Like athletes in the NBA, NFL, and NHL competitive players in eSports need to have energy, focus, extreme awareness, quick reflexes, and even faster reaction times. In a match where every second counts and the slightest hesitation could be the difference between victory and defeat, its imperative players are at the top of their game both mentally and physically.
Many players turn to soda’s or energy drinks like Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Red Bull, and Monster to give them a quick burst of energy; and although the sugar and caffeine can boost these attributes for a short time, the inevitable crash and long-term effects can be detrimental to their health.
Sucrose, Glucose, Caffeine, artificial sweeteners, aspartame, acesulfame K, sucrolose, and added color are some of the main ingredients in these common drinks, none of which are healthy and in fact are highly addictive and are dangerous, especially with over consumption.
Energy drinks have long been a staple for late night gamers, all night streamers, and professional players; but do the momentary benefits outweigh the long-term effects? Due to the high amounts of ingredients like sugar and caffeine, daily consumption of energy drinks over the long run can contribute to health problems such as cardiovascular complications, kidney stones, headaches, migraines, and even type 2 diabetes.
You may be thinking, “there’re healthier alternatives like G Fuel”, well let’s talk about G Fuel. G Fuel is advertised as a “healthy” alternative to common energy drinks, but is it healthy? The “healthier energy drink” is packed with anti-oxidants that help to eliminate free radicals and seemingly does not contain other harmful chemicals like common energy drinks.
Although I believe G Fuel is a better alternative to commercial energy drinks and sodas I would not go as far to say it is healthy, there are still concerns regarding the high amount caffeine (150 milligrams per 12 fluid ounces) in their drinks, especially in young gamers. A paper done by a group of pediatric doctors noted that over consumption of caffeine could lead to nervousness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, palpitations, abdominal pain, and in extreme cases paralysis.
Dr. Schneider, lead author of a study for the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommended that children and adolescents should never consume energy drinks because of caffeine’s potential to disturb sleeping patterns, increase heart rates and slow brain development. Companies like Red Bull deliberately avoid marketing to children younger than 12, G Fuel does not.
Ingredients like taurine and guarana, a plant extract found in G Fuel, also act as stimulants which potentiates the caffeine and works on your heart. With the increase in popularity of eSports, especially by teens and young children, its important to be aware of the risks and dangers of consuming popular energy drinks whether they are advertised as healthy or not.
Gamers like Ethan Yorke, a high school junior in Lancaster, Calif., reports that G Fuel helped him improve his home run average significantly in MLB baseball; however, there are healthier and more effective ways to receive these same effects. If you’re a competitive player looking to stay focused, energized, and increase your reaction time but don’t want to put your health at risk what can you do?
Natural alternatives such as herbs can greatly increase mental function, focus, and sharpness while also providing many health benefits. Here are 5 herbs that are specifically associated with increasing focus and simultaneously reducing anxiety while providing mental clarity and brain function, thus contributing to more time on-task, sharper thinking, and greater overall productivity.
Schisandra - Provides a feeling of alertness without caffeine-like jitters. Research suggests it improves reflexes, work performance, mental activity, and reading comprehension and speed.
Rhodiola – Is renowned for its effects on memory and concentration. Its other effects include enhancing alertness, improving endurance, and reducing fatigue. In addition, rhodiola reduces cortisol levels while boosting mood hormones, keeping you calm and collected.
Eleuthero – Improves mental clarity and enhance short-term memory. It can also increase alertness and cognitive function.
Gynostemma – Relieves fatigue, while increasing endurance as well as longevity. Increases energy and enhances concentration.
Ashwagandha - Helps relieve fatigue and increase strength, stamina, memory, and reaction time. It’s used to stimulate the mind thus relieving brain fog. (It should be noted that ashwagandha has a direct effect on the thyroid, so cycling on-off is recommended)
If you are looking to really enhance cognitive function, focus, and productivity, the basics of a healthy life are still important: eating a nutrient-dense diet, getting sufficient sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity are great ways to boost these attributes naturally and safely.
With companies like Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, and Red Bull being some of the largest sponsors of eSports and companies like G Fuel advertising to gamers by using popular teams like Faze Clan, the grip these unhealthy products have on the industry may not fade away any time soon; But with increased awareness of healthy alternatives and the negative effects caused by soda and energy drinks, we can make better decision that will still provide the focus, sharpness, and cat like reflexes necessary to dominate in the eSports arena.