Joint & Muscle Health

How To Gain Muscle Mass: HMB And Sarcopenia

Bone & Muscle Defense

Bone & Muscle Defense

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How To Gain Muscle Mass: HMB And Sarcopenia about Bone & Muscle Defense

How To Gain Muscle Mass: Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) And Sarcopenia

The Muscle-Building Supplement That Can Save You From Frailty

It sounds like a couch potato’s dream but there really may be a way of enhancing muscle mass and strength while side-stepping physical exercise.

While you certainly don't want to forgo exercise entirely, preserving and increasing muscle mass is a vital issue if you're over the age of 50. And, unfortunately, exercise doesn't always cut it.

That's because you naturally lose muscle as you age. And this natural loss of muscle mass with aging can cause a decline in your energy, strength and balance as well as your ability to move easily, not to mention your confidence and independence.

What's more, loss of muscle mass also has a negative impact on your overall health and wellness. For instance, it increases the risk of diabetes and puts you at a higher risk of death from heart disease.

Until recently, only a regular program of strength training could slow or reverse this decline in muscle mass. But now the latest nutritional science shows that there may be a way of achieving the same results just by popping a safe, natural pill.

Key Takeaways:

  • Muscle loss is a normal part of aging.

  • Resistance training is the #1 treatment.

  • The latest research shows how HMB supplementation can help seniors safely preserve and build muscle mass, even without exercise.

Muscle metabolism: Why do you lose muscle mass?

Your skeletal muscle mass hits its peak in your 30s, after which it’s downhill all the way.

In fact, you lose eight percent of your total muscle mass for each decade after the age of 40, accelerating to 15 percent per decade after you reach the age of 70. This leads to a loss of muscular strength and function, and a wasting away of muscle tissue called sarcopenia.

Other reasons for loss of muscle mass include a lack of physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to muscle atrophy. When muscles are not regularly used, they weaken and decrease in size.

If you've suffered an injury or illness, immobilization of a limb (even your entire body through bedrest) can accelerate muscle atrophy, especially if the affected muscles are not used for an extended period. Changes in hormone levels, particularly a decline in hormones like testosterone and growth hormone, can also affect muscle health and lead to muscle protein breakdown and muscle loss. And finally, even some medications, such as corticosteroids, can contribute to muscle loss as a side effect.

While some muscle breakdown is part of aging, loss of muscle mass can also contribute to chronic illness and is a problem in and of itself.

Serious wide-ranging health problems from loss of muscle mass

These health problems include not only a change in body composition (as muscle mass decreases, fat mass increases) that can affect your ability to remain active and independent, but there's also a lot more damage being done under the surface.

A loss of muscle mass saps your energy, depletes your immune system, and increases the risk of falls, frailty, and chronic health conditions. It also shortens your longevity.

On the flip side, maintaining your muscle health, muscle tone and muscle strength has number of dramatic benefits for your overall health. These include:

  • Increased muscle mass: Guards against the effects of muscle protein breakdown and improves your overall physical performance and ability to complete and enjoy daily activities.

  • Enhanced muscle tone: Results in sculpted and defined muscles, for a healthier, more fit body. You not only look better, you feel better.

  • Improved metabolism for higher calorie burning: Building muscle can increase resting metabolic rate, improving lean body mass and aiding in weight management.

  • Injury prevention: Building muscles around your joints can reduce your risk of injuries and improve joint stability.

It's clear that slowing down the muscle breakdown process is vital, but how?

How to gain muscle mass

Growing muscle, sometimes called skeletal muscle hypertrophy, is where muscles increase in size without an increase in the number of muscle fibers. While bodybuilders come to mind, that's not what we're talking about today.

There are a number of treatments for loss of muscle mass that we've written about over the years to help you remain active and independent as you age. Some involve supplements to improve protein synthesis, others involve natural therapies, and most involve small, consistent changes in your lifestyle.

In fact, studies show that the right lifestyle interventions do make a difference in overall skeletal muscle health. In other words, you can maintain muscle mass, strength, and function, thereby improving your overall well-being and saving your independence for years to come.

Resistance exercise training is the #1 treatment

Without doubt the number one strategy to stop the loss of muscle is to engage in a regular program of resistance training. But not everyone is able or willing to do this.

