Leading experts have slammed companies encouraging young gamers to use caffeine-loaded supplements to stay up all night playing video games.
Supplement companies that usually target gym-goers and bodybuilders are now using young influencers, including eSports players, to promote powders and pills on Instagram as endowing “gaming energy” and “extra focus” on users.
The supplements include GG Gamer Supps, MIXT Energy, G Fuel and Insane Focus, with some containing 100mg of caffeine, equivalent to a cup of coffee.
The rise of these supplements comes as eSports has adopted a strict anti-doping policy, including drug-testing players for banned substances such as Adderall.
Evelyn Volders, nutrition and dietetics senior lecturer at Monash University, said it was extremely concerning supplements were being targeted at gamers.
#Repost from our friend @rukeo606! 🙌🏼🖤 ・・・ “Strutting around in my jersey like a peacock and chugging down my favorite drink!! @gamersupps is a 0 Calorie 0 sugar Nootropic energy supplement that I use before big game sessions and for lifting at the gym!!”
A post shared by Powdered Energy Drink "GG" (@gamersupps) on
“The marketing of these sorts of supplements is completely unregulated and there’s currently no guidelines on promoting these products on social media,” Ms Volders told The New Daily.
“Caffeine’s never been recommended for young people. It’s not a food that we think they should consume as it’s usually associated with foods that don’t have much nutritional value.”
Some of these products “can be dangerous”, she warned.
“We don’t know if they’ve been produced at a same manufacturing standard as food supplements here in Australia, as there has been issues with contamination.”
Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone told The New Daily he was deeply concerned child gamers were being targeted by supplement companies.
“Excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to insomnia, nervousness, headaches, tachycardia, arrhythmia and nausea,” Dr Bartone said.
The AMA had raised concerns for several years about the health effects of energy drinks and their heavy consumption on young people, including children, he said.
On the day after the #FourthOfJuly instead of feeling hungover, #FeelHeroic 💕🎮 . . . I am super thrilled to announce that I am now a @thed20gram Ambassador & one of their first ever Mixer streamers they have partnered with. If you desire to try out a preworkout product that is made for gamers, or a blue light insomnia sleep supplement, enter promo code: KOOLY to receive 15% off of your whole purchase! Www.D20Strength.com🔥 #ad #gamersupplements #insomina #preworkout
A post shared by Laurel Rothamel (@koolysmiley) on
“Energy drinks not only contain a huge amount of caffeine, but a huge amount of sugar.”
Chris McMahon, nutritionist and manager at Nutrition Warehouse in Melbourne’s CBD, said he was aware of people using gaming supplements to help them stay awake.
“The products have the same active ingredients as pre-workout supplements, so you could co-relate them to high-intensity stimulants,” Mr McMahon told The New Daily.
He said younger demographics using the supplement should be cautious.
“Taking high-level stimulants puts a strain on your adrenal system as this could lead to adrenal fatigue, which can cause their bodies to produce a lot of cortisol and wreak havoc on their hormones as well.”
Jordan Foster, cyber safety expert and child psychologist, told The New Daily there were clear underlying issues with these kind of supplements being promoted on Instagram.
“Marketing companies are so clever at promoting what they see is necessary and this is not the first time we’ve seen this happen,” Ms Foster said.
She urged parents to be involved with their children and to know what they were getting up to online.
“It becomes problematic when children start embedding other reasons for gaming rather than just for entertainment, including socialisation reputation and stress management.
“This is why parents need to keep a close on this as it can lead children to become vulnerable to issues such as this.”