Competing in the dynamic and rapidly growing world of eSports and gaming can feel like a lonely business. Especially when it comes to your health as an athlete and gamer.
And the assault on your body and brain is often greater than in other professional sports.
In fact, one of the nasty little secrets in eSports and gaming are sports injuries going unreported. And left untreated.
And unlike in other professional sports, eSport players are often reluctant to disclose injuries to teams for fear of being replaced.
A typical pro gaming career can flame out at only 23.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
It is my hope that this post will not only help you stay healthy to play well into your 20’s & 30’s. But also have the tools you need to play at the top of your game today.
Nootropic supplements are an effective and proven alternative to energy drinks. And the substances now banned by International e-Sports Federation and other professional gaming and athletic associations.
Strategy games like Counter Strike, League of Legends or Tekken 7 are extremely complex. The motor skills, high degree of tactical understanding, and extreme hand-eye coordination required put extraordinary demands on your body and brain.
Here you’ll find effective nootropic stack suggestions specifically designed with the pro gamer in mind.
A carefully chosen nootropic gaming stack should support:
- Better reflex and reaction time
- Superior vision
- Heightened focus
- Think and learn faster
- More energy – prevent mental and physical fatigue
- Reduce physical pain
- Eliminate anxiety
The following nootropic supplements have been shown to support multiple areas of brain, body, and vision health. And specifically selected with the pro gamer in mind.
Each nootropic reviewed here has a live link through to a full review of that nootropic which includes dosing instructions, side effects, drug interactions and types to buy.
- Aniracetam – 750 mg twice per day
- Bacopa Monnieri – 200 – 450 mg per day (45% bacosides)
- CDP-Choline – 300 mg twice per day
- Coconut or MCT Oil – 3 tablespoons per day
- DHA (Omega-3) – 1,000 mg per day
- American Ginseng – 500 mg twice per day
- L-Theanine – 250 mg 2-3 times per day
- L-Tyrosine – 500mg twice per day
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) – 100 mg 3-times per day
- Pine Bark Extract – 100 mg 3-times per day
- Rhodiola Rosea – 150 – 200 mg per day
- B-Complex – find a nature-identical supplement
- Performance Lab® Vision – 1 – 2 capsules per day
If you’re new to nootropics, that may seem like a lot of supplements. But if you want to experience an improvement right now, that’s what it’ll take.
Taken consistently, every day for as long you want to perform at the top of your game.
See the conclusion of this post for a way to consolidate your nootropic gaming stack into fewer capsules per day.
Best Nootropics for Internet Gaming
Cytidine converts into the uridine needed to synthesize phosphatidylcholine (PC) which makes up the outside layer of brain cell membranes.
Supplementing with CDP-Choline helps boost cognition, increases brain energy, increases brain blood flow, and improves learning and memory.
For the professional gamer, this means quick thinking and mental processing, as well as better memory consolidation and retrieval.
Coconut & MCT Oil
Unrefined coconut oil is 90% saturated fat. And nearly 60% of the fats are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
The MCTs in coconut oil bypass your normal digestive system and go directly to your liver where they are converted to ketones.
Ketones are carried throughout your body including your brain for use in the citric acid cycle to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP fuels your mitochondria which improves alertness, cognition, memory, and mood.
Research also shows MCTs help increase serotonin which provides an anti-stress effect.
Using MCT Oil or unrefined coconut oil 3-times per day is one of the least expensive but most effective ways for increasing alertness and focus and improving your game.
Your brain is composed of 60% fat. 15 – 20% of your cerebral cortex is DHA. Even the retina in your eyes is 30 – 60% DHA. Making DHA the most essential nutrient for eye and brain health for the professional gamer.
DHA acts as an anti-inflammatory by reducing the enzyme COX-2. Inflammation is a key factor in carpal tunnel syndrome and other pain associated with long-term game play.
Daily supplementation of DHA for 3-4 weeks can result in faster thinking, and better learning and memory with less pain.
Panax ginseng (Asian) and Panax quinquefolius (American) contain a collection of active compounds called ginsenosides. These triterpenoid saponins (plant chemicals) are unique to the ginseng species of plants. And are steroid-like in nature.
Ginsenosides increase protein synthesis and the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. And ginseng stimulates the formation of blood vessels and improves blood circulation in the brain. Which improves memory and quicker thinking.[x]
A single dose of 200 – 400 mg of ginseng can significantly reduce the mental fatigue associated with gaming.[xi]
Supplementing with ginseng should boost your energy levels, both physical and mental energy.[xii]
And ginseng acts as anti-inflammatory by reducing cytokines. Which should help decrease the physical pain associated with gaming.
