The relationship of endogenous plasma concentrations of β-Hydroxy β-Methyl Butyrate (HMB) to age and total appendicular lean mass in humans

Exp Gerontol. 2016 Aug:81:13-8. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2016.04.013. Epub 2016 Apr 20.


The maintenance of muscle mass and muscle strength is important for reducing the risk of chronic diseases. The age- related loss of muscle mass and strength is associated with adverse outcomes of physical disability, frailty and death. β-Hydroxy β-Methyl Butyrate (HMB), a metabolite of leucine, has beneficial effects on muscle mass and strength under various catabolic conditions. The objectives of the present study were to determine if age- related differences existed in endogenous plasma HMB levels, and to assess if HMB levels correlated to total appendicular lean mass and forearm grip strength. Anthropometry, dietary and physical activity assessment, and the estimation of fasting plasma HMB concentrations and handgrip strength were performed on the 305 subjects (children, young adults and older adults). Lean mass, which serves as a surrogate for muscle mass was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Mean plasma HMB concentrations were significantly lower with increasing age groups, with children having highest mean HMB concentration (p<0.01) followed by young adults and older adults. Female subjects (across all ages) had significantly lower plasma HMB concentrations. A significant positive correlation between HMB concentrations and appendicular lean mass normalized for body weight (%), appendicular lean mass (r=0.37; p<0.001) was observed in the young adults and older adults group. Handgrip strength was positively associated with plasma HMB concentrations in young adults (r=0.58; p<0.01) and the older adults group (r=0.28; p<0.01). The findings of the present study suggest that there is an age- related decline in endogenous HMB concentrations in humans and the HMB concentrations were positively correlated with appendicular lean mass and hand grip strength in young adults and older adults group.

Keywords: Grip strength; Indians; Lean mass; Leucine; β-Hydroxy β-Methyl Butyrate (HMB).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition*
  • Child
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Hand Strength*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Leucine / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Valerates / blood*


  • Valerates
  • beta-hydroxyisovaleric acid
  • Leucine