Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Do you know the problem that you often don't feel like eating anything at all, even though you know it would be good for your body? Fortunately, appetite stimulants have been developed and researched for just such cases. Because loss of appetite can affect many different groups of people, and because there are many alternative forms of treatment available, we want to inform you comprehensively about this topic in this article.

In our appetite stimulant test 2021 we will look at the effectiveness of available products and present different ways to positively influence your eating behaviour. You will also find out whether appetite stimulants are really suitable for you and what the possible risks are when taking them.




The most important facts

  • Appetite stimulants are contained in many natural foods and can therefore be used without hesitation. Especially with spices and certain vegetables, but also with food supplements, appetite can be stimulated effectively.
  • Lack of appetite is not limited to older people. Children and young adults can also suffer from it and use appetite stimulants.
  • Pharmaceutical drugs have been developed for particularly severe cases of appetite loss. These are usually more expensive, have a higher risk of side effects and require a prescription from a doctor.

The Best Appetizer: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for appetisers

If you want to buy appetisers, the following criteria are particularly important for your decision:

When choosing the right product, your personal preferences are the most important factor. We'll give you a detailed overview of the options you have when it comes to appetite stimulants.

Users

Appetite stimulants are often seen as a typical product for senior citizens. And that is not wrong to begin with. As you will learn later in this article, this group of people is particularly prone to loss of appetite. However, this does not mean that the products offered are only suitable for older people.

Appetite stimulants can be purchased for children, young adults and older people alike.

Indeed, appetite stimulants can be purchased equally for children, young adults and older persons. Products that are flavoured to make them easier to take can also be taken regardless of age. It is more a matter of personal taste.

However, appetite stimulants that are offered for pets are unsuitable for humans. These animals can also be affected by lack of appetite and can be treated with the right products.

The appetite stimulants intended for this target group are clearly labelled and illustrated, and should not be used by humans due to their different composition. The flavour enhancers developed for animals alone make these products inedible for humans.

Active ingredient

As with many other remedies, there are different active ingredients in appetite stimulants that effectively treat the problem. Basically, you should ask yourself whether you would rather use herbal or synthetic remedies. In both cases, you have the opportunity to test different active ingredients to find your optimal product.

However, herbal products are recommended at first because they have a very good effect. With herbal appetite stimulants, it is mainly bitter substances that make your body feel appetite. Products such as ginger or sage are particularly suitable for this. If you find these foods less palatable, you can obtain the same substances by eating vegetables.

People who do not want to focus their diet on certain foods or suffer from intolerances can also turn to food supplements. These contain the same effective substances and are convenient to take before meals.

Those who opt for synthetic appetite stimulants often need a prescription from their family doctor. If a particular product does not work sufficiently, it is possible to try a different active ingredient.

Dosage

When it comes to the dosage of appetite stimulants, a distinction must also be made between herbal and synthetic active ingredients. In most cases, herbal products can be taken in any dosage without hesitation. Since the active ingredients are found almost exclusively in very healthy foods, high dosages and taking them several times a day should not be a problem.

In principle, herbal remedies can be very effective even in low doses if used correctly.

Those who take herbal appetite stimulants in the form of food supplements usually need to take them less frequently. The products are usually more concentrated and thus have a longer-lasting effect.

Appetite-stimulating foods such as ginger are best taken in the morning, for example in the form of a tea. The effect can then unfold throughout the day. With synthetic active ingredients, on the other hand, the dosage is strictly prescribed. In most cases, appetite stimulants in the form of tablets must be taken no more than once a day.

The active ingredient in these products is usually so concentrated that the effect lasts a whole day.

Form of administration

Appetite stimulants are available in many different forms, so the decision should be based on your preferences alone. If you prefer precise rationing and a good overview, then tablets or capsules are probably the most suitable for you. If you don't like to take tablets or capsules, you can also use appetite stimulants in the form of drops. With these, you have to be a little more careful with the portioning.

A tea with herbal active ingredients is also a very pleasant form of administration. The most natural way is certainly the automatic intake of appetite stimulants via foods such as vegetables, which contain the active substances in question. However, the prerequisite for this is that one can muster the necessary appetite for these foods.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about appetite stimulants answered in detail

In the following sections, we will explain to you what effects appetite stimulants have and what to look out for, based on scientific findings. In addition, you will learn what you can do as an alternative for loss of appetite.

What is an appetite stimulant and how does it work?

Appetite stimulants are basically all substances that increase our body's desire to eat. In perfectly healthy people, the mere sight of delicious food or even smells stimulates the appetite. This is therefore a psychological phenomenon, because when we notice something tasty, we want to have it if possible (1).

In contrast, hunger is a physiological phenomenon, because it is triggered by our body as a signal of lack.

Type Description
Hunger The cause of a feeling of hunger is a lack of nutrients and available energy in the human body.
Appetite Caused by sensory perceptions that suggest delicious food to us, which produces a hormone that triggers processes such as saliva production(1).

A variety of foods can be used as appetite stimulants to help us eat more. They ensure that our body boosts saliva and gastric juice production, which in turn leads to more appetite.