Huperzine-A boosts levels of available acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain by blocking the effect of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). ACh is critical for encoding new memories, reasoning, concentration, cognition, and neuroplasticity.[xiii]
While it looks like Huperzine-A is the ideal nootropic supplement for providing the edge needed for winning, caution is strongly advised.
Hup-A has at least a 24-hour half-life. Which means it takes an entire day for your system to eliminate it.
This means that if you choose to use Huperzine-A, use it only on the day of the competition. And give your brain a break for 2-3 days before using it again. Otherwise, the buildup of Huperzine-A can be toxic and do more harm than good.
Supplementing with L-Theanine before or sipping on organic green tea during gameplay energizes you without draining. Calms without putting you to sleep. And motivates without causing a jagged edge.[xvi]
L-Theanine + caffeine is a simple but popular nootropic gaming stack. Researchers at Unilever in the UK looked at the combined effects of 100 mg L-Theanine and 50 mg caffeine on cognitive performance and mood.
27 volunteers were assessed for measurements on word recognition, rapid visual information processing, critical flicker fusion threshold, attention switching and mood.
The team concluded that, “L-Theanine and caffeine in combination are beneficial for improving performance on cognitively demanding tasks”.[xvii]
It helps with creative flow states, is fuel for inspiration, cognitive flexibility, and the kind of “convergent thinking” you do during a tournament.
Clinical studies show that L-Tyrosine improves memory and quick thinking while under acute stress like during gameplay.[xviii]
And supplementing with L-Tyrosine provides greater cognitive enhancement as cognitive demand increases.[xix]
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is arguably one of the most effective gaming nootropics we have available today. It keeps our brain cells healthy.
And has a reputation for improving alertness, attention, cognition, memory, recall and mood.
PS is a critical component of brain cell membranes that when healthy are malleable, fluid, and flexible.
But by the time we reach our 20’s, phospholipids including Phosphatidylserine (PS) start declining. As this casing starts to harden; attention, concentration, memory, mood, and learning begin to suffer.[xx]
Attention span increases while using PS. And motivation, socialization, and initiative all increased when using Phosphatidylserine as a nootropic.
Pine Bark Extract
This increase in blood flow means more nutrients and fuel to brain cells. Resulting in a boost in working memory,[xxi] improved thinking speed and mental performance,[xxii] better sustained attention, and mood.[xxiii]
Pine Bark Extract is also one of the most potent antioxidants ever discovered. For you it means less joint pain, and not feeling completely burned out after gameplay.[xxiv]
Rhodiola helps reduce anxiety and fatigue, increase energy, alertness, and stamina, while boosting mental performance under the kind of chronic stress you experience during gameplay.
Research shows Rhodiola Rosea can increase attention to detail-oriented tasks by improving concentration over a prolonged period. The ideal gaming nootropic.
Rhodiola boosts mood by influencing serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain, and the feel-good opioids like beta-endorphins.
Clinical studies and our experience show that most experience the full benefits of Rhodiola Rosea from 30 – 40 days of consistent, daily use. This is the kind of supplement that if you choose to use it is best if used every day.
As a gaming nootropic, turmeric is anti-anxiety, improves memory, and reduces pain.
For anxiety, Turmeric works by reducing the stress hormone cortisol while increasing levels of serotonin. And clinical trials have shown it to be more potent than the antidepressant Prozac.[xxvi]
And the curcumin in turmeric is a potent antioxidant which helps protect your brain and body from inflammation. Helping reduce the pain associated with intense gameplay.
One study showed combining curcumin with 20 mg of Piperine increased bioavailability by 2000%.[xxviii]
The B-Complex Vitamins
Every nootropic gaming stack should contain the B-Vitamins to be effective. And here’s why …
Each of the B-Vitamins contributes in its unique way to the synthesis of all the major neurotransmitters, creation of ATP to fuel mitochondria, the myelin sheath protecting axons, brain cell signaling, receptor density, reducing inflammation, and more.
You will not realize the full benefit of any nootropic gaming stack without the B-Vitamins.
Choose a B-Vitamin Complex that’s considerably higher than RDA recommendations. And make sure it contains bio-identical vitamins that your body can use (i.e. folate instead of folic acid, methylcobalamin instead of cyanocobalamin).
Nootropics for eSport Vision Health
Eye and vision health is critical for the novice and pro gamer. Even the best gaming monitor will not make up for poorly maintained eyes.
In fact, better vision could give you an edge over your competition.
The following vision supplements have been shown to accelerate retinal electrical transmission speed, quicken reflexes and focus speed, prevent flash blindness, diminish eye strain, improve contrast sensitivity, boost depth perception and more.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
The yellow carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are concentrated in the macula and fovea sections of your eyes retina.
