Since the introduction of creatine monohydrate in 1993, there have been quite a few new versions of creatine released, each one designed to improve the ease of use and decrease some of monohydrate's disadvantages. What are the disadvantages? Well, first, it must be mixed in sugar to be absorbed. Initially, grape or apple juice was suggested but any sugary beverage can be used as long as it's not to acidic. In some users, monohydrate can cause bloating and cramps. Also, you have to use 5 grams per serving, taking 4 servings per day during the 4-5 day loading phase – in between meals! Then it's once a day thereafter. Most people will cycle on and off, so that means every time you start back up again, you load again. So to deal with this, many new versions have since been released that aren't really more effective but do allow for greater ease of use and smaller dosages. One of the most currently popular versions is Kre-Alkalyn. So what is Kre-Alkalyn?
Kre-Alkalyn is a buffered creatine monohydrate that does not convert into creatinine prior to reaching your muscles. Creatinine is a waste by-product of creatine which is filtered out by the kidneys. This is a big selling point as the manufacturer claims standard creatine monohydrate tends to turn into creatinine quickly once it hits liquid and as such requires high amounts to be effective. This product is manufactured by All American Pharmaceutical Corporation and is registered under United States patent 6,399,661.
Creatine has proven to be one of the most enduring and effective natural supplements ever released. To review the basics of what it does, creatine is tied into two key areas: energy and cell volumization. Typically, you tend to hear more about the energy aspects. This makes sense since creatine is involved in the ATP energy process.
ATP energy is this kind of energy produced through the consumption of calories that allows the body to move, perform exercise and sports- related functions. Without ATP energy, you would not be able to move at all! The body uses different metabolic systems to create this energy, three energy systems in all. These are the Phosphagen system, glycolosis, and the oxidative system. Each of these systems is being utilized to some degree all the time. However, depending on your energy requirements, the body may use one system more than the others. Let's briefly define each system:
The Oxidative system utilizes fat for energy. This system takes a long time to produce energy but, depending on your fat reserves, it can last for hours. The process of oxidation is a slow process, and the rate of fat metabolism is highly dependent on the levels of energy left in the glycolosis system.
The glycolosis system is the second energy system. Before the body will rely on the oxidative system, it will first exhaust the glycolosis system. The glycolosis system relies on the conversion of glucose into usable ATP molecules for muscular energy. This is a relatively quick process, as the conversion of sugar to ATP is not too lengthy. This allows the body to quickly replenish used ATP without adding too much energy debt. Typically, the body relies mainly on the glycolosis system for activities lasting between 5 minutes and 30 minutes.
For events lasting less than 5 minutes, the phosphagen system is the primary system used. This system allows quick replenishment of ATP . When you begin a intense activity, such as lifting weights, the body is put under extreme energy demands almost immediately. This demand is too great and too rapid to allow glycolosis to provide the ATP. The phosphagen system is able to meet your intense energy needs because of creatine. Creatine, in the form of creatine phosphate, is a compound that the body uses to recycle ATP energy. As a side note, the first creatine product ever released, by EAS in 1993, was called “Phosphagen”. So, instead of relying on the production of more ATP energy, the phosphagen system takes ADP (which is used ATP) and converts it back to ATP. This allows you to work out harder before you hit muscle failure.
Now, along with all of this, is the cell expansion aspect, which was the bigger selling point way back when creatine was first introduced. This means that the muscle cells soak up water and swell in size, causing you to see dramatic gains in size. Since the introduction of creatine and with the introduction of other supplements that cause this effect, such as nitric oxide, this concept has evolved into a newer theory of muscle growth called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
Now, let's get back to kre-alkalyn and what makes it different.
Kre-Alkalyn is processed at a higher PH level than regular creatine monohydrate. It is thought that the conversion of creatine to creatinine is a function of PH level in the body and that creatine becomes unstable when mixed with liquid and thereby turns into creatinine. If you can stop the conversion of creatine to creatinine by the manufacturing process, not only do you have, in theory, a better creatine, it should help the body absorb more creatine, thereby lowering the required dosage and eliminating the side effects that can come with monohydrate. This is, in a nutshell, the thought process behind this version of creatine.
- A higher rate of absorption
- No side effects ( bloating, cramps)
- No loading
- No need for sugar
- A smaller required dosage
So, with this product you do not have to load, you do not have to use sugar, the dosage level is less than five grams per serving and you get great results! Again, it's not so much that the results from this, or any newer version of creatine is better than monohydrate, it's that the means by which you get those results is much easier. So what this means is that if you are one of those people that just can't tolerate monohydrate, then this version is a great choice, allowing to finally take advantage of all that creatine has to offer without any negative aspects.
As far as evidence goes, there are four studies available for review on the manufacturer website, gerkrealkalyn.com. However, to be fair, often manufacturer- funded and supervised studies are biased towards the product, so check them out but bear that in mind as you do so. I've included one study below:
“Using Olympic-Level Weight Lifters”
Start Date: March 1st 2006th Finished Date: April 30th, 2006
Dr. Kamen Stroychev & Neno Terziiski, Comparison of Kre-Alkalyn to Creatine on body composition, muscular performance, & safety: Dr. I.S. Greenberg Medical Center, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of Kre-Alkalyn and Creatine Monohydrate on training induced changes in strength and body composition using Olympic-level weight lifters.
Methods: Using a random, double-blind design, 24 healthy men from the Bulgarian National Weight Lifting Team were selected and assigned to ingest 10 capsules x 750 mg of Kre-Alkalyn daily (for the test group) and 10 capsules x 750 mg of creatine monohydrate (for the controlled group). Verification of purity was assayed by an independent laboratory. Body weight was monitored, even though participating athletes were on strict diets due to their Olympic status of competition. Muscular performance was measured in the snatch, clean & jerk, high snatch, & back squat. Lifts were performed at maximum resistence for 1 repetition. The duration of the study was 60 days. Measurements were taken on baseline day and every day throughout the study per each athlete’s schedule. The best lift during the administration part of study was used for the comparison. Each athlete was required to maintain their normal dietary and training patterns during the study.
Results: The Creatine Monohydrate group showed an average increase over baseline of 8.39% for the snatch, clean & jerk, high snatch, & back squat. The Kre-Alkalyn group showed an average increase over baseline of 10.76%. By comparison, the average increase in total lifts for the Kre-Alkalyn group in the snatch, clean & jerk, high snatch, & back squat was 28.25% over the creatine monohydrate group.
Additionally, the Kre-Alkalyn group appeared to be healthy without any side effects from daily Kre-Alkalyn administration. No significant changes in body weight for either the Creatine Monohydrate group or the Kre-Alkalyn group were noted.
Conclusion: Within the framework and context of the current experimental design, this study concluded that subjects in the Kre-Alkalyn group increased their weight poundages by an average of 28.25% over subjects in the Creatine Monohydrate group. It should be noted that it is quite difficult for high-caliber Olympic-level athletes to produce considerable improvements in their muscular performance in such a short time-frame. Therefore, a 28.25% increase is considered to be a significant value
Kre-Alkalyn comes almost completely in capsule form which allows for quick absorption. There are quite a few formula products available, both pre and post workout products largely available as a powder but also as capsules. This version can be used with anything regular creatine can be used with so I would suggest a intra workout drink as well. Timing and dosage are product – specific, so check the label for detailed instructions. With stand alone versions,the suggested use can vary so again read the label for complete suggestions. I recommend 1-2 caps in the morning and 1-2 prior to your workout.