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hmb: trying to find scientific data
Feb 11, 2004

i'm trying to prevent lean muscle mass loss; creatine seems well documented, but having trouble finding scientific data on other supplements recommended in bodybuilding mags such as HMB; those mags all pimp products advertised therein, and are thus untrustworthy, and thebody experts all seem vague and non-commital; is there a website or other source that has scientifically tested data about HMB and other bodybuilding supplements? web searches seem to yield nothing but biased, self-promotional sources

thanks for any help you can give

Response from Mr. Vergel

I do not blame you. The data on HBM is very limited and not convincing, in my opinion. Here are two papers you may want to read. As you know, Juven (one of the supplements marketed for HIV wasting) contains HMB, glutamine and arginine.

Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation and the promotion of muscle growth and strength.

Sports Med 2000 Aug;30(2):105-16 (ISSN: 0112-1642) Slater GJ; Jenkins D Department of Physiology, Sports Science Sports Medicine Centre, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. gary_slater@sscc.gov.sg. Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine, is one of the latest dietary supplements promoted to enhance gains in strength and lean body mass associated with resistance training. Unlike anabolic hormones that induce muscle hypertrophy by increasing muscle protein synthesis, HMB is claimed to influence strength and lean body mass by acting as an anticatabolic agent, minimising protein breakdown and damage to cells that may occur with intense exercise. Research on HMB has recently tested this hypothesis, under the assumption that it may be the active compound associated with the anticatabolic effects of leucine and its metabolites. While much of the available literature is preliminary in nature and not without methodological concern, there is support for the claims made regarding HMB supplementation, at least in young, previously untrained individuals. A mechanism by which this may occur is unknown, but research undertaken to date suggests there may be a reduction in skeletal muscle damage, although this has not been assessed directly. The response of resistance trained and older individuals to HMB administration is less clear. While the results of research conducted to date appear encouraging, caution must be taken when interpreting outcomes as most manuscripts are presented in abstract form only, not having to withstand the rigors of peer review. Of the literature reviewed relating to HMB administration during resistance training, only 2 papers are full manuscripts appearing in peer reviewed journals. The remaining 8 papers are published as abstracts only, making it difficult to critically review the research. There is clearly a need for more tightly controlled, longer duration studies to verify if HMB enhances strength and muscular hypertrophy development associated with resistance training across a range of groups, including resistance trained individuals.

Nutritional treatment for acquired immunodeficiency virus-associated wasting using beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, glutamine, and arginine: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2000 May-Jun;24(3):133-9 (ISSN: 0148-6071)

Clark RH; Feleke G; Din M; Yasmin T; Singh G; Khan FA; Rathmacher JA Nassau County Medical Center, East Meadow, New York, USA.

BACKGROUND: The current study was designed to examine whether a combination of three nutrients, consisting of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), a metabolite of leucine, L-glutamine (Gln) and L-arginine (Arg), each of which has been previously shown to slow muscle proteolysis, could synergistically alter the course of muscle wasting in patients with established acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). METHODS: Sixty-eight human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with a documented weight loss of at least 5% in the previous 3 months were recruited from the HIV clinic at Nassau County Medical Center. The subjects were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to receive either placebo containing maltodextrin or the nutrient mixture (HMB/Arg/Gln) containing 3 g HMB, 14 g L-glutamine, and 14 g L-arginine given in two divided doses daily for 8 weeks. Body weights (BW) were recorded weekly and lean body mass (LBM) and fat mass (FM) were measured by air displacement plethysmography and by a single computerized tomography (CT) slice through the thigh at 0, 4, and 8 weeks. RESULTS: Forty-three subjects completed the 8-week protocol, (placebo, n = 21; HMB/Arg/Gln, n = 22). At 8 weeks, the subjects consuming the HMB/Arg/Gln mixture gained 3.0 +/- 0.5 kg of BW while those supplemented with the placebo gained 0.37 +/- 0.84 kg (p = .009). The BW gain in the HMB/Arg/Gln-treated subjects was predominantly LBM (2.55 +/- 0.75 kg) compared with the placebo-supplemented subjects who lost lean mass (-0.70 +/- 0.69 kg, p = .003). No significant change in FM gain was observed (0.43 +/- 0.83 kg for the group receiving HMB/Arg/Gln and 1.07 +/- 0.64 kg for the group receiving the placebo, p > .20). Similar percentage changes in muscle mass and fat mass were observed with CT scans. Immune status was also improved as evident by an increase in CD3 and CD8 cells and a decrease in the HIV viral load with HMB/Arg/Gln supplementation. CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that the HMB/Arg/Gln mixture can markedly alter the course of lean tissue loss in patients with AIDS-associated wasting.



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