Resistance exercise training, also known as strength training or weight training, is a form of physical activity that involves using resistance to induce muscular contractions, thereby building strength, endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. The resistance can be provided by various means, such as free weights (e.g., dumbbells, barbells), weight machines, resistance bands, or even bodyweight exercises.

The primary goal of resistance exercise training is to create a stimulus that challenges the muscles, leading them to adapt and grow stronger over time. This adaptation occurs through a process called hypertrophy, where muscle fibers increase in size and become more efficient in generating force.

Resistance exercise training can target specific muscle groups or involve multiple muscle groups in compound movements. Some common types of resistance exercises include:

  1. Weightlifting: Using barbells or dumbbells for exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and overhead presses.

  2. Bodyweight exercises: Using your body weight as resistance for exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and bodyweight squats.

  3. Resistance machines: Utilizing machines that have adjustable weights and provide guided movements, such as leg press, chest press, and lat pulldowns.

  4. Resistance bands: Using elastic bands that provide resistance and can be used for various exercises targeting different muscle groups.

Increase protein intake

Another strategy to prevent skeletal muscle atrophy is to increase your protein intake. Consuming an adequate amount of protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. Protein provides the building blocks (amino acids) necessary for rebuilding muscle tissue. Include protein-rich foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, legumes, and plant-based protein sources in your diet.

While eating more protein is good advice for any senior-- especially since older bodies have a harder time with protein metabolism, or put simply, digesting protein-- it's not going to solve the problem of muscle loss as you age.

You see, increasing your protein intake may increase your muscle mass and help reduce fat mass, but it hasn’t been shown to reliably improve muscle strength or all-round physical functioning in middle aged and older adults.

Other natural ways to increase muscle protein synthesis

Along with protein, ensure that you consume a well-balanced diet with a variety of nutrients, including carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. A balanced diet helps support overall health and muscle function.

Proper hydration is essential for optimal muscle function. Drink enough water throughout the day to support your body's various physiological processes, including muscle function.

And make sure you're getting enough sleep. Adequate sleep is crucial for muscle recovery and growth. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night to promote muscle health.

Fortunately, another strategy is available and it’s easy to carry out.

The athlete's secret to boost muscle mass: HMB supplements

Several research groups have shown that a supplemental HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) can help. HMB, also known by many other names such as beta hydroxy (β hydroxy) and hydroxy beta methylbutyrate (hydroxy β methylbutyrate HMB), can help preserve and even build muscle mass.

What is HMB?

HMB is a metabolite of amino acids-- the essential amino acid leucine to be exact-- that both protects against muscle protein breakdown (called muscle catabolism) and at the same time activates key protein synthesis pathways to increase muscle tissue growth (called muscle anabolism).

Athletes have long used HMB supplements to enhance skeletal muscle uptake of protein and recover more quickly after training or competition. In fact, studies have shown that HMB appears to reduce muscle protein breakdown and muscle damage after high-intensity exercise.

How can this help us older folks?

HMB: Miracle muscle building supplement

This is important because the processes of muscle breakdown and growth are no longer equal as you get older.

You see, with aging, muscle protein breaks down faster than new muscle protein synthesis, or growth. This is what causes a natural loss of muscle mass and the natural gain in fat mass.

The two-pronged action of HMB can stimulate protein synthesis and has beneficial effects on body composition, specifically muscle mass, muscle strength, and muscle function.

HMB and muscle growth

HMB has been the subject of numerous studies investigating its potential effects on muscle mass, strength, and exercise performance. Some of the findings from scientific research on HMB and muscle growth include:

  • Improved Muscle Protein Synthesis: HMB has been shown to stop muscle loss by slowing protein breakdown and inducing muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which muscles repair and grow after exercise. This effect can be beneficial for promoting muscle recovery and growth.

  • Better Muscle Strength and Power: Several studies suggest that HMB supplementation may improve muscle strength and power, particularly in resistance-trained individuals and during high-intensity activities.

  • Faster Muscle Recovery: HMB has been investigated for its potential to reduce muscle damage and inflammation after intense exercise, leading to faster recovery and reduced muscle soreness. This is one of the reasons so many athletes are always talking about HMB and muscle growth.

  • Leaner Body Mass: Some research suggests that HMB decreased body fat and can help preserve and increase lean body mass, which is also essential for athletes seeking to improve body composition.

HMB: how to build muscle mass after 40, 50, 60, 70

But athletes aren't the only ones who can benefit.

