Creatine is one of the supplement industry’s biggest success stories. Its ability to assist with growing muscle and improving energy during workouts having been demonstrated by scores of scientific studies and innumerable anecdotal accounts. But a good thing can always be made better. So when Jeff Golini, an athlete-turned-scientist, discovered that creatine is not stable in an acidic environment (like your stomach or the liquids you mix it into), he decided to raise the pH. The result? A patented molecular buffering process that allows creatine to stay 100 percent stable all the way to the muscle. We sat down with Golini, founder of All American Pharmaceutical in Billings, Mont., to learn more.
How did you first get into bodybuilding?
I have been an athlete my whole life. I played high school football, basketball and track, and I was recruited for college football. My goal was always to play professional football. So in my four years of football, I lettered varsity, received Best Conditioned Athlete and I had a pro tryout in the spring of my senior year. I didn’t get drafted. I pulled a hamstring and spent that summer at home depressed because that was my whole goal. I had always lifted weights, since sixth grade, so weightlifting was just part of what I did. So in 1982, I entered a bodybuilding contest and got hooked. Immediately, all my football ambition went into bodybuilding. After college, I made my way to Venice Beach, [Calif.], where I trained for 10 years at Gold’s Gym.
So how did you transition from wearing posing trunks to a white lab coat?
Being a bodybuilder, you’re very in tune with your nutrition. I started using some supplements, and I didn’t really like how they were making stuff. So I had some ideas. One was that since protein back then tasted so terrible, why couldn’t you just put protein in a capsule and take a bunch of capsules? So I found a little lab in San Diego, told them my idea and they made me protein tablets. And that’s how I started in the industry. I called my brand All American Nutrition Supplements — because I’d been an All-American athlete — and started selling it. In 1992 or ’93, I moved the company to Montana, and my business went from a hobby at my house to a storage facility in the bottom of my apartment building to the garage to an office. It just evolved from there. I just had ideas, had some experience with cooking, but it was a lot of trial and error. My first blending apparatus was a 55-gallon fiber drum. I would put the protein in there and roll it up and down the warehouse until I thought it was mixed. As we grew, we bought more and more space. We built our current facility in 2006; it’s 110,000 square feet, GMP certified, and we employ 150 people globally.
As your business grew, you expanded to new products. Did you set out to build a better creatine, or did the opportunity just arise?
One day I was in the lab, and I must not have had anything to do. I thought, “I wonder what would happen if I take all these creatines and I activate them like a customer would. Would something happen to the creatine?” So I started activating them and put them in my analyzer, and I was finding no creatine but I was finding creatinine. And I couldn’t figure out why when I tested the powder there was no creatinine, but when I activated it, I was finding it. So I continued to research and hired a more advanced third-party lab. We discovered that creatine was not stable in an acidic environment. And all these years, we’d been telling people to mix creatine with fruit juice or water that literally causes it to convert to creatinine. I was seeing the flaw of creatine: When you add it to water, it converts to creatinine — and the lower the pH, the quicker the conversion. It’s just not stable. So the next obvious thing was to start alkalizing it to see if there was a change in the chemical property. Sure enough, when I got it up to pH 14, I got that conversion to stop. I could fix creatine’s flaw.
So with your discovery, what issues does Kre-Alkalyn solve that other creatine supplements cannot?
There’s no bloating, cramping, dehydration or side effects, which normally come from your body trying to flush the toxic creatinine out. And because it’s completely stable, you don’t need to load. You only need 1.5 grams a day; you don’t need 20 or 30 grams. In 2001, I put it in a capsule, and that made it very convenient for people. Then I decided to color-code the capsules and print the patent number on them for security.
How did you come up with the purple color and the name Kre-Alkalyn?
I had done some research that found people were drawn to purple. This was before Nexium. As for the name, creatine spelled with a “k” is the Latin name, and since I’d alkalized it, I called it Kre-Alkalyn. I wanted to invent a name I could trademark.
Can professional athletes feel safe taking your product?
I would say that almost every professional athlete is using Kre-Alkalyn now. Without those side effects, they can achieve all the benefits of creatine: recovery, strength, endurance and stamina. All American Pharmaceutical has achieved the Informed-Choice status, which means we’re a completely drug-free facility. We’ve been third-party tested and audited. Anything that is produced here is guaranteed to the athlete that it’s been drug screened. We take that very, very seriously. So our athletes take comfort in knowing that if they take Kre-Alkalyn, they’re going to pass any drug screen.
Should the average gym-goer add Kre-Alkalyn into his or her diet?
Absolutely. For anyone from businesspeople who aren’t even athletes to grandmas and grandpas, it just gives them more energy. Creatine is what your body burns for fuel, so if you have an abundance of creatine in your bloodstream, you’re going to have more energy. You’re going to need less sleep. People notice that their joint pains go away. We’ve shown that we’re alkalizing the body, so we’re raising the body’s pH. Fewer allergies, less sickness. It’s safe for any age, even kids. There’s no scooping, no measuring, and one cap first thing in the morning is perfect for added energy throughout the day.