Caffeine is a common choice of stimulant for e-gamers due to its effects of increased alertness and cognitive performance; however, it can cause side effects such as jitters and anxiety. Theacrine is similar to caffeine in terms of the receptors it affects, but it also results in improved cognitive function. Methylliberine is similar to methylxanthine caffeine, the authors write, and has similar physiological effects.
TeaCrine and Dynamine
The researchers utilized Compound Solution’s TeaCrine and Dynamine as the theacrine and methylliberine ingredients.
“Caffeine can improve your reaction time, but your focus and accuracy become erratic,” Compound Solutions CEO Matthew Titlow said. “Dynamine and TeaCrine help eliminate that speed-accuracy tradeoff.”
In addition to improving gaming performance, the researchers found the combination of supplements lowered alpha waves and raised theta waves. These results, from the EEG, demonstrate higher cognitive flexibility and arousal due to lower alpha power, coupled with greater cognitive control and decision making under pressure due to higher theta power.
“What is different from prior studies,” Titlow said, “is that these results occurred at the lowest doses we’ve ever studied.”
The randomized double blind crossover study consisted of 49 males with an average age of 24 who fell into the amateur e-gamer category. Each participant played at least 10 hours per week of first-person video games and consumed caffeine habitually.
The researchers analyzed performance via first person shooter training games, looking at speed, precision, and neurophysiological activity. They also studied vitals, mood state, alertness, saliva collection, and had participants do self-assessments regarding their gaming performance.
Three different types of games were utilized: standard, speed and precision. Within the standard game, caffeine and CTD conditions showed better shot performance and targets; however, both caffeine and placebo resulted in slower reaction times. For the speed game, only CTD showed an increase in total kills compared to pre-dose, in addition to an improved number of kills.
Overall, participants who took CTD hit more targets compared to caffeine and the placebo. For the perceived performance self-assessment, participants showed significant improvement in perceived performance for both caffeine and CTD.
The authors noted a significant increase in anxiety after CTD and caffeine, which differs from prior research demonstrating theacrine acting to offset caffeine-induced anxiety in mice.
The EEG analyses showed lower alpha power and increased theta power. “These (lower alpha power) results suggest cognitive flexibility or the ability to shift attention between tasks which is necessary for first-person shooting,” wrote researchers from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. “It has been suggested that higher theta activity minimizes distracting activity such as those experienced during first-person shooter games.”
“Despite all conditions (matched placebo, caffeine, and CTD) increasing the number of targets hit following supplementation, only the CTD group resulted in a greater number of kills per second pre- to post-dose. The addition of TeaCrine appears to enhance caffeine’s effects while minimizing the negative effects, as evidenced by our findings.”
2023, 15(8) doi: 10.7759/cureus.44254
“A Combination of Caffeine, TeaCrine, and Dynamine Improves the Neurophysiological and Performance Measures of Electronic (E)-Gamers”
Authors: C. Evans, et al.