Among the HMB supplementation studies is a double-blind trial carried out by the University of Nottingham, England. The team found benefits in muscle cells and body composition in male seniors taking a dietary supplement of HMB on top of resistance training over six weeks.

Only those taking the dietary supplements saw an improvement in thigh mass and an increase in muscle protein synthesis compared to those taking the placebo. They concluded that “supplementation may result in long term benefits...”

What's more, the resistance exercise training isn’t necessary to increase muscle growth, muscle mass and muscle strength.

Works to build muscle mass even without exercise

A six-month double-blind trial in seniors carried out by researchers at the University of Central Florida concluded that HMB taken on its own, without resistance exercise training, “enhances strength and MQ (muscle quality)…thereby supporting its potential as a nutritional intervention to prevent sarcopenia and its associated functional decline in people as they age.”

After reviewing the literature, researchers from Italy proposed that “HMB may be utilized to protect or rebuild muscle mass in older people with reduced lean body mass.”

A review of clinical trials published in 2021 concluded that “HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) has a positive effect on body composition and strength, especially in bedridden or sedentary elderly…”

But there's more. One powerful vitamin can supercharge the muscle-building effects of HMB and reduce muscle protein breakdown and loss of muscle mass.

Muscle growth: Sunshine vitamin increases HMB's effects

The most comprehensive study to date was conducted by researchers at Iowa State University. When it came to HMB and muscle growth, the study showed that HMB produces even better results if combined with the sunshine vitamin, or vitamin D.

Their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial divided 117 participants over the age of 60 into four groups.

Two groups took HMB plus vitamin D with or without resistance exercise training. Another two groups took a placebo with or without resistance exercise training. Researchers carried out comprehensive functional tests over the course of the year-long trial.

The findings showed that when compared to the placebo and no exercise group, those taking the supplement of HMB plus vitamin D without exercising showed a significant improvement in physical function. However, in those carrying out resistance training the supplement of HMB and vitamin D showed no additional benefit.

The researchers concluded by writing: “This study demonstrated the potential of HMB and vitamin D3 supplementation to enhance muscle strength and physical functionality in older adults, even in individuals not engaged in an exercise training program.”

Why vitamin D?

It’s not only good for bones, it's good for your skeletal muscle mass.

The Iowa group explained by writing that “vitamin D insufficiency is now recognized as an independent risk factor for accelerated muscle loss, poor physical performance, and falls.”

Vitamin D insufficiency is also very common, they wrote, affecting between half and three-quarters of older adults. We've written repeatedly over the years about the dangers of vitamin D deficiency, especially when it comes to not just your muscles, but your memory, your immune system, your heart and much, much more.

So, for those wishing to supplement with HMB it’s advisable to find one with vitamin D included, or if not, then take vitamin D as a separate supplement. That's why Green Valley Natural Solutions developed Bone and Muscle Defense, using a superior, patented form of HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) called myHMB®️ along with the most highly-absorbable form of vitamin D, vitamin D3.

Take advantage of Bone & Muscle Defense

Derived from the amino acid leucine, myHMB®️ is a highly concentrated, proprietary breakthrough in muscle support and protection. Along with myHMB®️, Bone & Muscle Defense also contains clinical dosages of Vitamin D3 and the patented nutrient OsteoSine®, to support healthy bones, and is rounded out with a patented form of K2 called K2Vital®, Magnesium, and L-Carnitine, for the most complete bone and muscle support formulation available today.

Whether you're still an active weekend warrior wanting to increase protein synthesis to build or protect muscle mass, or you're beginning to fall victim to health problems, the benefits of HMB supplementation with Bone & Muscle Defense can be a game changer.

And if you or a loved one is in the middle of battling chronic illness or frailty, clinical research shows that HMB can be a Godsend for physical strength.

HMB and muscle growth for the chronically ill or frail

One of the most deadly things about certain illnesses such as cancer is that the very nature of the disease promotes muscle damage and the dramatic loss of muscle mass. There's even a term for this, cachexia. It describes extreme weight loss and muscle wasting and is defined by a loss of more than five percent of one's healthy body composition over the course of a year.

Cachexia is extremely dangerous and is linked to death in cancer patients. But what many people don't realize is that very elderly people or people whose health has declined rapidly with age can also suffer from cachexia.

But the good news is that HMB supplementation appears to be particularly effective for preserving strength, muscle mass and body composition in bedridden people-- such as cancer patients-- or older adults. So, if you or a loved one is suffering from frailty due to illness or aging, I urge you to consider HMB supplementation.

