Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD
G Fuel is an energy supplement targeted to gamers which calls itself the “Official Drink of Esports”. It has a similar formulation to many popular pre workout drinks. Their marketing is targeted towards kids and teenagers, including partnerships with some of the biggest streamers in the world like Pewdiepie.
What’s clear after reviewing their formulations is that G Fuel prioritizes marketing campaigns over high-quality ingredients for their supplements.
In this article we’ll review G Fuel’s ingredients and explain why it’s very poorly formulated in our opinion, as well as offer some potential alternative energy supplements which are actually based on scientific research and more likely to work.
We’ll be using one of their best selling products called Sour Blue Chug Rug as the basis for our analysis, but most of their products have similar formulations so you can apply the takeaways to all of them.
The Supplement Facts label contains many ingredients, so we’ll break these into review sections for clarity: vitamins, active ingredients, Antioxidant Complex and finally inactive ingredients.
Ingredient Review | Vitamins
G Fuel adds a variety of vitamins to their products, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E and some B vitamins. As we explained in depth in our review of supplements for teens, there is no proven benefit to randomly taking vitamins, especially fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E, if you’re not deficient in them.
We have no reason to believe that taking a random blend of vitamins improves focus, concentration or energy, and G Fuel hasn’t provided any, so we can assume this entire section adds nothing in terms of performance benefits.
Ingredient Review | Active Ingredients
The most important part of these energy formulas is the active ingredient section, which includes the main ingredients meant to improve energy, focus and concentration. This is what you’re paying for.
In G Fuel’s case, this is mostly a blend of amino acids and caffeine and most of the ingredients are totally underdosed, which means that too little of the ingredient is included to be effective based on medical research.
Citrulline malate is a perfect example. Sour Blue Chug Rug includes 500 mg which is such a low dose as to be pointless. We published a breakdown of how citrulline malate can improve exercise performance, so we’re very familiar with the medical research on this organic salt (which is formed by combining malic acid with the amino acid l-citrulline).
This compound has been shown to be effective at doses minimally 6 times (and ideally about 20 times) higher than that in G Fuel, and is used for exercise not mental performance, so it makes no sense why it’s included.
L-tyrosine is another amino acid in this formulation which is way underdosed. G Fuel contains 1000 mg of l-tyrosine. We haven’t come across one study showing it to be effective at that low a dose. This study found tyrosine to be effective in improving cognitive performance at 10 g daily, which is 10x the amount in G Fuel. Another study showed tyrosine improved memory during acute stress, but the dosage was 150 mg/kg or about 13x the dosage in G Fuel for an average 90 kg adult male.
One of the most comical inclusions in this formula is 1 mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. This is a different form of the same amino acid mentioned above, but the dosage is so low that it shouldn’t be included as an active ingredient.
As we proved above, even 1000 mg of tyrosine is too low of a dose to be effective. This is 1/1000 of that amount. G Fuel is literally including 0.1﹪ of an already underdosed ingredient on their Supplement Facts panel. The performance benefit you would get from taking 1 mg of tyrosine would be like splitting one sip of coffee over a month.
Caffeine is one ingredient in this formulation which is effective at the included dosage, but caffeine is an incredibly inexpensive ingredient to take alone, either in a pill or by having a coffee or tea.
Ingredient Review | Antioxidant Complex
The theme of insanely underdosed ingredients continues in this section. G Fuel’s entire Antioxidant Complex is 26 mg. For reference, one apple is 242 g (source), or 242,000 mg. This means that G Fuel’s entire antioxidant complex is 0.01﹪ the dosage of one apple.
Companies often include absurdly low amounts of healthy ingredients to add more text to their Nutrition Facts label, because many consumers can’t properly interpret the dosage. We called out the exact same deceptive practice in our Goli gummies review.
Goli was highlighting all of the benefits of pomegranate in their marketing while their actual products had so little pomegranate that it didn’t even make the active ingredients label.
There are no performance benefits to 26 mg of antioxidants. G Fuel doesn’t even try linking out to any research suggesting there are, because it’s such an absurd dosage.
Ingredient Review | Inactive Ingredients
G Fuel contains several ingredients in their “Other Ingredients” section which may be harmful and health-conscious consumers may want to avoid.
Sour Blue Chug Rug contains “natural and artificial flavors.” Natural is an unregulated term, so we have no idea what’s actually included here, but we know that flavorings are frequently removed by the FDA due to potential harm to consumers.
The product also contains artificial food dye which is associated with a wide range of health issues based on published research.
Acesulfame potassium is an inactive ingredient included in G Fuel which is ironically linked to lowered cognition. We broke down the medical research on this ingredient in our Premier Protein nutrition article, because that’s another popular brand which uses this sweetener.
Gamers and esports athletes have two core needs from a performance supplement: improved energy and improved cognition. There are herbs which are actually proven in medical literature to be effective in achieving these effects.
Ginkgo biloba extract is the most well-studied cognitive enhancement supplement. It’s derived from the leaves of a tree native to China, and has been proven to improve memory, cognition and focus in hundreds of published medical research studies.
Panax ginseng extract can be used to improve energy naturally, and doesn’t have the crash of traditional stimulants like caffeine.
Gamers who want an all-in-one product may want to consider Gorilla Mind Smooth, which is effectively formulated for nootropic benefit but may have some safety issues which we covered in our review of their brand.
G Fuel is a terribly formulated product and they only get away with it because their target demographic tends to not be aware of the scientific research behind these ingredients.
They’re charging upwards of $40 for basically caffeine, artificial flavoring and some underdosed amino acids. We strongly recommend against wasting your money on this product line.