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Gaming Nootropics: What Works and What Doesn't

Anyone who’s played video games online knows how competitive gamers can be. Even the slightest misstep can leave you at the mercy of a more experienced or focused opponent who – as often as not – will then brag about their victory to anyone within earshot. Perhaps for this reason, gamers of every stripe look for ways to give themselves an edge over the competition, which often leads to the use of nootropics – a term for any substance intended to improve a person’s cognitive abilities, such as attention, memory, and reaction times. Naturally, there’s a huge number of different nootropics on the market, many of which make dubious claims about their benefits and efficacy; to cut through the noise, the amino acid supplement makers at aminoVITAL® have compiled this list of what works and what doesn’t among gaming nootropics. Keep reading to learn more.

Nootropics That Work for Gaming

Let’s start with the good news: There are several gaming nootropics on the market that are backed by a degree of sound scientific evidence, making them promising options for anyone looking to improve their ranking or rack up more wins online. The following are some of the gaming nootropics that work, based on what we know so far:

Creatine Monohydrate

This first one may come as a surprise, since creatine is a substance most commonly associated with working out – it’s what bodybuilders and athletes take to boost their muscle mass – but creatine monohydrate has another function that can help gamers, too. Creatine can be effective as a nootropic because it encourages the creation of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is what fuels cellular activity. In the brain, this molecule can work to improve a person’s short-term memory and reasoning skills, plus it’ll make you feel more energized overall.

L-Theanine with Caffeine

Among all the substances used as gaming nootropics, caffeine is almost certainly the most popular. Whether in the form of coffee, soda, energy drinks, or supplements, caffeine is hailed by many gamers as the ideal energy source to help them stay alert and power through an hours-long gaming session. Unfortunately, caffeine is also known for causing more than a few detrimental side effects, some of which – jitters, nervousness, and a tendency toward distraction – can even hinder someone’s performance while gaming. That’s where L-theanine comes in handy.

This amino acid, which is found in green tea, works to soften the impact of the caffeine, mellowing the boost of energy it provides to prevent negative side effects while still allowing its benefits to shine through. Though some people prefer to combine an L-theanine supplement with coffee or black tea, drinking green tea can provide both substances at once, making it a potent gaming nootropic.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Unlike some nootropics, which deliver results within minutes or hours, omega-3 fatty acids – which are available in fish oil supplements – are thought to improve the cognitive functions of gamers over time. In particular, omega-3s are helpful for cultivating short-term memory, which can improve a person’s decision-making speed and reasoning. There’s also evidence to suggest that fish oil can aid a person’s attention and mood, though you’ll need to use it for several days before it finally works.

Gaming Nootropics You Should Avoid

Just because a particular product is popular among gaming supplements doesn’t mean that it works or is even safe to use. Below, we’ll look at a few substances that are used by gamers but which should probably be avoided.

Caffeine Pills/Powders

As more and more people began using caffeine as a gaming nootropic, some people had the idea that, by taking higher doses of caffeine or purer forms of the drug, they could ride the benefits to even greater heights. However, this is seldom the case; more often, overdosing on caffeine by taking pills or powders leads to a rapid heartbeat, seizures, or even death. Keep in mind that a single teaspoon of caffeine powder can provide the equivalent of 28 cups of coffee – a toxic amount for even a healthy adult.

Prescription Drugs

In addition to the more accessible over-the-counter gaming nootropics, prescription drugs are also occasionally put to use as performance enhancers for gaming. The most commonly used prescription medications used in this way are stimulants, such as Adderall or Ritalin, which are supposed to improve a person’s ability to pay attention. Unfortunately, these drugs often come with serious side effects, especially when abused, including blurred vision, a racing heartbeat, insomnia, high blood pressure, and addiction.

The list of drugs used for gaming extends beyond these chronic offenders, though. A stimulant called modafinil, which is typically used to treat sleep disorders, is also thought to improve memory and learning in healthy individuals and is even believed to be relatively safe, but the research to determine whether it works as a nootropic is still very much lacking.


Relatively less common among gaming nootropics is the use of a class of drugs called racetams, one example of which is the medication piracetam, long thought to have cognitive-enhancing effects. Although racetams are available by prescription only in other parts of the world, American gamers can often get them over the counter, and they’re most frequently utilized by older people with declining thought processes. However, experts generally don’t recommend the use of racetams by younger individuals, so it may not work as a gaming nootropic.

Amino Acid Supplements Available for Better Energy and Performance During Exercise

Though they won’t provide the jolt of energy and focus you’d get from stimulants, amino acids can be even more useful as a performance enhancer and nootropic during exercise. These compounds can be utilized by muscle tissue as a source of fuel during long workouts, and they have even been shown to fight the physical and mental fatigue associated with intense physical activity. Learn more about how the pre- and mid-workout energy supplements and post-workout recovery supplements at aminoVITAL® can help you achieve your fitness goals by visiting us online or calling (888) 264-6673 today.

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