Supplementing with both help protect your eyes from high-energy (blue light) radiation emitted by your gaming monitors. They help filter out blue light before it can damage the macula.[xxix]
Lutein and zeaxanthin are potent antioxidants and reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced during conversion of photons to electrical signals in photoreceptors in your retina.
Lutein and zeaxanthin enhance visual performance in low light conditions, improve glare recovery, and help you distinguish subtle changes of light and dark. Critical for aiming in FPS games.[xxx]
Black Currant extract is quickly growing in popularity in the pro gaming community. Because it helps reduce your dark adaptation threshold, improves recovery time, and reduces fatigue when using a gaming monitor.
Rhodopsin is a light-sensitive protein found in the rods of the retina in your eyes. It is extremely sensitive to light and allows you to see in low-light conditions.
When a molecule of rhodopsin absorbs a photon, it splits into a retinal molecule (11-trans-retinal) and an opsin molecule. This process initiates a biochemical reaction that sends a signal to your brain’s visual processing center.
Retinal and opsin then recombine into rhodopsin.
Even though the initial splitting of rhodopsin into retinal and opsin is nearly instantaneous, it can take up to 30 minutes for opsin and retinal to recombine and restore rhodopsin to optimal levels.
A purple plant pigment in Black Currant called C3G (Cyanidin-3-glucoside) helps regenerate rhodopsin. Allowing for quicker dark vision recovery.[xxxi]
Black Currant is a potent antioxidant and protects your eyes from free radical surges in the high-energy gaming environment.
And Black Currant boosts vision by increasing blood flow to and within the eye by upregulating nitric oxide synthase. Increasing nitric oxide which helps blood vessels provide more blood to your eyes during intense gameplay.[xxxii]
Studies in human subjects show Bilberry effective in improving problems with the retina, improving small blood vessel (capillary) integrity which boosts blood flow, and slowing the progression of issues with lens opacity and myopia (nearsightedness).
And like Black Currant, Bilberry extract provides C3G which helps regenerate rhodopsin, improving night and low-light vision.[xxxiii]
And Bilberry extract helps protect against blue light-emitting diode (LED) light-induced photoreceptor cell damage.[xxxiv]
Newly published studies demonstrate Saffron’s ability to improve vision sharpness and improve light flicker sensitivity.
The carotenoid α-crocin provided by Saffron protects retinal cells from UV-B damage.
Crocin also boosts blood flow in the retina and choroid of your eyes. The choroid layer is between the sclera (white of your eye) and the rest of the retina. Saffron improves the oxygen and nutrient supply required for healthy eyes.[xxxv]
Saffron extract has become popular within the pro gaming world because it helps improve vision. And reduces light flicker sensitivity from bright and flashing lights.
Human studies show supplementing with Astaxanthin reduces eye fatigue caused by staring at a gaming monitor for hours. And improves the ability to change focus at different distances.
Astaxanthin reduces blurred vision, dryness, and sore eyes. It reduces eye fatigue in healthy people. It improves retinal capillary blood flow and helps your eyes focus more easily. Astaxanthin improves depth perception and reduces ocular inflammation.[xxxvii]
Best Gaming Vision Supplement
The best vision supplement stack I’ve been able to find anywhere is called Performance Lab® Vision.
Opti Nutra Advanced Nutraceuticals has managed to pack all the vision supplements described above into one capsule per day.
I highly recommend any novice or pro gamer consider adding this vision formula to your daily stack. It’ll make that much of a difference in your game.
Nootropic Benefits for Gamers
The good news is clinical studies show pro gamers display greater cognitive ability and better cognitive skills than the average person.[xxxviii]
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Nootropic supplements will take a larger and larger role in professional gaming and eSports. And early adopters get the benefit of longer, more successful gaming careers, and go on to other pursuits healthier than ever.
The nootropic supplements suggested in this post are proven by hundreds and hundreds of clinical trials. And are used every day by countless neurohackers around the world.
If you are new to the nootropic world, please understand that there is no “one pill” solution to better cognition.
It will take a nootropic stack of several different supplements. All working together in synergy for a better brain.
You can narrow your stack to fewer capsules by using a wisely selected pre-formulated nootropic stack.
From the recommended list in this post, you can try Mind Lab Pro® (B-Vitamins, CDP-Choline, Bacopa Monnieri, Lion’s Mane, Phosphatidylserine (PS), N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, and Pine Bark Extract).
And for vision and eye health, Performance Lab® Vision.
