Are e-athletes real athletes? It certainly seems like global sporting organizations are issuing a verdict on this: esports is debuting at major sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games this year. Additional signs that esports is being taken seriously? The global esports market was valued at over $1.08 billion in 2021, a whopping almost 50% growth from 2020.
While there are plenty who still insist that esports isn’t an actual sport at all, the esports community has consistently flown in the face of such detractors. Certainly not least with the launch of Complexity Stars last year, the world’s first initiative bringing traditional sports athletes together with e-athletes. Think: pro-am tournaments featuring football and esports stars, and even the sharing of training facilities (what that looks like: e-athletes receiving the same rigorous workout and nutritional coaching as NFL players.)
These game-changing milestones are set to redefine the legitimacy of esports and how e-athletes see themselves. Guzzling G Fuel and scarfing down chips for a quick energy boost should become a thing of the past. Gaming, like any sport, requires mental and physical dexterity. Just like any bona fide athlete, it’s time for e-athletes to start taking their health and wellness seriously.
One easy way e-athletes can support their health is through functional nutrition. Instead of a dated one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, functional nutrition instead recommends dietary sources tailored to your body and lifestyle’s unique needs. With e-athletes requiring consistent peak mental and physical performance, a powerhouse protein like lactoferrin is a fitting addition to every e-athlete’s diet. Here are 3 reasons why.
1. Iron Regulation and Optimal Physical Performance
It’s no secret that gaming requires fast reflexes (here’s looking at you StarCraft II players). In fact, what sets professional gamers apart from average gamers is their faster-than-average reaction time.
Key to maintaining peak performance like sustained energy levels and excellent reaction timings is oxygen availability, or the delivery of oxygen to the brain and muscles. And before you think that the way to achieving oxygenation is simply taking deeper breaths, newsflash: it’s actually iron metabolism that drives oxygen availability.
Iron is the essential mineral enabling hemoglobin (a protein found in red blood cells) to bind and transport oxygen to tissues throughout our body. To have the appropriate oxygen levels required for carrying out even simple activities like walking, supporting one’s iron metabolism is key.
To maintain optimal physical performance, it’s hence crucial that the body metabolizes iron efficiently. To that end, researchers have found that lactoferrin displays exceptional iron-binding capabilities—possibly even exceeding that of serum transferrin (the main protein that transports iron throughout the body) by 300 times! When taken according to recommendations, lactoferrin is ideal for regulating iron absorption and the delivery of iron to our cells, helping to support optimal physical performance. TLDR: Don’t let a laggy iron metabolism lag your gameplay.
2. Gut Health and Stress
How stressed can gamers be? After all, they’re just sitting in a chair and barely moving, right? Well, it turns out that the amount of stress they experience is equivalent to that of being in a sports car race.
Scientists at the German Sports University found that gamers typically clocked up 400 movements on the keyboard and mouse per minute (an impressive four times that of the average person). The physiological effects of these rapid-fire movements culminated in physical stressors like a 160-180bpm pulse rate which, for context, is what happens when you’re sprinting. Top that off with elevated cortisol levels worthy of a competing race car driver, and you’ve basically got a Formula 1 situation happening in a gaming chair.
The connection between stress and gut health has been well documented. Stress can lead to changes in the gut bacteria, which may then affect the resiliency of the gut’s ecosystem. With the stressful nature of esports matches, it’s not surprising that the gut health of e-athletes could take a back seat and potentially lead to compromised performance. But who wants to get pwned by their own tummy?
Including lactoferrin in one’s diet is an easy way to maintain a healthy gut. The protein encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria and supports the diversification of the gut microbiome, setting the stage for a happy and healthy tummy—even when you’re getting headshot for the 10th time. What’s more, lactoferrin also maintains our gut barrier system. This ensures good nutrient absorption, and the tolerance of food allergies. Now that’s poggers!
3. Maintaining a Healthy Immune System
Long training sessions and drawn out best-of matches can take a toll on an e-athlete’s energy levels. Physical strain, coupled with mental lethargy, is the perfect recipe for an unbalanced immune system.
Lactoferrin is a core component of our body’s innate immune system aka the physiological defense system with which you were born. So whether it’s taking lactoferrin supplements or sipping a lactoferrin-enhanced beverage, incorporating this powerhouse protein into your daily diet can help support a tip-top immune system. After all, no serious gamer has the time to be AFK to blow their nose or even pause for a sneeze.
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