Effects of combined β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) and whey protein ingestion on symptoms of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Feb 29:13:7. doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0119-x. eCollection 2016.


Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of combined β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) and whey protein ingestion on muscle strength and damage following a single bout of eccentric exercise.

Methods: Eighteen untrained male subjects were assigned to HMB and Whey protein (HMB + Whey; 3 g/day HMB and 36.6 g/day whey protein, n = 6), HMB (3 g/day, n = 6), or whey protein (36.6 g/day, n = 6) groups. Ingestion commenced 7 days before non-dominant elbow flexor eccentric exercise (30 deg/sec, 6 reps × 7 sets) and continued until 4 days post-exercise. The maximal isometric strength, muscle soreness, plasma creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were assessed pre-exercise, and at 1, 2, 3, and 5 days after exercise.

Results: The change scores of maximal isometric strength significantly decreased at day 1, 2, and 5 in the whey protein group compared to pre value and that in HMB + Whey protein and HMB groups decreased at day 1 and 5. The muscle soreness significantly increased in the whey and HMB + Whey protein groups at day 3 compared to pre value (p < 0.05). CK and LDH significantly increased (time effect: p < 0.05) after exercise. However, all data were not significant difference among the groups.

Conclusions: These results suggest that ingestion of combined HMB and whey protein does not have a role to inhibit muscle strength loss and soreness, and decrease in muscle damage markers after eccentric exercise in comparison with HMB and whey protein alone.

Keywords: Amino acids; Lengthening; Muscle soreness; Muscle strength.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Creatine Kinase / blood*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / drug effects
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myalgia / metabolism
  • Sports Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Valerates / administration & dosage*
  • Whey Proteins / administration & dosage*


  • Valerates
  • Whey Proteins
  • beta-hydroxyisovaleric acid
  • Creatine Kinase