‘Dangerous’ supplements targeted at video gamers

The rise of gamers promoting supplements has concerned experts.

The rise of gamers promoting supplements has concerned experts. Photo: Instagram

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. 

“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.

“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.”

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