Any kind of competition is bound to lead players to try and find something that’ll give them an edge over their opponents, a fact that’s as true for gamers as it is for anyone else. Whether you’re part of the competitive world of e-sports or simply a casual gamer looking to come out on top, there’s a good chance that you’ve asked yourself whether there isn’t some type of supplement out there that can boost your performance on the virtual battlefield. In pursuit of this goal, gamers have tried everything from energy drinks offering tons of caffeine and sugar to amino acid supplements promising to sharpen the mind; so, you may ask, what works and what doesn’t? One option that more and more gamers are considering is a particular amino acid called L-theanine, which has shown some promising benefits, but is L-theanine really good for gamers? To find out, keep reading as the team at aminoVITAL® sheds some light on this topic.
What Does L-Theanine Do?
Though we often talk about them without the prefix, amino acids actually have two forms: those starting with “L-“ and those with “D-“. Generally, those with the first prefix, like L-theanine, have been the subject of greater study and are more common in supplements and other products, so if you hear someone simply talking about an amino acid without a letter in front of it, they’re probably referring to its “L-“ form. In other words, “theanine” and “L-theanine” mean essentially the same thing, but in the interest of accuracy, we’ll use the proper name here.
Like other amino acids, L-theanine plays a number of different roles in the body, but it’s not one of the 21 proteinogenic amino acids, so it’s not an essential part of our diets, strictly speaking. However, that doesn’t mean that gamers and others can’t receive a number of benefits when consuming this amino acid – quite the opposite, in fact. L-theanine has been associated with effects ranging from reduced blood pressure to improved sleep quality, but the benefit most likely to interest gamers is its role in improving cognitive functions.
How Can L-Theanine Benefit Gamers?
While the jury is still out on what benefits L-theanine has on its own, there’s compelling evidence to suggest that this amino acid offers more than one benefit that gamers – maybe more than any others – can take advantage of. In one 2011 study1, for instance, researchers found that L-theanine was able to help participants rein in their anxiety and even led to faster reaction times and better attentional performance among anxious people. As researchers in another study2 from that year noted, L-theanine is also linked to feelings of relaxation, enhanced learning abilities, more effective weight loss, and a healthier immune system3 – all attractive advantages from any standpoint.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of L-theanine for gamers is the result of mixing this amino acid with caffeine, the most popular supplement among lovers of video games. Normally, someone who downs a few energy drinks or takes one of those caffeine pills will feel a sharp boost in energy, but it’s a wild, unpredictable experience; take too much, and you can wide up jittery, nervous, and distracted, all things that are bound to hurt, not help, your gaming performance. Add some L-theanine to the mix, however, and the effects of caffeine will be tempered by this amino acid’s calming nature.
A study4 conducted in 2008 clearly demonstrated these benefits. Researchers looked at groups of participants that were given caffeine, L-theanine, a combination of the two, or a placebo, then gauged their effectiveness at repetitive, mentally taxing tasks. While the group that received caffeine alone saw some improvements in reaction time and a drop in reported fatigue levels, those who were given both substances together experienced these same benefits, plus improvements to working memory and work accuracy. Participants given L-theanine and caffeine also saw a reduction in their “headache” and “tiredness” ratings, while their levels of alertness rose. Ultimately, the authors of the study concluded that taking L-theanine along with caffeine may be more effective than just using caffeine by itself.
Where Can Gamers Get L-Theanine?
If, after hearing these benefits, you’d like to try L-theanine for yourself, don’t worry; this amino acid is pretty easy to find. In fact, L-theanine is one of the main components of green tea, a beverage that also happens to contain a fair amount of caffeine. This natural combination of caffeine and L-theanine makes green tea a great choice for those who want to be more focused and alert but who would rather avoid the unpleasant side effects that so often accompany caffeine. If you think of caffeine as a wild stallion, all untamed energy, L-theanine is the saddle that lets you ride it safely and get where you want to go. If you have relied on caffeine in the past to help your performance as a gamer, it may be worth adding L-theanine to your arsenal, either in the form of green tea or one of the L-theanine supplements available on the market today.
Check Out the Amino Acid Supplements Available from aminoVITAL®
At aminoVITAL®, our focus has long been on improving body composition and the results of exercise, so our amino acid supplements are made with the three branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Still, this combination of amino acids in products like our Action mix can provide a moderate dose of energy, minus the side effects of caffeine, so they may be worth exploring if you’re a serious gamer as well. To learn more about the benefits of aminoVITAL® products, visit us online or call us today at (888) 264-6673.