Esports Nutrition, Lifestyle, and Cognitive Performance

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Esports Nutrition, Lifestyle, and Cognitive Performance

In the world of esports, where cognitive performance is crucial, esports nutrition plays a vital role in supporting optimal performance. The article “Nutrition, lifestyle, and cognitive performance in esport athletes” explores the impact of esports nutrition on cognitive function, providing valuable insights for healthcare providers working in esports. This summary focuses on key findings and clinical takeaways specific to esports medicine.

This study focused on investigating the lifestyle and nutritional factors that can impact cognitive performance in high-level esports athletes. A total of 103 male and 16 elite female esports athletes between the ages of 16 and 35 participated in the study. The participants completed surveys, food records, and cognitive testing sessions over a period of 10 days while maintaining their normal dietary and lifestyle habits.

The results of the study revealed several significant associations between average Neurotracker X (NTx) scores, which measure cognitive performance, and various nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, selenium, thiamin, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, folate, cholesterol, saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and choline. However, the majority of participants did not meet the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for these micronutrients or the recommended intakes for dairy, fruit, and vegetables.

The study also found a positive association between total vegetable intake and average NTx score. Additionally, there was a significant negative association between cognitive resilience (measured by the final sustain session) and the Stanford Sleepiness Scale score.

Furthermore, a repeated measures analysis was conducted with different groups over 18 core NTx sessions. It was observed that individuals who consumed the recommended amount of protein or more performed significantly better on NTx over the 18 sessions compared to those who did not consume enough protein. Similarly, those who met the recommended intakes for riboflavin, phosphorous, vitamin B12, and selenium also performed significantly better over the 18 sessions compared to those who did not meet the recommended amounts.

Based on these findings, the authors suggest the need for a nutrition intervention that is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals to improve the cognitive performance of esports athletes.

Key Findings:

  1. Macronutrients and Cognitive Performance: Proper balance and timing of macronutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, can significantly impact cognitive function in esports athletes. Optimal fueling strategies before, during, and after gameplay are essential for sustaining cognitive performance.
  2. Micronutrients and Cognitive Function: Micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, have been linked to cognitive health and performance. Ensuring adequate intake of these micronutrients through a well-rounded diet or targeted supplementation can support cognitive function in esports athletes.
  3. Hydration and Cognitive Performance: Proper hydration is critical for optimal cognitive performance. Dehydration can negatively affect focus, reaction time, and decision-making abilities. Encouraging esports athletes to maintain proper hydration throughout training and competition is essential.

Clinical Takeaways for Providers in Esports Medicine:

  1. Individualized Nutrition Plans: Work closely with esports athletes to develop individualized nutrition plans that address their specific energy and nutrient needs based on training demands and competition schedules. Consider factors such as body composition, metabolic rate, and specific dietary preferences.
  2. Timing of Nutrition: Emphasize the importance of pre-game, intra-game, and post-game nutrition strategies to optimize cognitive performance. Encourage esports athletes to consume appropriate macronutrients and hydrate adequately to maintain energy levels and cognitive function during gameplay.
  3. Micronutrient Supplementation: Evaluate esports athletes’ micronutrient status through blood tests and consider targeted supplementation to address deficiencies and support cognitive function. Collaborate with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to develop evidence-based supplementation protocols.
  4. Hydration Strategies: Educate esports athletes about the significance of proper hydration in cognitive performance. Provide guidelines on fluid intake before, during, and after gameplay and encourage the use of sports drinks or electrolyte solutions when necessary.
  5. Mental Health and Nutrition: Recognize the interconnectedness of mental health and nutrition in esports athletes. Address any potential disordered eating patterns or nutrition-related psychological issues to support overall cognitive well-being.

Conclusion: Nutrition plays a vital role in optimizing cognitive performance in esports. Healthcare providers working in esports medicine should focus on individualized nutrition plans, timing of nutrition, micronutrient supplementation, hydration strategies, and the relationship between mental health and nutrition. By integrating these clinical takeaways into practice, providers can support esports athletes in achieving their full cognitive potential and overall well-being.


Goulart JB, Aitken LS, Siddiqui S, Cuevas M, Cardenas J, Beathard KM, Riechman SE. Nutrition, lifestyle, and cognitive performance in esport athletes. Front Nutr. 2023 May 18;10:1120303. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1120303. PMID: 37275641; PMCID: PMC10233150.

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