By overproducing saliva and gastric juices, the body prepares itself to be able to process a larger amount of food in the immediate future. We then feel this as a desire for food(2).

Appetitanreger-1

Stimulating the production of saliva and gastric juices leads to a feeling of appetite.
(Image source: Dan Gold / unsplash)

For people who have a long-term appetite problem and do not experience improvement with herbal remedies, prescription medications can initiate the same appetite-stimulating processes.

The active substances contained in them promote the activation of gastric acid production, through which patients develop a natural feeling of appetite. Since this is a psychological phenomenon, our brain naturally also plays an important role.

When appetite stimulants are ingested, a certain region of the brain sends out messenger substances that are responsible for the development of the feeling of hunger(3).

What are the side effects of appetite stimulants?

The side effects of appetite stimulants vary greatly depending on the active ingredients they contain. In the case of natural products and herbal food supplements, there are usually no side effects at all, as they are merely ingredients of normal food.

However, a strong effect of these appetite stimulants could lead to extreme weight gain after some time(4). With pharmaceutical appetite stimulants, the risks of side effects are somewhat higher. Because foreign substances influence digestive activities, patients may experience the following side effects(5):

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Palpitations

The concrete risks and their severity vary depending on the active ingredient used. Therefore, a good consultation with the family doctor should be done before taking these prescription drugs.

What types of appetite stimulants are there?

One advantage of appetite stimulants is that there is an extremely wide choice. Foods with appetite stimulating ingredients alone represent a wealth of options. Overall, appetite stimulants can be divided into natural, herbal supplement and pharmaceutical products.
Type Description Examples
Natural foods Numerous foods and spices contain bitter substances or pungency, respectively, which stimulate the production of gastric juices and the metabolic cycle and thus provide appetite (6) Sage, ginger, onion vegetables, chilli pepper, curry
Food supplements Concentrated mixtures of appetite-stimulating natural ingredients provide the same effect as some foods, but are easier to consume bitter elixir, sheep's fork herb
Pharmaceutical medicines Medicines contain active medical ingredients that are also designed to stimulate the body to appetite-stimulating processes. As a result, side effects may possibly occur at the same time Medicines with the active ingredients Paspertin or Motilium

Since natural appetite stimulants are the most tolerable for the body and are also the easiest to obtain, you should definitely try to increase your appetite in this way first. Pharmaceutical medicines usually require a prescription and a visit to your GP beforehand is therefore necessary.

Who should take appetite stimulants?

Basically, it is not unusual to have less appetite than usual from time to time. There can be numerous physical and psychological reasons for this, which can occur on individual days(7).

If we eat a well-balanced diet, our body has enough reserves to get us through days with less food intake without any problems.

However, if you notice that you regularly have little appetite and may also feel a little weak physically, then you should definitely consider using appetite stimulants. By the way, age does not matter. Although loss of appetite is more common in older people, younger people and children can also be affected and can effectively combat it with the right products(8).

Appetitanreger-2

Lack of appetite can also affect younger people. If they regularly have little appetite, they too can turn to appetite stimulants.
(Image source: Pablo Merchán Montes / unsplash)

In any case, the use of natural appetite stimulants and herbal food supplements is recommended first. These products are usually cheaper than pharmaceutical drugs and also have fewer potential side effects. If no natural method is effective, you should talk to your doctor about alternatives.

As for appetite stimulants in pets, one should first talk to a veterinarian about possible causes of eating disorders. Animals cannot logically reveal the reason for their low food intake, so many other diseases besides lack of appetite can lead to malnutrition.

How much do appetite stimulants cost?

The cost of appetite stimulants can vary greatly. Natural appetite stimulants in the form of food can be found in supermarkets at relatively low prices. However, you should bear in mind that most foods need to be processed before they can be consumed in a tasty way.
Type costs
Natural appetite stimulants approx. 1-2 euros/100 grams
Food supplements approx. 3-6 euros/100 grams
Pharmaceutical drugs approx. 5-15 euros/100 grams

Food supplements are somewhat more expensive to procure than natural foods, but are extremely uncomplicated to take and can be consumed without extra effort.

In addition, the rationing of capsules and tablets helps to keep a good overview. The latter also applies to medicines. However, these are significantly more expensive due to the production of the active ingredient.

What alternatives are there to appetite stimulants?

Basically, we have already shown you many different alternatives to appetite stimulants in this article. Nevertheless, all of these options have in common that they influence body processes through consumption. However, there are also other alternatives to increase your appetite that you do not have to take as food or medicine.

One possibility is exercise in the fresh air. This does not necessarily require a high-intensity sports programme; activities such as going for a walk are also possible. All movements have in common that they burn calories to a certain extent. This ultimately ensures that your body demands new energy and gives you a feeling of hunger(9).

At the same time, there is also evidence that intense exercise suppresses the feeling of hunger for a certain period of time(10).

