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Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Hydroxymethyl butyrate (HMB) Print

Hydroxymethyl butyrate (HMB)

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Also listed as: Hydroxymethylbutyrate, HMB, Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 3-Hydroxy-3-methyl-butanoic acid, 3-hydroxyisobutyric acid, {beta}-hydroxy-{beta}-methylbutyrate, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyric acid, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylglutarate-CoA, b-hydroxy-b-methylbutyrate monohydrate, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), calcium beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, creatinine, glutamine, HMB, HMG-CoA, HMG-CoA reductase, hydroxymethyl butyrate, hydroxymethylglutarate, ketoisocaproate, KIC, leucine.

Background
  • Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (hydroxymethylbutyrate, or HMB) a breakdown product of the amino acid leucine. It can be found naturally in small quantities in grapefruit, alfalfa, and catfish.
  • HMB is also naturally synthesized in the human body. Production of HMB occurs in the muscle and liver, and it is believed to be involved in muscle protein synthesis. Currently, HMB is widely available and a popular supplement among athletes, especially bodybuilders.
  • Clinical trials have also reported HMB to be effective when used orally, in combination with amino acids, to prevent cachexia (loss of muscle) in patients with AIDS, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Preliminary clinical evidence has indicated that HMB may lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


HMB has been found to reduce muscle damage associated with exercise and to shorten recovery time. Supplementation has been found to inhibit muscle breakdown and enhance protein synthesis.

B


HMB in combination with arginine and glutamine has been shown to decrease both cancer- and AIDS-related cachexia (weight loss/wasting). Evidence remains insufficient for use of HMB alone in the treatment of cachexia.

C


In preliminary research, HMB supplementation was found to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors. HMB lowered total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and reduced systolic blood pressure. Well-designed clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings.

C


Reviews examining HMB's effects on exercise performance have noted increases in lean body mass and strength in response to supplementation. Other studies, however, did not support these findings. Additional research is required.

C


HMB in combination with arginine and glutamine has been shown to enhance collagen synthesis. Additional research is required before any recommendation can be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy, immune function, kidney failure.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • The common dose for HMB is three grams or less taken by mouth daily for up to eight weeks.
  • For cachexia (muscle loss), a combination of three grams of HMB with 14 grams of arginine and 14 grams of glutamine has been taken by mouth in two divided doses daily for up to 24 weeks.
  • For cardiovascular disease risk, three grams has been taken by mouth daily for up to eight weeks.
  • For exercise performance, three grams has been taken by mouth daily for up to nine weeks.
  • For exercise recovery, three grams has been taken by mouth daily for up to six weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for HMB in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with known allergy or hypersensitivity to HMB.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • HMB appears to be safe with short-term use. Currently, data regarding the long-term effects of HMB use are lacking.
  • HMB may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Use cautiously in individuals with immune disorders or those using agents that affect the immune system, as HMB supplementation may stimulate the immune system.
  • Avoid in individuals with known allergy or hypersensitivity to HMB.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is currently a lack of reliable data on the use of HMB during pregnancy or lactation.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • HMB may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
  • HMB may interact with agents that affect the immune system, antivirals, cholesterol-lowering agents, and weight loss agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • HMB may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • HMB may interact with antivirals, arginine, athletic performance enhancers, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, creatine, glutamine, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, sugar, and weight loss herbs and supplements.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Flakoll P, Sharp R, Baier S, et al. Effect of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, arginine, and lysine supplementation on strength, functionality, body composition, and protein metabolism in elderly women. Nutrition 2004;20(5):445-451.
  2. Hoffman JR, Cooper J, Wendell M, et al. Effects of beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate on power performance and indices of muscle damage and stress during high-intensity training. J Strength Cond Res 2004;18(4):747-752.
  3. Marcora S, Lemmey A, Maddison P. Dietary treatment of rheumatoid cachexia with beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, glutamine and arginine: a randomised controlled trial. Clin Nutr 2005;24(3):442-454.
  4. May PE, Barber A, D'Olimpio JT, et al. Reversal of cancer-related wasting using oral supplementation with a combination of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, arginine, and glutamine. Am J Surg 2002;183(4):471-479.
  5. Palisin T, Stacy JJ. Beta-hydroxy-beta-Methylbutyrate and its use in athletics. Curr Sports Med Rep 2005;4(4):220-223.
  6. Payne ET, Yasuda N, Bourgeois JM, et al. Nutritional therapy improves function and complements corticosteroid intervention in mdx mice. Muscle Nerve 2006;33(1):66-77.
  7. Ransone J, Neighbors K, Lefavi R, et al. The effect of beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate on muscular strength and body composition in collegiate football players. J Strength Cond Res 2003;17(1):34-39.
  8. Rathmacher JA, Nissen S, Panton L, et al. Supplementation with a combination of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), arginine, and glutamine is safe and could improve hematological parameters. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2004;28(2):65-75.
  9. Siddiqui R, Pandya D, Harvey K, et al. Nutrition modulation of cachexia/proteolysis. Nutr Clin Pract 2006;21(2):155-167.
  10. Smith HJ, Mukerji P, Tisdale MJ. Attenuation of proteasome-induced proteolysis in skeletal muscle by {beta}-hydroxy-{beta}-methylbutyrate in cancer-induced muscle loss. Cancer Res 2005;65(1):277-283.
  11. Smith HJ, Wyke SM, Tisdale MJ. Mechanism of the attenuation of proteolysis-inducing factor stimulated protein degradation in muscle by beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate. Cancer Res 2004;64(23):8731-8735.
  12. Thomson JS. beta-Hydroxy-beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation of resistance trained men. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2004;13(Suppl):S59.
  13. Tisdale MJ. Clinical anticachexia treatments. Nutr Clin Pract 2006;21(2):168-174.
  14. Tisdale MJ. The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway as a therapeutic target for muscle wasting. J Support Oncol 2005;3(3):209-217.
  15. van Someren KA, Edwards AJ, Howatson G. Supplementation with beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) and alpha-ketoisocaproic acid (KIC) reduces signs and symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage in man. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2005;15(4):413-424.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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