In this article, I will discuss if mass gainers are bad for your liver and if you should continue using them with underlying liver problems.
Yes, taking mass gainers for a long time can prove harmful to your liver, especially if you are pre-disposed to acute liver diseases or smoke or drink frequently.
And the surprising fact is that these potential side effects of mass gainers are actually due to the high nutrient level of the gaining products.
To understand the underlying reasons, I have jotted down a scientific analysis of mass gainer effects on hepatic/liver tissues below in the article.
So keep reading to find out how these supplements may damage your liver;
Why is mass gainer bad for your liver?
Mass gainers can adversely affect liver health in multiple ways. And the number one risk is making your liver fatty.
When you take mass gainers, you use a large number of fatty acids and carbohydrates to exceed your calorie consumption to increase your body mass.
But most of this mass can just be a fat gain if you take large “carbs and fats” servings without working out regularly.
Besides that, mass gainers can increase the probability of many liver issues as they usually contain a high proportion of iron and folic acid to increase muscular strength and growth.
However, scientific evidence shows that increased iron percentage in blood negatively affects body tissues, and your liver starts storing its excessive amount to protect other organs from damage.
Resultantly, the liver cannot function properly and become pre-disposed to hepatitis, fibrosis, and hepatic cancer.
Nonetheless, this condition only occurs if you use high amounts of iron-rich fitness supplements for a long time, while the short-term small servings are generally safe.
A chronic liver problem is cirrhosis, which can be aggravated by the high protein content of mass gainers. In this condition, the efficiency of liver cells to convert ammonia (a product of protein metabolism) to urea is decreased.
As a result, blood ammonia level increases which ultimately causes muscle destruction and weight loss. In such conditions, it becomes tempting to use gaining supplements to restore muscle mass but taking high protein supplements will do more harm than do.
Hence, you should stick to the recommended natural diet prescribed by your doctor if you are suffering from this chronic problem.
A study performed on 44 bodybuilders who regularly use mass gainers indicated liver damage in all participants. However, the in-depth analysis revealed that the gainers they used contained anabolic steroids that were not mentioned on the nutritional labels.
That is why you should always opt for a product from a reputable brand to have surety of the ingredients you are taking in.
Is it safe to take mass gainer every day?
It is generally safe for most people to use mass gainer daily, but you should not consume it for the long term as that can lead to many side effects.
But if you are suffering from a liver problem like fatty liver, hepatitis, or cirrhosis, taking a mass gainer may not be safe at all because its high protein, carbs, and fatty acid content may deteriorate your condition.
In this case, your physician can help you figure out the right diet plan to build muscles and gain healthy weight. Plus, you can find some handy tips from us in the section below.
How to gain weight naturally with liver problems? – The Dos & Don’ts
Consult your physician
As we just discussed, taking different macronutrients in bulk can affect liver tissues differently. Hence, different mass gainers would affect your liver health differently depending on their formulation and health condition.
And if you already suffer from any liver-related problem like hepatitis or fatty liver or you are diabetic, it is not wise to rely on guesswork and start consuming a product that may cause serious health damage.
Instead, we recommend you consult your doctor before opting for a product and discuss if taking such a supplement is safe for you or not and which product you should go for.
Consume plant proteins
Protein consumption is beneficial in some liver diseases, while in others, it actually backfires and worsens the disease. Plus, it is observed that animal proteins are more harmful compared to plant proteins.
So, taking the majority of protein from vegan sources may help you gain lean muscle safely.
Another helpful observation is the higher safety level of BCAAs than other amino acids. In fact, research has proven that branched-chain amino acids improve liver function and help hepatic tissues recover soon after surgery.
Interestingly, these amino acids also suppress the progression of cirrhosis (a liver ailment aggravated by high protein consumption).
Workouts, especially strength training, are effective for improving liver health and increasing lean body mass.
It is a no-brainer that a good exercise routine can help you get bulkier and stronger. And this research journal concludes that working out also aids in treating liver diseases. Also, physical activity reduces hepatic fat content and prevents liver damage from harmful molecules.
Abstain from alcohol
Alcohol and cigarettes harm liver cells, and these weakened cells are more prone to damage from a high-calorie diet.
That is why you should minimize smoking and drinking if you want to bulk up without damaging your liver.
Ethanol speeds up the fat build-up in liver tissues. So, you will likely end up with a fatty liver or hepatic steatosis if you consume a high-calorie diet to gain mass and drink heavily. Furthermore, as alcohol is broken down in the liver, its metabolic products can cause liver inflammation, commonly known as alcoholic hepatitis.
If continued for a long, this process may replace normal liver cells with scarred tissues, causing cirrhosis. And this condition makes it difficult to maintain muscle mass.
Likewise, tobacco components increase the probability of hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Use Zinc supplements
Zinc is a key component of various liver enzymes. Thus, it plays an important role in maintaining liver health. That is why many patients that suffer from CLD (chronic liver disease) have a zinc deficiency.
A study has proven that zinc supplementation reduces lipid deposition and is also beneficial for treating a fatty liver. Plus, it also aids the liver in recovering from tissue damage.
What is bad about mass gainers?
Mass gainers can cause many negative effects if overdosed. These side effects include fat gain, digestive troubles, glycemic spikes, liver issues, and kidney problems.
Is mass gainer bad for kidneys?
Yes, mass gainers can damage kidneys if taken in large quantities.
A key ingredient of mass gainers (chromium picolinate) can cause renal toxicity if ingested in high amounts.
Similarly, high-protein, especially creatine supplementation, can lead to renal impairment if a person has a history of renal disease.
Are mass gainers cancerous?
It depends. Using a high-quality gaining supplement that does not include carcinogenic impurities (like lead, arsenic, or mercury) will not cause cancer.
On the other side, if your product contains such harmful elements or a high proportion of iron, you keep using it for a long duration. It certainly increases the probability of cancer, especially in the liver.
Mass gainers are safe for healthy individuals with no predisposition to liver or kidney problems.
However, if you have had such issues or a family history of liver diseases, your hepatic cells are likely vulnerable to damage from these supplements.
Even so, every person’s safety level varies depending on their health and lifestyle.
Practices like converting to plant-based protein sources, quitting smoking and alcohol, and exercising regularly can significantly improve your liver health and help you gain weight faster.