HMB works wonders with over-seventies who do strength training

It’s good stuff that HMB. Ask sports scientist Matthew Vukovich of South Dakota State University. In 2001 he published the results of a study in which he got people in their seventies to do weight training for a couple of weeks. The elderly subjects who took HMB built up muscle mass and lost fat. The ones who took a placebo saw no effect whatsoever.

Vukovich’s study was financed by Metabolic Technologies, the company of the people who discovered that HMB has an anabolic effect. HMB is one of the better-studied supplements on the market, but the majority of these studies have been financed by Metabolic Technologies.

And that’s the big snag of the subject of nutrition. There are masses of studies that owe their existence to companies whose only goal is to have you believe in what the studies have shown. They regard them as gospel and would like you to learn them off by heart too.

But on the other hand, where would be without these companies? We’d know zilch about nutrients. We’d be dependent for all our information on a handful professors who’ve never even touched weights, and who’d be telling us that strength athletes should drink two glasses of milk a day. There’d probably be hardly any supplements available either.

Vukovich gave half of his test subjects – a group of 14 men and women aged 70 – 3 g HMB daily. The subjects divided their intake over three moments in the day. A control group of 17 men and women took a placebo.

All subjects trained twice a week with weights and machines. They did two sets of 10-12 reps of eight basic exercises, including the overhead-press, bench-press, pull-down, triceps-extension, curls, leg-curls, leg-extensions and the leg-press.

On three other days the subjects walked for about three-quarters of an hour and did fifteen minutes of stretch exercises. The researchers did nothing with the subjects’ diet.

After eight weeks the researchers measured the fat and lean body mass of the subjects, using a skin fold test and a weighing scale. They noticed that the placebo group had gained no lean body mass, while the HMB group had built up an average of 800 g lean body mass.



The skin fold measurement showed that the subjects in the placebo group had lost no fat, but the fat percentage in the HMB group had decreased from an average of 25.9 percent to 24.8 percent. A decrease of 1.1 percent.

So the subjects in the placebo group did all the training for nothing, is what it comes down to. Hmm…

“HMB supplementation alters body composition during an 8-weeks exercise program in 70-y-old adults in a manner similar to its effect in young adults”, the researchers conclude. “This suggests that the underlying mechanism causing the stimulation of fat-free mass gain by HMB is essentially independent of age.”

Body composition in 70-year-old adults responds to dietary beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate similarly to that of young adults.


Studies in young adults have demonstrated that beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) can increase gains in strength and fat-free mass during a progressive resistance-training program. The purpose of this study was to determine whether HMB would similarly benefit 70-y-old adults undergoing a 5 d/wk exercise program. Thirty-one men (n = 15) and women (n = 16) (70 +/- 1 y) were randomly assigned in a double-blind study to receive either capsules containing a placebo or Ca-HMB (3 g/d) for the 8-wk study. Skin fold estimations of body composition as well as computerized tomography (CT) and dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans were measured before the study and immediately after the 8-wk training program. HMB supplementation tended to increase fat-free mass gain (HMB, 0.8 +/- 0.4 kg; placebo, -0.2 +/- 0.3 kg; treatment x time, P = 0.08). Furthermore, HMB supplementation increased the percentage of body fat loss (skin fold: HMB, -0.66 +/- 0.23%; placebo, -0.03 +/- 0.21%; P = 0.05) compared with the placebo group. CT scans also indicated a greater decrease in the percentage of body fat with HMB supplementation (P < 0.05). In conclusion, changes in body composition can be accomplished in 70-y-old adults participating in a strength training program, as previously demonstrated in young adults, when HMB is supplemented daily. PMID: 11435528 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Source: