G-Fuel is a caffeinated, powdered energy drink that has become unfathomably popular, thanks to deals with popular internet gaming celebrities like PewDiePie, KSI, Dr DisRespect, FaZe Clan and more. Billed as The Official Energy Drink of Esports ™, it’s meant to make you more alert, more focused and better at playing video games. Its increasing popularity has spawned countless clones and similar products. It’s also not available locally, here in South Africa.
Now however, one of those similar products is. X-Gamer is a “focus and energy formula” dietary supplement that like G-fuel, staves off fatigue and promises better focus, more energy, better reflexes and enhanced stamina. I’ve been using the stuff for two weeks now, sometimes during the day and sometimes at night when I plan to play videogames.
I suppose it’s worth prefacing this with something about me. I have more than a keen interest in human physiology, biology and pharmacology, So I’ve always been interested in this stuff. I’ve also dabbled in nootropics, supposed cognitive enhancers and their often dubious claims. That’s an important point, because X-Gamer claims that it has nootropic effects. Like many other such claims from a litany of similar products, some of them are…equivocal.
The principal ingredient in X-Gamer is, of course, caffeine. The world’s most used psychoactive substance, caffeine is responsible for giving X-Gamer its kick. In each serving of the stuff, you can expect to find 200mg of caffeine, which is roughly as much as you’d get from two cups of decent filter coffee. It’s also more than twice as much caffeine as you’d get in a regular 250ml can of Red Bull and about 25% more than you’d get in a 500ml can of Monster Energy. It’s a lot of caffeine for a single serving. So much so that the recommended maximum of the stuff is two servings, so it comes in at the UK’s maximum recommended allowance of 400mg of caffeine per day.
It’s not just flavoured liquid caffeine though. Like Red Bull, it also contains Taurine, the Amino sulfonic acid that’s naturally occurring, prevalent in meat and fish and nobody really knows why it’s in energy drinks. It’s supposed to increase mental and athletic performance, but current research on that is mixed.
More interesting is its inclusion of two amino acids; l-carnitine and l-tyrosine. L-carnitine as an amino acid has a number of useful functions. Primarily, it functions as a shuttle for fatty acids from the blood into the mitochondria. If you remember anything from high-school biology, it should be that the mitochondria are your cells’ energy producers. L-carnitine also helps with post-workout fatigue by inhibiting lactic acid build-up, enhancing recovery. Thing is, it’s an odd inclusion as it’s a non-essential amino acid, which the body happily makes itself.
The more interesting amino acid is L-tyrosine. While it’s also non-essential, it has been proven to increase alertness, attention and focus. It’s also one of the amino acids responsible for creating dopamine – the chemical that triggers the reward centre in your brain, and is also responsible for motor skills. It’s also responsible for the synthesis of adrenaline and noradrenaline, the chemicals that trigger human fight-or-flight response. Together, all of this stuff – along with the B vitamins, other vitamins and minerals, means that X-gamer should do what it says on the tin: increase energy and focus. In truth though, it’s effectively no different to what you’d find in a general pre-workout formula that folks who exercise use, except for the excessive caffeine that makes it unsuitable for that job unless you want your heart to beat right out of your chest.
My own experience with the stuff has been positive, save for a few minor annoyances. The local distributors for X-Gamer sent me a great big tub of the stuff, along with a shaker that had single serving sample sachets. They have very silly names like Bluenitro, Nukefusion, Powacrush, Hypabeast and Hydrostorm. They’re mostly vaguely fruit flavoured, but how in god’s name is anybody supposed to guess what Nukefusion is supposed to taste like? I get needing to be edgy and appeal to gamers, but damn, some simpler flavour names such as Peach PWNage would be appreciated. I also found the shaker – which comes with a handy ice-guard – to be prone to a bit of leaking, which is of course less than ideal. None of them actually taste especially nice though (Nukefusion is sort of lime flavoured, by the way). They all have a synthetic, slightly sweet flavours with a very mild bitterness behind it. They’re not off-putting or disgusting in any way, but I haven’t started my days off rubbing my belly exclaiming “Yum yum, I want some of that X-gamer in my mouth!”
It’s a fine powder that dissolves incredibly quickly and easily and I have, for now, replaced my second morning cup of coffee with a shaker full of X-Gamer, which I sip on gradually during the day. And honestly? I feel like it’s helped me work through the day without that 2 pm lull, where all motivation and energy disappear into the nether. On the nights that I’ve used the stuff, I’ve been able to stay awake longer, playing games into the wee hours. Let’s face it, I’m old – so anything that keeps me vertical beyond 11 pm has to be doing its job.
As to whether or not it’ll make you a better gamer? Well, that’s the dubious part of this. No supplement is going to increase your reaction times more than practice would. If that’s what you’re hoping to get out of this, then you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. If, however, you want a low calorie (31 kcal per serving) alternative to energy drinks to keep you up at night, then X-Gamer is a good option. At its usual R499 price for a 600g tub, you get 60 servings at a cost of R8.30 or so per serving. With more than twice the caffeine you’d get in a Red Bull, that makes it a pretty cost-effective value proposition – and one without the sugar and calorie content. It’s also pretty convenient just having an effective pick-me-up in the cupboard, ready to be diluted on a whim. It’s available from Takealot.
Me? I think I’ll stick to coffee as my caffeine delivery system of choice.
Last Updated: August 30, 2019