While this is all well and good...

Exercise is still important

I want to go on record as saying, if you're still able to exercise, you should.

While dietary supplements of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) alone will offer new hope for folks who are sick, disabled or can't perform physical exercise for some reason, these supplements have not yet been shown to provide any of the other overall health benefits of a regular exercise regimen.

Yes, HMB supplements can help change your body composition, improve muscle metabolism and increase muscle mass and muscle strength as well as stop the muscle damage that comes with aging, but regular exercise still has HMB beat.

That's because it's only exercise that's been shown to help you reduce fat mass and lose weight, reduce insulin resistance, and protect your heart. Exercise has also been shown to improve your immune system and fight inflammation-- both of which are necessary to ward off numerous chronic diseases of aging.

Summary

HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) is a dietary supplement that has been studied for its potential to support muscle preservation, protect against muscle damage and promote muscle growth. It is a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine and is known to have effects on muscle protein synthesis and breakdown.

Research on HMB suggests that it may be beneficial for individuals looking to preserve muscle mass, especially during situations where muscle loss may be a concern, such as during periods of inactivity, calorie deficit, aging, chronic illness, or frailty. Some potential benefits of HMB for muscle preservation include improved muscle protein synthesis, faster muscle recovery and more muscle strength as well as improved lean body mass.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does HMB do?

HMB, or beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, is a dietary supplement that has been studied for its potential effects on muscle health and exercise performance. HMB is not a steroid. It is a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine, which plays a crucial role in muscle protein synthesis and breakdown.

Does HMB really build muscle?

Yes, studies show that HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) really does build muscle. The effects of HMB on muscle building are believed to be related to its role in muscle protein synthesis and reduction of muscle protein breakdown. By supporting muscle protein synthesis and limiting excessive protein degradation, HMB may contribute to muscle preservation and potentially lead to modest muscle growth, especially in older people.

Does HMB reduce belly fat?

Some research suggests that HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate)can help preserve and increase overall lean body mass (fat free mass) and improve body composition.

Does HMB work without exercise?

Yes, the most recent study suggests that, especially in older people, HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) supplementation can help stimulate protein synthesis and increase muscle growth and repair as well as strength even in those who do not exercise.

How do I supplement with HMB?

If you want to take HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) supplements, researchers who have investigated HMB supplementation suggest a general range for dosage. They say a frequently administered dosage of between one to three grams of HMB daily will reduce muscle mass losses over time. Very few studies have examined doses of HMB supplementation above three grams per day over time.

Carla M. Prado, Sarah A. Purcell, Carolyn Alish, Suzette L. Pereira, Nicolaas E. Deutz, Daren K. Heyland, Bret H. Goodpaster, Kelly A. Tappenden & Steven B. Heymsfield (2018) Implications of low muscle mass across the continuum of care: a narrative review, Annals of Medicine, 50:8, 675-693, DOI: 10.1080/07853890.2018.1511918 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07853890.2018.1511918

USU Din 1, et al. A double-blind placebo controlled trial into the impacts of HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) supplementation and exercise on free-living muscle protein synthesis, muscle mass and function, in older adults. Clin Nutr. 2019 Oct;38(5):2071-2078. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.09.025. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30360984/

Charles Phillipe de Lucena Alves, et al. Muscle Quality in Older Adults: A Scoping Review, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, Volume 24, Issue 4, 2023, Pages 462-467.e12, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2023.02.012. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1525861023001317

Landi, Francesco, et al. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate and sarcopenia from biological plausibility to clinical evidence. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 22(1):p 37-43, January 2019. | DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000524 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30489401/

Nicolas de Angelus Costa Riela, et al. Effects of Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate Supplementation on Elderly Body Composition and Muscle Strength: A Review of Clinical Trials. Ann Nutr Metab. 2021;77(1):16-22. doi: 10.1159/000514236. Epub 2021 Mar 12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33709969/

Rathmacher, John A. et al. Long-term Effects of Calcium β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate and Vitamin D3Supplementation on Muscular Function in Older Adults With and Without Resistance Training: A Randomized, Double-blind, Controlled Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Nov; 75(11): 2089–2097. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glaa218. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7566440/

Bone & Muscle Defense

Bone & Muscle Defense

Protects and supports muscle and bone health

$79.95

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