If you are underweight, your doctor may recommend using dietary supplements to increase your weight. When you are underweight, you are at risk for medical problems caused by nutritional deficiencies. Weight gain supplements are high in calories and protein to help you reach a healthier weight. Monitor your weight regularly while taking a supplement to ensure that you stay in a healthy range.
The preferred type of weight gain supplement for patients that need to gain weight is liquid versions instead of solids. Caloric intake in increased since the liquid supplement can be absorbed quickly, states the American Academy of Family Physicians. Look for supplements that contain iron, vitamin D and calcium to meet the body’s nutritional needs. The supplement should not be high in saturated fat since this type of fat can increase a person’s risk of health problems.
Supplements, such as Boost and Ensure, are safe to help a person gain weight if dietary measures are not effective, states the Center for Young Women’s Health. Before giving this type of weight gain supplement, food portions should be increased, high-calorie beverages provided and more snacks worked into the diet.
When liquid supplements are given to a person to gain weight, they should not be given as a replacement to meals or at the same time as meals, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. This will not help increase a person’s daily caloric intake. Instead, the supplements should be given between meals.
Weight gain supplements are more effective in patients who stay active. According to a 1994 study published in the "New England Journal of Medicine" and referenced on the American Academy of Family Physicians website, elderly patients who exercised were able to gain more weight successfully than those who took the supplement alone.
Pills, drinks and other bodybuilding products that make unrealistic promises to consumers should be avoided if you are looking to gain weight, according to the KidsHealth website from the Nemours Foundation. Avoid weight gain supplements that promise quick muscle gains. Many of the promises made by these types of products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for validity.