nutrition

Looking to Gain Weight? Find Out Which 8 Vitamins and Supplements Might Help

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

5 min read

a man with a barbell on it

Vitamins by themselves won’t help you gain weight. But when you use them as part of a weight-gaining strategy, they can support your goals.

Getting to a weight that works for you is an individual journey. What’s important is that you feel good about your weight goals and have the ability to achieve them. If you’re looking to gain a few pounds, there are some steps you can take.

Can you take vitamins to gain weight?

Taking vitamins can support your health in a number of ways. When it comes to weight gain, though, your vitamin routine won’t lead to instant results. The goal of vitamin supplementation is to fill nutrient gaps in your diet. To the extent that your vitamin supplements are helping your body get the nutrients it needs, they can also help you pursue your broader wellness goals, including weight gain.

How to gain weight naturally

Even without vitamin supplements, you can make some small lifestyle adjustments that can help you gain weight naturally. Some of these include:

  • Eating more frequently
  • Choosing foods that are rich in nutrients and calories
  • Drinking nutrient-dense smoothies
  • Exercising, particularly weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises that help grow and develop your muscles and contribute to healthy weight gain

Why vitamins are important when trying to gain weight

While not a quick fix for gaining weight, taking vitamins can still support your weight-gaining efforts. Vitamin supplements can help ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs. When your body has the right amount of nutrients, it can function at a higher level, including when you’re engaging in weight-bearing exercises that help you gain muscle mass. Some vitamins, in particular, include properties that are especially helpful for weight gain. Let’s take a look at some of them below.

Vitamins and supplements to help gain weight

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is the term for a group of fat-soluble retinoids. It’s involved in a number of important functions in your body, including immune function and cell division. Some studies have shown that cell division is essential to your body’s ability to create fat-storing cells. Thus it’s possible that getting enough vitamin A can play a role in weight gain, though more studies are needed.

B Vitamins

B vitamins help a number of enzymes in your body do their jobs effectively. One important function is that B vitamins help turn the food you consume into the energy you need to function, through metabolic pathways. Vitamin B12, in particular, may be especially important for weight gain. Studies have shown that a vitamin B12 deficiency is sometimes associated with a partial or complete loss of appetite. Making sure your body is getting enough vitamin B12 can help increase appetite and thereby support your effort to gain weight.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C may have an indirect impact on weight gain. Since vitamin C has antioxidant properties, it can help your body reduce oxidative stress. Vitamin C can therefore be helpful if you’re experiencing stress-related weight loss. Vitamin C also plays a role in managing your body’s cortisol levels, which can in turn reduce stress. And, lastly, vitamin C is essential to your body’s ability to absorb iron. Getting adequate iron is an important part of weight gain.

Vitamin D

While some studies have linked low levels of vitamin D to unwanted weight gain, it’s also possible that getting the right amount of vitamin D can support healthy weight gain. That’s because vitamin D is essential for bone health, and bone health is essential to the health of the surrounding muscles. If you’re looking to gain weight through muscle, it’s important to get enough vitamin D.

Fish oil

Fish oil supplements are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are hugely beneficial for our health, but aren’t produced naturally by the body; they must be obtained through our diets. Some studies have found that omega-3s are beneficial for heart health, immune health, and metabolism, as well as the health of the skin, hair, joints, eyes, and brain. While there’s no direct evidence linking omega-3s to weight gain, it’s clear that omega-3s are an important part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Making sure you’re getting enough omega-3s can help your body function at a high level, thus supporting your efforts to gain weight through weight-bearing exercise.

Iron

Before taking iron supplements, it’s important to have a medical professional test your iron levels. That’s because taking excess iron can be toxic for your body. You should really only take iron if your levels are determined to be low.

When it comes to weight gain, there’s good evidence to suggest that iron can support it. Iron plays a critical role in transferring oxygen to your body’s cells, thus helping your body function at a higher level. Taking iron by itself won’t cause weight gain, but it can support your body’s efforts on putting on healthy weight.

Protein

Protein is absolutely necessary for your body to form muscles. Studies have shown that dietary protein content positively affects energy expenditure and the body’s storage of lean body mass. Plant-based protein powders and whey protein can help you increase your protein intake.

Creatine

Creatine is a very popular exercise supplement that supports athletic performance and grows muscle mass. Studies show that creatine supplementation can lead to body mass increases. Of course, as with all the vitamins listed, creatine doesn’t lead to body mass increases on its own; it has to be used in the context of a consistent weight-bearing, high-intensity workout routine. Still, there’s a good reason it’s such a popular supplement: It works!

Final Takeaways

If you’re looking to gain a little weight, the best way to start is by making little lifestyle tweaks: eat more, get more sleep, engage in weight-bearing exercises, and so on. That said, taking certain vitamins, particularly if you have nutrient deficiencies, can help support your weight gain goals. Upping your protein intake can be especially beneficial, and so can incorporating creatine use into your workout routine.

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