Dietary toxicity of calcium beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl butyrate (CaHMB)

Food Chem Toxicol. 2005 Dec;43(12):1731-41. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2005.05.016.


HMB, 3-hydroxy-3-methyl butyrate, is of interest as a dietary supplement and a possible component of functional and medical foods. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the toxicity of the calcium salt of HMB, calcium 3-hydroxy-3-methyl butyrate (CaHMB, monohydrate, food grade), when administered daily in the diet of rats for at least 90 days. Male and female Crl:CD (SD)IGS BR animals were assigned to four groups. Each group received diets containing the carrier or 1%, 2%, or 5% of CaHMB mixed with diet. Assessment of toxicity was based on mortality, clinical observations, body weights, food consumption, and clinical and anatomic pathology evaluations. Administration of CaHMB in basal diet for 91 days was tolerated well. There were no unscheduled sacrifices or deaths. There were no CaHMB-related adverse effects on clinical observations, body weights, food consumption, clinical chemistry, hematology, absolute or relative organ weights, or macroscopic or microscopic observations. A statistically significant increase in inorganic phosphorous was observed in male animals in the 5% feeding group; however, this effect was not considered adverse. Based on the results of this study, the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) was considered to be 5% of CaHMB mixed with diet (3.49 g/kg BW for males and 4.16 g/kg BW for females).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Calcium Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Calcium Compounds / toxicity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Female
  • Male
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Organ Specificity / drug effects
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Sex Factors
  • Toxicity Tests, Chronic
  • Valerates / pharmacokinetics
  • Valerates / toxicity*


  • Calcium Compounds
  • Valerates
  • beta-hydroxyisovaleric acid