Though weight loss is a very common goal, many people actually want to gain weight.
Some common reasons include improving daily functioning, looking more muscular and enhancing athleticism.
Typically, those who want to gain weight should focus on gaining muscle. It’s usually healthier to gain most of your weight as muscle rather than fat.
While food and exercise are most important for gaining muscle, supplements may also help by providing calories and protein or by allowing you to exercise harder.
Here are 4 supplements that may help you gain muscle
Most people know that protein is an important muscle component.
Several studies have shown slightly more muscle gain in exercising adults who consume protein supplements as part of their diet
However, the most important factor is likely your total daily protein intake rather than whether it comes from foods or supplements (3, 4).
As a general recommendation, the Institute of Medicine suggests that 10–35% of your daily calories should come from protein (5).
Many scientists agree that a daily intake of 0.6–0.9 grams per pound (1.4–2.0 grams per kg) of body weight per day is appropriate to support muscle growth in active adults (6).
If you are able to consume this recommended amount of protein from whole foods, protein supplements are not necessary.
However, many people consider supplements in the form of shakes or bars a convenient way to fit more protein into a busy schedule.
One way to help determine if you are eating enough protein without supplements is to track your diet on a few typical days. You can use free resources such as the USDA SuperTracker, MyFitnessPal or other similar apps or websites.
It’s also important to realize that eating a high-protein diet will not cause weight gain unless you consume enough calories overall.
In fact, some studies show that high-protein diets can promote fat loss, possibly by making you feel more satisfied after eating and decreasing the amount you eat
Creatine is one of the most-researched supplements and one of the few sports supplements with very strong research support (9).
This molecule is found naturally in your cells and in some foods.
When taken as a supplement, the creatine content in your muscles can increase beyond normal levels
Creatine has several important functions in your body, including rapid energy production .
A substantial amount of research has shown that creatine supplements can improve exercise performance and muscle gain over time
While several different types of creatine are available, including rapid energy production has the most research backing it as safe and effective .
When taking creatine, it’s typically recommended to begin by taking a loading dose of approximately 20 grams per day, split into four servings, for 5–7 days (9, 15).
After this initial period, a maintenance dose of approximately 3–5 grams per day can be taken indefinitely.