Mass Gainers and Weight Gain Pills – Reviews, Side Effects & More

Selection of mass gainers and weight gain pills
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Mass gainers can help you get stronger faster.

What is Mass Gainer?

If you’re looking to gain weight or build mass, using a mass gainer can get you there faster. Mass gainers are high-calorie supplements that combine carbohydrates, protein and fats to help you pack on size. These macro-nutrients are present in different ratios and quantities depending on the mass gainer. Whether you’re looking to move a weight class or bulk up, we’ve created the ultimate guide to understanding the latest weight gainer products on the market.

What are Weight Gain Pills

Weight gain pills are capsules taken orally to promote mass and muscle gain. [1] Pills act in a similar manner as other formats, but provide a smaller dosage of carbohydrates, proteins and fats per use. Mass gainer pills provide a portable, convenient and hassle-free way to build muscle on the go.

Common Weight Gainer Ingredients

While the ingredients for mass gainer protein will vary from product to product, whey protein and maltodextrin are two of the popular ingredients found in protein shakes for weight gain.

Whey Protein is an excellent source of protein and usually contains all essential amino acids. Whey protein is frequently used in muscle builder supplements as it’s quickly absorbed, contributes to the increase in muscle protein synthesis and useful in the maintenance of overall good health. [2]

Maltodextrin is a commonly used polysaccharide which ranks high on the glycemic index. Although maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate naturally found in starch sources, it’s quick absorption provides useful bursts of energy, [3] making it a popular ingredient in mass gain supplements.

Mass Gainers Beneficial Effects

In a 2002 study, researchers found that taking a carbohydrate-protein supplement, like a mass gainer immediately after exercising was more effective in replenishing essential muscle glycogen compared to only carbohydrate supplements. [4]

Mass gainer post workout effectiveness
Mass gainers come out on top for being the most effective in replenishing total muscle glycogen during a four-hour recovery.

Mass gainers combine both protein and carbohydrates to provide a faster recovery time and increased capacity of performance over traditional carbohydrate supplements. This means more results in less time.

Introducing mass gainers can provide users with a healthy way to progressively pack on the pounds. By controlling the amount added to your diet, a recommended 300-500 extra calories above your daily calorie needs, [5] can safely increase muscle that will stay.

Mass builder supplements commonly contain a mix of crucial vitamins and amino acids that provide a more nutritionally dense diet. With large quantities of the daily recommended amounts of protein and calcium-which has been observed to maintain strong bones, [1] mass gainers can help to cover any existing dietary voids and maintain bone density.

Mass Gainers Side Effects

When adding mass gainers to your diet, it’s key to maintain a balanced meal plan and workout routine. Consuming a mass builder alone may lead to unhealthy weight gain and increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases. [6] Mass builder products often contain milk or soy products [10] and should be noted for those with dietary restrictions or intolerances. Always read the listed ingredients to avoid possible allergic reactions.

Dosage Formats – Shakes and Pills

Weight Gain Shakes

Weight gain powder is the most accessible format of weight gain supplements available on the market. Commonly mixed with water to make weight gainer shakes, integrating immediately after exercise or first thing in the morning will combine a beneficial mix of complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and amino acids to support energy, mass and muscle production. [4] Substituting in nutritional shakes and consuming nutrient-rich calories more frequently is crucial to building mass and healthy weight gain. [9]

Pro Tip: If your goal is calorie consumption, combine weight gain powder with high-calorie liquids such as whole milk to add additional calories to each serving.

Weight Gaining Pills

For those who don’t enjoy the taste of weight gain powder, taking weight gainer pills provides a more portable and convenient alternative to building muscle. Combining with a balanced diet and workout regime can promote healthy weight gain.

GNC Weight Gainer – and other retailers

GNC offers numerous weight gainers for a variety of calorie requirements. Popular GNC weight gainer products include: Dymatize Nutrition Super Mass Gainer, Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass, GNC Pro Performance Mass Gainer, and MuscleTech Mass Tech. [10] Want to know more about GNC Mass Gainer and weight gain supplements? Check out the latest Buying Guide where we break down how to get the best bang for your muscle building buck.

Weight Gainer for Women

According to results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women aged 20 years and over tend to be more prevalently underweight than their male counterparts. [7]

Prevalence of underweight adults aged 20-74 years by sex in the United States
Women aged 20-74 years old in the United States have been more likely to be underweight than men over the past 50 years.

Underweight is classified as having a body mass index of 18.5 kg/m2 or less and can be caused by poor nutrition or existing health problems. Being underweight can have negative effects on the body’s ability to deliver nutrients to critical organs, the reproductive system and decrease overall well-being. [6]

While the observations indicate the steady decline of underweight females, from 5.7% in 1960-1962 to 2.3% in 2007-2008; [7] the study excludes pregnant and elderly women, both special populations that could face more serious health risks by being underweight.

Using weight gain supplements for women can aid in building and maintaining a healthy body weight. Similar to weight loss, consistency is the key to weight gain. [5] Introducing weight gainer for women can assist in reaching daily protein, carbohydrate and calorie goals to keep you on track. Additionally, mass gainers that include creatine can help develop muscle mass quicker.

While little research currently exists exclusively on weight gain pills for women, it’s important to thoroughly research any weight gainer product before introducing it into your daily routine.

Controversy

It’s important to note that dietary supplements are regulated differently than Food or Drugs categories. While various ingredients, vitamins or minerals may have existing clinic research to support claims, “supplements are not required by federal law to be tested for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed,” as stated by the FDA. [1] Recent concerns over false advertising of herbal supplements [8] poses questions around health claims and efficacy for all supplement products. Quality products will often have routine tests performed on their formulas to back up claims and confirm safety of ingredients.

Mass & Weight Gainer Reviews

Click here for the most comprehensive mass gainers and weight gain pills supplement reviews.

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  1. National Institutes of Health. (2011, June 24). Dietary Supplements. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  2. Mayo Clinic. (n.d). Whey protein evidence – Drugs and Supplements. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  3. Hofman, D. L., Van Buul, V. J., & Brouns, F. J. (2015). Nutrition, Health, and Regulatory Aspects of Digestible Maltodextrins [Abstract]. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 56(12), 2091-2100. doi:10.1080/10408398.2014.940415
  4. Ivy, J. L., Goforth, H. W., Damon, B. M., McCauley, T. R., Parsons, E. C., & Price, T. B. (2002). Early postexercise muscle glycogen recovery is enhanced with a carbohydrate-protein supplement. Journal of Applied Physiology, 93(4), 1337-1344. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00394.2002
  5. Gunnars, K. (n.d.). How to Gain Weight. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  6. American College of Sports Medicine. (2010). ACSM fit society page. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  7. Fryar, C.D., and Ogden, C. L. (2012). Prevalence of Underweight Among Adults Aged 20 Years and Over: United States, 1960–1962 Through 2007–2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  8. Kaplan, S. (2015, February 3). GNC, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreen accused of selling adulterated ‘herbals’. The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  9. Zeratsky, K. (n.d.). What’s a good way to gain weight if you’re underweight? Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  10. (n.d.). Mass Gainers. Retrieved 5 August 2016.