Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Review

Tier 1 is Citadel Nutrition’s pre-workout which contains just four main ingredients: Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Tyrosine, and Caffeine…

Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Plus



Creatine has the ability to rapidly produce ATP (cellular energy) to support cellular function (in this case exercise). During high intensity exercise, creatine is used for energy which tends to spare the glycogen that would normally be used. For this reason, creatine indirectly decreases lactic acid build up because lactic acid is a byproduct formed when glucose is burned for energy.

Creatine has consistently been demonstrated to increase power output, as well as muscle size, with maximum benefit being reached at around 8 weeks of consistent supplementation. It is generally recommended to consume 5 grams per day but lower doses (minimum of 3 grams) can still be effective if consumed over a longer period of time.

Creatine comes in various forms, the most common of which is creatine monohydrate, which is formed by dehydrating a solution of creatine, where a single water molecule remains bound to the creatine molecule. It is commonplace for companies to tout various forms of creatine as “more bioavailable” or “faster absorbing”, but there is no clear-cut evidence that one form is better than another.

Tier 1 contains 5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate, a scientifically validated dose. Often times, a “loading phase” is recommended for creatine users during which an excess amount of creatine (10-20 grams) is consumed for a week or two in order to saturate muscle cells, before dropping down to a consistent 5 grams dose. However, recent research has confirmed that the same saturation can be achieved with smaller doses, over a longer period of time. It’s important to understand that Creatine must accumulate in muscle tissue, and is not effective for one-time use.

However, if taken over a sustained period of time it is one of the most effective performance enhancing supplements available. It is also remarkably safe, even at much higher doses than the 5 grams present in the Tier 1 formula.


Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that serves as a precursor to the amino acid carnosine, which acts as a lactic acid buffer, effectively reducing muscular fatigue. Like Creatine, Beta Alanine takes time to accumulate, but if taken over a sustained period of time, can also be an extremely effective performance enhancing supplement with a strong safety profile.

One study in particular that measured the carnosine levels of sprinters found that individuals with high carnosine levels exhibited higher power output in the latter half of a 30m sprint. Various studies have shown that Beta Alanine supplementation increase muscular carnosine, which improves physical performance. In particular, a 2012 study published in “Amino Acids” found that subjects who consumed 1.6 or 3.2 grams of Beta Alanine daily experienced significant increases in muscle carnosine in as little as two weeks, with the higher dose achieving a higher concentration of carnosine.

Tier 1 uses the same 3.2 gram dose used in this study, making it easy to gauge the efficacy.


Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid which serves as a precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, the three of which are collectively referred to as ‘catecholamines’. A 1981 study found that subjects who consumed 100mg/kg of Tyrosine experienced a significant increase in catecholamine levels (measured from urine), but supplemental Tyrosine has failed to produce the performance enhancing effects commonly associated with increased release of catecholamine.

This is because Tyrosine does not instantly get converted into noradrenaline, dopamine, or adrenaline. It forms a pool, and when there is a deficit of catecholamines, the pool is drawn from to create more. So rather than directly improve physical performance, Tyrosine has demonstrated the ability to improve aspects of cognitive function in the phase of an stressor (sleep deprivation, exposure to cold, and possibly exercise).

In other words, Tyrosine may restore levels of dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline when necessary, but does not increase them beyond normal levels. Citadel claims that Tyrosine may act synergistically with caffeine because tyrosine can increase catecholamine production while caffeine increases catecholamine release. Thus, during exercise when catecholamines are being released, Tyrosine can ‘fuel the fire’. Unfortunately, there are no studies to back up these claims, and all we have to rely on is a supplement company’s theory and some anecdotal evidence.

At the very least, Tyrosine may assist in recovery by reducing some of the negative cognition-related effects of physical exercise. Tier 1 contains 3 grams of Tyrosine which is at the higher end of what is generally recommended (by supplement companies).


Caffeine is a well-established ergogenic aid/cognitive enhancer, and also happens to be the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Caffeine causes an increase in catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine), resulting in increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy. In most individuals, increased energy may lead to a more intense/longer workout. Tier 1 contains 200mg of caffeine per dose, which is certainly enough to trigger noticeable effects in the average person, but nowhere near a dangerous dose for a healthy individual. As mentioned above, any synergistic effect of caffeine and tyrosine has not been studied, though some swear on it.


Tier 1 is a simple, yet highly effective pre-workout supplement containing scientifically validated doses of creatine, beta-alanine, tyrosine, and Caffeine. While creatine and beta-alanine take time to start working, the 200mg of caffeine present in the formula is enough to provide the focus and energy users of pre-workout supplements are generally accustomed to.

Still not sure which pre-workout supplement is right for you? Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplement List!

Supplement Facts

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  10. Sutton, Erin E., M. R. Coill, and Patricia A. Deuster. “Ingestion of tyrosine: effects on endurance, muscle strength, and anaerobic performance.” International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 15.2 (2005): 173.
  11. Costill, D. L., Gl P. Dalsky, and W. J. Fink. “Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance.” Medicine and science in sports 10.3 (1977): 155-158.
  12. Graham, T. E., and L. L. Spriet. “Metabolic, catecholamine, and exercise performance responses to various doses of caffeine.” Journal of Applied Physiology 78.3 (1995): 867-874.
  13. Graham, Terry E. “Caffeine and exercise.” Sports medicine 31.11 (2001): 785-807.
  14. Suzuki, Yasuhiro, Osamu Ito, Naoki Mukai, Hideyuki Takahashi, and Kaoru Takamatsu. “High Level of Skeletal Muscle Carnosine Contributes to the Latter Half of Exercise Performance during 30-s Maximal Cycle Ergometer Sprinting.” The Japanese Journal of Physiology 52.2 (2002): 199-205.
  15. Kraemer, William J., and Jeff S. Volek. “Creatine supplementation: its role in human performance.” Clinics in sports medicine 18.3 (1999): 651-666.
  16. Casey, Anna, and Paul L. Greenhaff. “Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance?.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 72.2 (2000).
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  18. Arciero, PAUL J., et al. “Effects of caffeine ingestion on NE kinetics, fat oxidation, and energy expenditure in younger and older men.” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism 268.6 (1995): E1192-E1198.
  19. Astrup, A., et al. “Caffeine: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of its thermogenic, metabolic, and cardiovascular effects in healthy volunteers.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 51.5 (1990): 759-767.


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