Supplements for esports: what you need to boost your performance

The science has spoken: supplements can improve player performance in esports.

supplements-ESports

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You’re seconds away from taking down the enemy Nexus. On the edge of your seat, eyes flickering across the screen, you try not to think about sore neck muscles or heavy eyelids. You can almost see yourself at the Worlds in China. The turret comes out of nowhere. The screen goes grey.

So close. If only you hadn’t lost focus.

Would supplements have made the difference? Could a few pills or a fruity drink made from powder really have helped you to keep your concentration for those final few minutes?

The short answer is… maybe.

The use of health supplements and nootropics to improve player performance is rising in the esports world. With more and more players taking vitamins, minerals, and other natural compounds touted to improve individual gameplay performance, you might be wondering if you should be too.

Nobody wants to miss out on a competitive edge—especially one that’s scientifically proven, safe, and even shown to improve your general health as well as your gameplay.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

But are supplements for esports all they’re hyped up to be? And are they worth your hard-earned money?

How do they work?

The basis for supplementation in esports can really be boiled down to one sentence: by improving your general wellness and cognitive function, you will improve your gameplay. It’s as simple as that. When you’re at full health, you feel alert, concentrated, and energetic—exactly how you want to be feeling at game-time.

So which supplements do I need to take?

If you eat half a greenhouse’s worth of fruit and vegetables every week, sleep 10 hours a night, and dance around in the sunshine every day, none. For the rest of us, below is a list of supplements that would likely be of some benefit (There are a lot of esport supplements on the market, but these are my chosen winners):

  • Vitamin D3: Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common. While the body actually makes its own vitamin D, it needs exposure to sunlight in order to do so. Barriers to year-round sunlight include but are not limited to: living in Canada and being a gamer. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement can do wonders for bone health and helps to maintain a healthy immune system. A sick gamer is a bad gamer. vitamin D is your friend.
  • Fish oil: Unless you’re eating oily fish two or three times a week, you’re probably not getting enough omega-3 naturally to reap its many benefits. In addition to possibly reducing cholesterol and contributing to heart health, some research has suggested that fish-oil supplementation can improve short-term memory in those who are deficient. Ever look at the map, then forget where you’re going a minute later? I’ve forgotten my point. . .better go take some fish oil.
  • Ginseng: Several clinical trials have shown improved cognitive function as well as a reduction in perceived fatigue with supplementation of Panax ginseng. Ever find yourself tired and unfocused as the game goes on? Ginseng could help.
  • Caffeine: You already know this one. We’ve all been there: You have a bad night’s sleep before a competition. . .You wake up groggy and slow. . .Only coffee can save you now. Caffeine is effective when it comes to counteracting sleepiness, and can therefore help your game. Just be careful with dosage—shaky hands and anxiety don’t make a good player. Fifty to 100 milligrams is generally optimal. Avoid sugary drinks. They will only spike your blood sugar and lead to a crash.
energy-drink-gamer
Caffeine can help wake you up, but sugar-laden energy drinks can lead to spikes and crashes and are best avoided. Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

What about stacks/multivitamins?

There is an endless range of multivitamins and gamer-targeted supplement bundles available on the market. Most of these stacks are made up of several cognitive enhancers (with varying degrees of scientific support behind each), all bundled together into an easy to drink or swallow product. While convenient, in a lot of cases the truth is: you’re probably already getting half of the contained ingredients from your diet.

Take-home message

Supplements can improve player performance in esports. The science has spoken. But before you go rushing out to buy every supplement on the market, ask yourself a few specific questions. The answers will guide you to more effective, more economical supplement purchases. Do you eat oily fish regularly? Do you bask in the glory of an endless summer?

No and no? You could probably do with picking up some fish oil and vitamin D.

Do you find yourself losing focus during competition, despite doing your best to exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet?

Yes? Perhaps some ginseng and an extra shot of espresso will be the fuel you need to bring your game to the next level. You won’t know anything for sure until you try it for yourself. And unlike competition day, you’ve got very little to lose. 

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