Our goal with these comparisons is to not only provide a quality/effectiveness comparison between two products, but also to help people learn what to look for when looking at supplement labels. After a while you should be able to pick up a sports supplement and make a pretty quick decision on if it’s something you want to take or not.
Our main focus is on quality/effectiveness/honesty. We don’t examine taste as we feel it is somewhat subjective, but if you have any questions you can email us or post in the comments. As a side-note we used the 100 serving label of White Flood for this comparison. They also have 50 serving and 10 serving options.
We also want to add that if any of our readers are aware of any updated/additional studies on any of the ingredients or topics posted below that would impact this comparison please let us know. This also includes different interpretations of the studies we reference. As a general rule we seek out peer-reviewed studies on PubMed/Medline that are conducted on humans and relevant to exercise or performance whenever possible.
1. Ingredients & Doses
By looking at the number of ingredients used in each product you can see a pretty big difference in supplement philosophy.
Complexity vs. simplicity.
Let’s analyze White Flood’s label.
Starting with the active ingredients – we see the “Nitric Flood Complex” which is 1500mg or 1.5 grams total. So some combination of L-citrulline, L-ornithine, and LCLT totals 1.5 grams. It is worthwhile to note that while there has been no shortage of research on nitric-oxide related supplements and its effect on human performance, the studies are not conclusive, especially in highly trained subjects.
For instance the once highly touted L-Arginine has been one of the most perpetuated scams on the supplement market – with no proven benefit not only on exercise performance but even in raising NO levels in the body. While doing this review we came across previous versions of white flood which contained L-Arginine. White Flood has switched to this newer complex. Let’s see if there is any difference.
L-citrulline is a nonessential amino acid that plays a large role in the urea cycle in the liver. White Flood chose to go with this form rather than the more commonly used compound Citrulline Malate, which is L-Citrulline bonded to malic acid. An examination of the studies available on Citrulline show that it is not well substantiated from a human performance standpoint.
Now let’s assume a best case scenario for White Flood and say they had used Citrulline Malate. In two relevant human performance studies (bench press and finger flexion) the doses used were 8 grams and 6 grams respectively.
The evidence basis for Ornithine on increasing sports or exercise performance is weak. Let’s move on to the last ingredient in the Nitric Flood Complex.
L-carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT)
Carnitine content of muscle decreases during exercise and it has been suggested that carnitine supplements may be important to normalize or maintain skeletal muscle levels. It is worthy to note that LCLT is not the same as Acetyl l-carnitine, a modified form of carnitine with distinct differences.
An examination of the human studies available show potential benefit of using LCLT to strength/power athletes.
Out of the three ingredients in the Nitric Flood Complex LCLT seems to be the most well supported. The problem is that since proprietary blends are used – you cannot confirm you are taking an effective dose. Proprietary blends are listed in order of value – so LCLT is the least predominant in the blend. We find this interesting because out of the three ingredients in the Nitric Flood Complex it is the best supported.
White Flood FlooDurance Complex.
Carnosyn Beta-alanine (kudos) and Tyrosine in a 1.2 gram blend. Beta-alanine has a solid evidence basis and tyrosine works well with caffeine from an empirical evidence and expert review standpoint. Both ingredients used in this blend are solid. Hard to determine how much of what is used.
Tier 1 uses 2 grams and 3 grams of beta-alanine and tyrosine respectively. Our substantiation for those doses can be found here.
White Flood Live Energy Complex
This complex has a whole lot of ingredients totaling 2.165 grams. It would be futile effort to evaluate each ingredient used in this blend for effectiveness so we’ll just pick the first one since proprietary blends list ingredients in order of predominance. Even if the ingredient used was sound – there is no way to confirm an effective dose since they are all jumbled in a proprietary blend. In this Live Energy Complex beet root is the most predominant ingredient.
We presume that the inclusion of this ingredient here is the notion that nitrate ingestion increases exercise performance and beet root is a means of increasing nitrate intake. Here’s what we found:
The above should be sufficient justification to treat the listed results with a great deal of caution. While the performance benefits of dietary nitrate are an increasingly fruitful area of research, this work is poorly controlled, even by the standards of allied health or social science research, and is not a legitimate contribution to that research
As a side note – reading Alan’s research reviews are humbling in terms of the depth and detail of the dissection – by posting many of the studies above we are surely taking a more optimistic view of any benefits shown because many of the study design flaws are not as readily apparent to us. This is why Expert Review is such an important part of determining supplement effectiveness.
Okay back to beetroot. There are additional studies using beetroot juice, some showing benefit, others showing no benefit on exercise performance. Many of the study groups used 0.5L of beetroot juice a day. In White Flood the amount of beetroot in the Live Energy Blend is some undisclosed number less than 2.165 grams.
Caffeine – which is the most relevant ingredient in terms of providing energy – is 4th down from the top of the blend. Impossible to determine exactly how much caffeine is in the mix.
It is somewhat redundant to post links to all of the studies we referenced here since many of them can be found on our blog. We also dissect the dosages we used. If you have additional questions or comments you can email us or post in the comments section.
Creatine has hundreds of human studies showing performance benefit. Well supported by scientific research.
Beta-alanine has in the neighborhood of 25+ human studies showing performance benefit. Well supported by scientific research.
Tyrosine paired with Caffeine does not have any studies examining its benefit in sports performance. This is one area that Tier 1 is weak from a scientific perspective. We gave our reasons for why we included in Tier 1 here. In short, the empirical evidence and expert review aspects of this ingredient when used when caffeine are the reason why we included this ingredient. We will note that Tyrosine itself has not shown any significant impact on sports performance and that in the studies showing positive impact pertaining to sleep deprivation the doses used were relatively high – 150mg/kg.
Caffeine. The main energy stimulant. Well supported in terms of providing energy and as an ergogenic aid.
Citadel Nutrition provides third party test results for every product, every batch. We also aim to provide patented forms of ingredients to help ensure quality control.
White Flood’s website claims that they provide third-party test results. When you actually click on their product test results page you’ll see that none are provided. (As of 7/19/2012) Link below for your reference.
Tier 1 does not use proprietary blends. White Flood does.
In our opinion all pre-workout products set out to provide energy. How they do it is a completely different matter. Both of these products provide the core function of a preworkout – which is to provide energy. Both products contain caffeine and will provide a stimulatory effect. The issue at hand is the complexity and plethora of ingredients, whether sound or not, in ineffective doses.
An additional issue is that if you are getting pixie dusted on ingredients you aren’t getting what you are paying for. Sound ingredients need to be paired with effective doses.
As an informed consumer it is your job to decide what to look for in sports supplements.
The first knee-jerk criticism of some people that are already making their own homemade mix is that they can mix the ingredients significantly cheaper in bulk. That's what we did personally for a long time, and that's what we still tell people to do if Tier 1 isn't right for them.
A big pet peeve of ours is the over the top marketing and supposed benefits of using different “types” of creatine. Many of these special forms of creatine are alsoexpensive and in our opinion take advantage of the consumer.