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For some people, gaining weight can be difficult.
Despite trying to eat more calories, a lack of appetite prevents them from reaching their goals.
Some turn to weight gain supplements, such as Apetamin. It’s an increasingly popular vitamin syrup that’s claimed to help you gain weight by increasing your appetite.
Apetamin is a vitamin syrup that’s marketed as a weight gain supplement. It was developed by TIL Healthcare PVT, a pharmaceutical company based in India.
According to manufacturing labels, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of Apetamin syrup contains:
- Cyproheptadine hydrochloride: 2 mg
- L-lysine hydrochloride: 150 mg
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) hydrochloride: 1 mg
- Thiamine (vitamin B1) hydrochloride: 2 mg
- Nicotinamide (vitamin B3): 15 mg
- Dexpanthenol (an alternative form of vitamin B5): 4.5 mg
The combination of lysine, vitamins, and cyproheptadine is claimed to aid weight gain, though only the last one has been shown to potentially increase appetite as a side effect.
However, cyproheptadine hydrochloride is mainly used as an antihistamine, a type of drug that eases allergy symptoms like runny nose, itching, hives, and watery eyes by blocking histamine, a substance your body makes when it has an allergic reaction (3).
Apetamin is available in syrup and tablet form. The syrup generally contains vitamins and lysine, whereas the tablets only include cyproheptadine hydrochloride.
Apetamin may promote weight gain because it contains cyproheptadine hydrochloride, a powerful antihistamine whose side effects include increased appetite.
Though it’s unclear how this substance increases appetite, several theories exist.
First, cyproheptadine hydrochloride appears to increase levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in underweight children. IGF-1 is a type of hormone linked to weight gain.
In addition, it seems to act on the hypothalamus, a small section of your brain that regulates appetite, food intake, hormones, and many other biological functions.
Still, more studies are needed to understand how cyproheptadine hydrochloride may increase appetite and lead to weight gain.
In addition, Apetamin syrup contains the amino acid l-lysine, which has been linked to increased appetite in animal studies. Nevertheless, human studies are needed.
Is it effective for weight gain?
Though research on Apetamin and weight gain is lacking, several studies found that cyproheptadine hydrochloride, its main ingredient, may aid weight gain in people who have lost their appetite and are at risk of malnutrition.
Additionally, a 12-week study in 16 children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis (a genetic disorder that may feature a loss of appetite) noted that taking cyproheptadine hydrochloride daily led to significant increases in weight, compared to a placebo.
A review of 46 studies in people with varying conditions observed that the substance was well tolerated and helped underweight individuals gain weight. However, it did not help people with progressive diseases, such as HIV and cancer (8Trusted Source).
While cyproheptadine may benefit those at risk of malnutrition, it could lead to excessive weight gain in overweight people or those with a healthy weight.
For example, a study in 499 people from the Democratic Republic of Congo revealed that 73% of participants were misusing cyproheptadine and at risk of obesity.
In short, while cyproheptadine hydrochloride may help underweight people gain weight, it may put the average person at risk of obesity, which is a significant problem worldwide.