Guayusa extract shows trend toward better results in trial using Fortnite video game

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - 10'000Hours
©Getty Images - 10'000Hours

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A branded guayusa extract showed a trend toward better gameplay on the Fortnite video game in a controlled trial. But the study pointed to the difficulty in translating a product’s demonstrated biochemical effects into results in the complex format of competitive esports.

The new research was published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Research​.  It was the work of researchers associated with the University of Memphis in Tennessee.

The research used Applied Food Sciences’ branded AmaTea guayusa extract.  AFS was one of the funders of the study, though the researchers stated the company had no say in the study design or in the analysis of the data.

Complex esports factors

The researchers stated that video game proficiency is a multifactorial research problem.  It involves the ability of an individual “to think and reason abstractly and solve problems either alone or as a group member,” ​using inductive skills, spatial awareness, eye-hand coordination, and something the researchers referred to as ‘social competencies.’

Guayusa is a species of holly tree native to the Amazon region.  Traditionally it was consumed as a tea brewed from the leaves of the plant that have a natural caffeine content, but one that seems to work differently from other caffeinated products. AmaTea, in additional to caffeine, has chlorogenic acid and rutin as prime constituents and has been shown to induce greater mental focus without the jitters some individuals experience with high caffeine consumption.

AFS’ past research on the ingredient has focused on the chemical changes in the brain.  Alteration of neurotransmitters

Preliminary research in a rodent model showed moderate increases in norepinephrine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, histamine, acetylcholine, and dopamine compared to placebo.

The present study aimed to see what effect those brain chemical changes might have on egamers engaged in an hours’ long Fortnite session.  In the researchers’ words, to succeed under these conditions it is “imperative that players maintain sustained peak cognitive performance, optimal motor behavioral skills, and a natural euphoria for several hours of competition.”

To test AmaTea’s effects the researchers enrolled 49 subjects, only two of whom were female, to participate in a study involving 4-hour blocks of playing the Fortnite Battle Royale video game.  The participants played the game in a lab and participated in three blinded sessions, one with AmaTea, another with caffeine and a third with a placebo.  The participants were instructed to arrive in a fasted state and the interventions were ingested five minutes before the start of the game play.  Teh researchers endeavored to keep the participants matched up on the same teams, ideally in groups of four.  In all, the sessions lasted from 4 pm to 10 pm.

Slightly improved gameplay

The results showed no statistically different performance among the three groups in game performance.  Performance was best during the first hour of gameplay (which was broken up into successive ‘matches’ of about 20-25 min. each) and declined slightly thereafter for all three groups.  

The AmaTea group did report a perception of increased mental vigor, the researchers said.  And AmaTea did show a trend toward a greater number of ‘kills’ per match, though the difference was not statistically significant.  The researchers said future studies honing in on that.

“It is possible that a different gaming stimulus, varied time of game play, or different dosage of the supplement may have yielded even more favorable results,”​ they concluded.

Source:Journal of Clinical and Translational Research
2022 Apr 29; 8(2): 93–102. Published online 2022 Mar 1.
Impact of AmaTea® Max on physiological measures and gaming performance in active gamers: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized study
Authors: Bloomer RJ, et al.

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