Appetite Increasing Drugs & Supplements

October 25th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Bodybuilders have to eat thousands of calories a day in order to pack on a ton of muscle. Many bodybuilders find that the appetite itself, is what keeps them from being able to eat enough calories to gain weight. Hardgainers are the most vulnerable of all people in this regard. I decided to look around and try to find all the substances that have been used for stimulating appetite.

Cyproheptadine Hydrochloride (Periactin): This is a anti histamine drug that relieves allergy symptoms. It also has the ability to stimulate appetite, probably due to it's serotonin blocking action on the receptors.

- (Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2004 Nov;5(11):2287-92)
- (Nutr Clin Pract. 2005 Aug;20(4):400-10.)
- (Pediatr Pulmonol. 2005 Sep;40(3):251-6)

Periactin is sometimes prescribed clinically by doctors for underweight people who need appetite stimulation. This has led bodybuilders to wonder if other anti-histamines like benadryl will have the same effect on appetite. This doesn't seem to be the case though. One major side effect of periactin, is it will make you groggy and tired like other histamines.

Glucocorticoids: These are drugs that work on the cortisol receptor such as Prednisone. These drugs are counterproductive to bodybuilding however, as they are inherently catabolic.

Megestrol acetate: A progestin that has been used clinically for people with cancer, to help stimulate appetite. This drug is also catabolic and of no help for bodybuilders.

Marionol & Marijuana: Marionol is a pill with THC derived from marijuana plant, to help stimulate appetite in cancer patients. Both can stimulate appetite in healthy people.

benzodiazepines: They appear to have a slight appetite increasing effect in some people, but the side effects and addiction properties outweigh the benefits.

Pro-hormones & Anabolic steroids: These will stimulate appetite, probably because of the nutrient partitioning effects on the body.

B vitamins: Vitamin B has been used clinically and by bodybuilders to stimulate appetite. Many bodybuilders inject vitamin B because they believe it absorbs better than orally. However, studies have shown Vitamin B orally to be just as effective as injections. (Clin Ther. 2003 Dec;25(12):3124-34).