. Taking creatine commonly causes gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and diarrhea, particularly at higher doses. This side effect may go away with continued use. Creatine may raise blood pressure, so avoid taking it if you have hypertension. Rare reports of liver dysfunction linked creatine exist. For this reason, people with liver disease must avoid creatine. It may also interact with certain medications.
- MedlinePlus: Creatine
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: A Buffered Form of Creatine Does Not Promote Greater Changes in Muscle Creatine Content, Body Composition, or Training Adaptations Than Creatine Monohydrate
- Quinnipiac University: Side Effects of Creatine Use
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Creatine