Appetitanreger-3

Exercise and sport may also stimulate your appetite. You don't have to push yourself to the limit.
(Image source: Geronimo Giqueaux / unsplash)

Another helpful method can be a food diary. In it, you can list all the meals you have eaten and also note the times when you lose your appetite. This will give you an overview of whether there is a connection between certain meals and your lack of appetite. Sometimes a simple change in diet can help you regain your appetite.

Image source: gioiak2/ 123rf.com

References (10)

1. Schüssler P, Kluge M, Yassouridis A, Dresler M, Uhr M, Steiger A. Ghrelin levels increase after pictures showing food. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Jun
Source

2. Pedersen AM, Bardow A, Jensen SB, Nauntofte B. Saliva and gastrointestinal functions of taste, mastication, swallowing and digestion. Oral Dis. 2002 May;8(3):117-29
Source

3. Thanarajah SE, Backes H, DiFeliceantonio AG, Albus K, Cremer AL, Hanssen R, Lippert RN, Cornely OA, Small DM, Brüning JC, Tittgemeyer M. Food Intake Recruits Orosensory and Post-ingestive Dopaminergic Circuits to Affect Eating Desire in Humans. Cell Metab. 2019 Mar 5;29(3):695-706
Source

4. Pavlos Pissios, Umut Ozcan, Efi Kokkotou, Terumasa Okada, Chong Wee Liew, Siming Liu, Jennifer N. Peters, Gabriella Dahlgren, Jason Karamchandani, Yogish C. Kudva, Amarnath J. Kurpad, Robert T. Kennedy, Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, Rohit N. Kulkarni; Melanin Concentrating Hormone Is a Novel Regulator of Islet Function and Growth; Diabetes Feb 2007, 56 (2) 311-319
Source

5. Solvay Arzneimittel GmbH Packungsbeilage des Medikaments Paspertins zur Appetitanregung
Source

6. Sternini C. Taste receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. IV. Functional implications of bitter taste receptors in gastrointestinal chemosensing. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2007 Feb;292(2):G457-61
Source

7. Torres SJ, Nowson CA. Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition. 2007 Nov-Dec;23(11-12):887-94
Source

8. Cohrdes, C., Göbel, K., Schlack, R. et al. Essstörungssymptome bei Kindern und Jugendlichen: Häufigkeiten und Risikofaktoren. Bundesgesundheitsbl 62, 1195–1204 (2019)
Source

9. Blundell JE, Stubbs RJ, Hughes DA, Whybrow S, King NA. Cross talk between physical activity and appetite control: does physical activity stimulate appetite? Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 Aug;62(3):651-61
Source

10. Beaulieu K, Hopkins M, Blundell J, Finlayson G. Homeostatic and non-homeostatic appetite control along the spectrum of physical activity levels: An updated perspective. Physiol Behav. 2018 Aug 1;192:23-29
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftliche Studie
Schüssler P, Kluge M, Yassouridis A, Dresler M, Uhr M, Steiger A. Ghrelin levels increase after pictures showing food. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Jun
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Pedersen AM, Bardow A, Jensen SB, Nauntofte B. Saliva and gastrointestinal functions of taste, mastication, swallowing and digestion. Oral Dis. 2002 May;8(3):117-29
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Thanarajah SE, Backes H, DiFeliceantonio AG, Albus K, Cremer AL, Hanssen R, Lippert RN, Cornely OA, Small DM, Brüning JC, Tittgemeyer M. Food Intake Recruits Orosensory and Post-ingestive Dopaminergic Circuits to Affect Eating Desire in Humans. Cell Metab. 2019 Mar 5;29(3):695-706
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Pavlos Pissios, Umut Ozcan, Efi Kokkotou, Terumasa Okada, Chong Wee Liew, Siming Liu, Jennifer N. Peters, Gabriella Dahlgren, Jason Karamchandani, Yogish C. Kudva, Amarnath J. Kurpad, Robert T. Kennedy, Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, Rohit N. Kulkarni; Melanin Concentrating Hormone Is a Novel Regulator of Islet Function and Growth; Diabetes Feb 2007, 56 (2) 311-319
Go to source
Fachinformation
Solvay Arzneimittel GmbH Packungsbeilage des Medikaments Paspertins zur Appetitanregung
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Sternini C. Taste receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. IV. Functional implications of bitter taste receptors in gastrointestinal chemosensing. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2007 Feb;292(2):G457-61
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Torres SJ, Nowson CA. Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition. 2007 Nov-Dec;23(11-12):887-94
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Cohrdes, C., Göbel, K., Schlack, R. et al. Essstörungssymptome bei Kindern und Jugendlichen: Häufigkeiten und Risikofaktoren. Bundesgesundheitsbl 62, 1195–1204 (2019)
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Blundell JE, Stubbs RJ, Hughes DA, Whybrow S, King NA. Cross talk between physical activity and appetite control: does physical activity stimulate appetite? Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 Aug;62(3):651-61
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Review
Beaulieu K, Hopkins M, Blundell J, Finlayson G. Homeostatic and non-homeostatic appetite control along the spectrum of physical activity levels: An updated perspective. Physiol Behav. 2018 Aug 1;192:23-29
Go to source
Reviews