The Side Effects of Using Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass in Bodybuilding

Weight gainers are a popular choice for bodybuilders and gym buffs looking to pack on pounds. High in calories and carbs, these sports supplements fuel your muscles into growth and speed up recovery. Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass has emerged as one of the best-rated products in this category. It provides a whopping 1,250 calories per serving, making it easier to gain weight. From faster muscle growth and repair to greater energy, Serious Mass results are quite impressive. However, its side effects shouldn't be ignored.

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Side Effects (Image: funduck/iStock/GettyImages)

How Does Serious Mass Work?

This supplement appeals to hardgainers and active individuals who want to build mass and strength. Bodybuilders, for example, go through bulking and cutting phases. Many of them use Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass and other products when bulking up to increase their calorie intake and stimulate muscle growth.

Serious Mass delivers 50 grams of protein, 524 grams of carbs, four grams of fat and 1,250 calories per serving. One serving consists of two scoops. This formula also contains creatine monohydrate, glutamine, choline, potassium, zinc, magnesium and other micronutrients that support exercise performance and overall health.

Each serving provides over 320 percent of the RDA of thiamin, 250 percent of the RDA of vitamin B6, 20 percent of the RDA of zinc and 100 percent of the RDA of iodine, selenium chromium and vitamin A. Large doses of these nutrients may not be safe.

Additionally, Serious Mass contains artificial sweeteners, synthetic flavors and food dyes that can affect your health. Before you start using this product, make sure you're aware of Optimum Nutrition's mass gainer side effects.

Serious Mass Side Effects

Due to its high-calorie content, this supplement may cause excess weight gain. According to Harvard Medical School, one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. If you take Serious Mass, the pounds will add up unless you burn those extra calories through exercise.

Optimum Nutrition's weight gainer side effects are partly due to its high-carb content. According to a 2018 study published in The Lancet, both low-carbohydrate and high-carbohydrate diets increased mortality risk. Furthermore, eating too many carbs may contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and cirrhosis, according to a 2015 review published in Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition.

The carbs in Serious Mass come from sucralose and maltodextrin. Both additives carry potential health risks. As Medical News Today notes, maltodextrin has a higher glycemic index than sugar, so it may cause blood glucose spikes. In the long run, it may increase your risk of diabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. This food additive has also been shown to alter the gut flora and suppress intestinal antimicrobial defense mechanisms.

Sucralose isn't safer either. Even though the excess is eliminated through urine, this sugar substitute may cause migraines and affect immune function. More research is needed to confirm its side effects.

In a 2013 study published in Diabetes Care, insulin levels increased by 20 percent and blood sugar levels by 14 percent in obese subjects who consumed sucralose. Over time, these fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels can affect glycemic control and hormonal responses.

Additionally, Serious Mass contains large amounts of vitamins and minerals that exceed the daily recommended intake. For example, a single serving provides 320 percent of the RDA of thiamin. When consumed in excess, this B vitamin may trigger allergic reactions and cause various symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, blue-colored lips, restlessness, nausea, rashes and coughing up blood.

What to Expect

These are just a few of the many side effects associated with Serious Mass. It all comes down to how your body reacts. For example, as noted by the Mayo Clinic, creatine, one of its main ingredients, may cause fluid retention, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, fever and muscle cramps. Furthermore, this ingredient is not recommended to those with diabetes or a history of kidney disease. However, not everyone will experience adverse reactions.

Serious Mass results vary from one individual to another and depend on your overall diet, training routine and body composition. If you rarely work out or have a sedentary lifestyle, this supplement will cause excess weight gain. Athletes, on the other hand, may experience muscle and strength gains, increased endurance and faster post-workout recovery.

Consider your diet before using this product. If your meals are high in calories, you may not need a mass gainer. Someone who's on a tight schedule or has a difficult time eating enough may benefit from using Serious Mass. Another option is to make your own weight gainer with protein powder, raw honey, peanut butter, oats, coconut oil, cocoa and other natural ingredients.

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