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[xii] Wang J.R., Zhou H., Yi X.Q., Jiang Z.H., Liu L. “Total ginsenosides of Radix Ginseng modulates tricarboxylic acid cycle protein expression to enhance cardiac energy metabolism in ischemic rat heart tissues.”Molecules. 2012 Oct 29;17(11):12746-57. (source)
[xiii] Wang B.S., Wang H., Wei Z.H., Song Y.Y., Zhang L., Chen H.Z. “Efficacy and safety of natural acetylcholinesterase inhibitor huperzine A in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: an updated meta-analysis.”Journal of Neural Transmission (Vienna). 2009 Apr;116(4):457-65. (source)
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[xv] Yamada T., Terashima T., Wada K., Ueda S., Ito M., Okubo T., Juneja L.R., Yokogoshi H. “Theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, increases neurotransmission concentrations and neurotrophin mRNA levels in the brain during lactation.” Life Sciences. 2007 Sep 29;81(16):1247-55. (source)
[xvi] Yokogoshi H., Kobayashi M., Mochizuki M., Terashima T. “Effect of theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, on brain monoamines and striatal dopamine release in conscious rats.” Neurochemistry Research. 1998 May;23(5):667-73. (source)
[xviii] Coull N.A., Watkins S.L., Aldous J.W., Warren L.K., Chrismas B.C., Dascombe B., Mauger A.R., Abt G., Taylor L. “Effect of tyrosine ingestion on cognitive and physical performance utilising an intermittent soccer performance test (iSPT) in a warm environment.” European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2015 Feb;115(2):373-86. (source)
[xx] Kosicek M., Hecimovic S. “Phospholipids and Alzheimer’s Disease: Alterations, Mechanisms and Potential Biomarkers” International Journal of Molecular Science. 2013 Jan; 14(1): 1310–1322. (source)
[xxi] Ryan J., Croft K., Mori T., Wesnes K., Spong J., Downey L., Kure C., Lloyd J., Stough C. “An examination of the effects of the antioxidant Pycnogenol on cognitive performance, serum lipid profile, endocrinological and oxidative stress biomarkers in an elderly population.” Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2008 Jul;22(5):553-62 (source)
[xxii] Belcaro G., Luzzi R., Dugall M., Ippolito E., Saggino A. “Pycnogenol® improves cognitive function, attention, mental performance and specific professional skills in healthy professionals aged 35-55.” Journal of Neurosurgical Science. 2014 Dec;58(4):239-48. (source)
[xxiii] Belcaro G., Luzzi R., Dugall M., Ippolito E., Saggino A. “Pycnogenol® improves cognitive function, attention, mental performance and specific professional skills in healthy professionals aged 35-55.” Journal of Neurosurgical Science. 2014 Dec;58(4):239-48. (source)
[xxiv] Kobori Y., Suzuki K., Iwahata T., Shin T., Sadaoka Y., Sato R., Nishio K., Yagi H., Arai G., Soh S., Okada H., Strong J.M., Rohdewald P. “Improvement of seminal quality and sexual function of men with oligoasthenoteratozoospermia syndrome following supplementation with L-arginine and Pycnogenol®.” Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2015 Sep 30;87(3):190-3 (source)
[xxvi] Sanmukhani J., Satodia V., Trivedi J., Patel T., Tiwari D., Panchal B., Goel A., Tripathi C.B. “Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial.” Phytotherapy Research. 2014 Apr;28(4):579-85. (source)
[xxvii] Wang R., Li Y.B., Li Y.H., Xu Y., Wu H.L., Li X.J. “Curcumin protects against glutamate excitotoxicity in rat cerebral cortical neurons by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor level and activating TrkB.”Brain Research. 2008 May 19;1210:84-91. (source)
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[xxx] Kvansakul J., Rodriguez-Carmona M., Edgar D.F., Barker F.M., Köpcke W., Schalch W., Barbur J.L. “Supplementation with the carotenoids lutein or zeaxanthin improves human visual performance.” Ophthalmic and Physiologic Optics. 2006 Jul;26(4):362-71. (source)
[xxxi] Matsumoto H., Nakamura Y., Tachibanaki S., Kawamura S., Hirayama M. “Stimulatory effect of cyanidin 3-glycosides on the regeneration of rhodopsin.” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 2003 Jun 4;51(12):3560-3. (source)
[xxxiv] Ogawa K. et. al. “Protective effects of bilberry and lingonberry extracts against blue light-emitting diode light-induced retinal photoreceptor cell damage in vitro” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine Published: 2 April 2014 (source)
[xxxv] Xuan B., Zhou Y.H., Li N., Min Z.D., Chiou G.C. “Effects of crocin analogs on ocular blood flow and retinal function.” Journal of Ocular Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 1999 Apr;15(2):143-52. (source)