Dietary and Supplemental Sources

Most foods contain trace amounts of HMB. Fruits and vegetables have relatively low HMB concentrations ranging from 1 to 5 nmol/g, while most meats have higher concentrations ranging from 15 to 25 nmol/g.34 However, some foods of plant origin have concentrations of HMB comparable to those seen in products of animal origin. For example, an herbal tea was found to contain 26 nmol HMB/g, while asparagus and squash have 22 nmol HMB/g.35 Although diet is a source of HMB, endogenous production of HMB from leucine generally far exceeds dietary intake of HMB. Therefore, foods containing large concentrations of leucine would probably have a greater influence on the circulating concentrations of HMB in the body than the HMB found in most common foodstuffs. This was demonstrated in pigs when a meal supplemented with 50 g of leucine was consumed. Plasma HMB concentrations increased ten-fold over that of pigs fed a meal without supplemental leucine.36 In humans given leucine intravenously, plasma HMB increased from 1.9 to 3.6 ^M and plasma HMB rate of appearance increased from 0.19 to 0.27 ^mol/kg/h.37

Supplemental HMB is commercially available as calcium P-hydroxy-P-methyl-butyrate-monohydrate, or Ca(C5H9O3)2H2O (CaHMB; molecular weight = 292). Supplemental CaHMB is a white powder that is freely soluble in water and has a slightly bitter taste. HMB is chemically synthesized38-42 and commercially sold under U.S. Patents 5,348,979, 5,360,613, and 6,103,764, which relate to nitrogen sparing, decreasing cholesterol, and increasing aerobic capacity, respectively. Based on previously reported data,3 the recommended dosage is 3 g (as CaHMB) per day for a 70-kg man; therefore, HMB can easily be supplemented in the form of capsules or tablets, and thus individual dosage can be adjusted on a by-weight basis for significantly lighter or heavier individuals (38 mg of HMB/kg of body weight/day).

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