Business

Do energy drinks improve esports performance?

Citation

Thomas, C. J., Rothschild, J., Earnest, C. P., & Blaisdell, A. (2019). The Effects of Energy Drink Consumption on Cognitive and Physical Performance in Elite League of Legends Players. Sports7(9), 196.

Abstract

To examine the cognitive and physical changes associated with consuming an energy drink concurrent to video gaming, we examined a convenience sample of nine elite League of Legends (LoL) e-sport players (21   2 y, BMI 25.6   3.4 kg/ m2 ) consuming an energy drink (ReloadTM ) or placebo (Placebo) in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trial. Participants completed the same test battery prior to treatment consumption and after playing each of three competitive LoL games. Primary outcomes included measures of attention (Erikson Flanker Test), reaction time (Go/ No-Go test) and working memory (n-back test). Secondary outcomes examined fatigue (hand grip strength and finger tap speed). Statistical analysis was performed by repeated-measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) and reported as the mean (standard deviation [SD]) or mean change (95% confidence interval [CI]). Participants reported sleeping 8.1 (1.2) h/ night, playing LoL 10.3 (2.1) h/ d, playing other video games 1.8 (2.8) h/ d, and exercising 4.2 (1.7) times per week. Overall, we observed no significant time, group, or group-by-time interactions for any measured performance index with the exception of a significant improvement for the n-back test, where the Reload group demonstrated a significant within-group improvement: Reload [􀀀 171 ms (95% CI, 􀀀 327.91, 􀀀 14.09), p <  0.004], Placebo [􀀀 92 ms (95% CI, 􀀀 213.63, 29.63)]. However, no between-group differences were noted(38.50 ms, 95% CI, 􀀀 141.89, 64.89, p =  0.803). Our findings suggest that elite eSport athletes do not demonstrate a mental or physical improvement in performance relative to the treatment supplement or indices measured in this study.

The Data

9 elite, League of Legend, male players; average age of 20.8yrs; researchers conducted a controlled study where they analysed cognitive and physical performance using/not using the energy drink AI Reload. Three competitive LoL games were played.

Quotes

“Our findings suggest that elite eSport athletes do not demonstrate a mental or physical improvement in performance relative to the treatment supplement or indices measured in this study”

“The competitive nature of eSports has led players to turn to various nootropics, or cognitive enhancing drugs, to gain a performance edge”

“Our data suggest that playing three consecutive LoL games does not result in an accumulation of mental fatigue and the consumption of an energy drink did not improve measured performance parameters “

“Esports as the professional, skill-mastering form of gaming may be considered not just a different type of video game use, but also an alternate sporting activity”

“Esports as the professional, skill-mastering form of gaming may be considered not just a different type of video game use, but also an alternate sporting activity”

Our Take on it

Do energy drinks make a difference to an esport player’s performance? This paper doesn’t really confirm things either way. The authors tried to control and test for its impact, but found that the duration of the test didn’t do enough to fatigue the players. They may need to have played a lot longer, before any drink made any difference at all. They also note that the effect may simply be negligible for the elite, trained player, perhaps because they have already habitualised the effects of caffeine drinks. Beyond the primary goal of assessing the impact of the energy drink, there’s a lot here about the lifestyle of the elite player, with rest and exercise being key priorities.”
Professor Andy Miah

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