Okay so a couple people have asked for information on how we dosed the ingredients in Tier 1 and which studies we referenced when we decided on the formulation. There will always be opinions (why not this, why not more of that, etc.) but this should help everyone understand why we did what we did.
When deciding on ingredients/doses we take three things into consideration:
- Be scientifically sound. Human performance studies preferred to critter studies. Doses similar/identical to those used in studies.
- Expert Review. Specifically Alan Aragon and Lyle McDonald. These are the two main resources we trust when it comes to supplements and nutrition. We like to think of ourselves as halfway intelligent and we devour studies and relevant literature but we are also susceptible to making mistakes. Trusting expert advice on empirical evidence is very important.
- We are happy with the mix and take it ourselves. Ultimately this company started because we were scratching our own itch and it is a fundamental principle we follow. Yes, we take Tier 1. The day we don’t we’re going to stop selling it. Plain and simple.
Creatine – probably the single most studied dietary supplement. For those who don’t know, basically supplementing with creatine increases your intramuscular stores of phosphocreatine, which allows your body to resynthesize an energy source in your body called ATP.
Simple terms – creatine increases performance during high intensity activities that require short bursts of energy like weight lifting and sprinting as well as activities that require a mix of short bouts and steady state energy. The most important thing with creatine is to make sure you get your maintenance dose (once loaded). When you take it is a secondary concern. So why did we include it in our pre-workout?
- We wanted Tier 1 to give the added value of providing a maintenance dose of creatine on training days. Back to the principle of creating supplements we take ourselves – we like the convenience of having it in our preworkout on training days instead of taking it separately.
- Three (3) grams per serving for the maintenance dose determined through this study. Click Here.
Of note was the study’s conclusion that: “Following the maintenance period, muscle TCr stores were still similar to post-loading values for both the 2 g x day(-1) and 5 g x day(-1) conditions.” So to keep it as economical as possible while providing an effective dose – 3 grams it was.
Another performance ingredient with multiple studies showing its effectiveness. Supplementing with beta-alanine increases intramuscular carnosine levels which helps reduce fatigue. It’s been shown to improve muscular endurance and strength/power when paired with creatine. Simple terms – beta alanine reduces fatigue, improves muscular endurance, and helps with strength/power when paired with creatine.
We’ve gotten a couple questions about why we “only” have 2 grams of beta-alanine. If you examine the numerous studies of beta-alanine you’ll find that the majority administered it in divided doses. Beta-alanine has been shown to cause a histamine response – an irritating and stinging/burning sensation in the skin (commonly referred to in bro circles as tingles but more scientifically referred to as paresthesia). We believe this is one of the reasons why it was administered in divided doses.
Supplements Part 2 – Lyle McDonald
- Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity. (800mg doses / 4-8 times a day)
- Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double blind trial (1.5g doses / 4 times a day)
- Beta alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attentuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters (400mg doses / 2.4g a day for first 4 days; 3.6g a day for next three, 4.8g till end of study)
Okay….so Why 2 grams of beta-alanine in Tier 1?
We used these studies that paired beta-alanine with creatine when making that decision.
- Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds, and time to exhaustion. (1.6 gram dose / 4 doses a day for first six days / 2 doses thereafter)
- Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. (1.6 gram dose / 2 doses per day)
We personally take another 2 gram serving of NOW Foods Beta-alanine after training sessions. (link here)
Alright. So Tyrosine is a precursor substrate for adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine in the brain (catecholamines). This study helped us understand it better (click here). As far as we could tell, Tyrosine by itself does not appear to have any major impact on sports performance.
Human studies examining its effect with caffeine vs. caffeine vs. placebo are nil from what we could find. The reason it is in the mix is because empirical evidence suggests that it works synergistically with caffeine. Simply put – it has an impact as a pre-workout stimulant when combined with caffeine. We have found this to be the case as well. Since tyrosine can increase catecholamine production and caffeine can increase catecholamine release – these two compounds should work together to increase the energy effect.
Although there are not numerous studies examining its effect when paired just with caffeine – from an expert review and empirical evidence standpoint its use when paired with caffeine is well supported. We relied heavily on research by Lyle Mcdonald in his Stubborn Fat Loss, Ultimate Diet 2.0, and specifically the Protein Book when including and dosing this ingredient. The common recommendation from the literature we’ve read is 1-3 grams of l-tyrosine with 200mg of caffeine.
Okay here is the ingredient that we went back and forth with the most. Yes, we know if you are eating a healthy diet that it is not needed. Those particularly at risk of being deficient are vegetarians/vegans/malabsorption/bad diet. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, depression, headaches, etc.
These are the studies we referenced for inclusion/dosing of Tier 1:
- Update on Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Causes of Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency
- Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation to Athletes
- Vitamin Supplementation and Athletic Performance
- Vitamin B-12 and homocysteine status among vegetarians: A global perspective.
We knew our target market would most likely be eating a balanced diet – but the biggest factor swaying us to include them was the relatively low cost to include and how little of the mix it constitutes (less than 1%). Couple with the fact that they are water soluble so if you are not deficient it would just be pissed out – we decided to put them in the mix.
Okay. That’s it.
p.s. Many of the full text studies are available but for some of the others you have to pay $25 to $30 for the full text. If you have any specific questions about the studies that require payment let us know. Although we can’t send you the full text we can cite specific sections or answer any questions you may have.