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Just because a label has “HMB” on it doesn’t always mean there is the leucine metabolite β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate in the product. This confusion isn’t something new, as several products have been marketed over the years, both knowingly and unknowingly, claiming to have “HMB.” Consumers should read the label carefully to be sure that “HMB” on the label means there is calcium β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate in the product. A recent scientific study highlights how this labeling issue can affect both the scientific community and the marketplace.
How did the current confusion arise? Maximuscle Ltd. of Watford, United Kingdom, trademarked “HMB” shortly after Dr. Steven Nissen discovered the effects that β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate had on muscle metabolism. However, this HMB trademark is not necessarily an indicator of what is contained in the product. A closer look at the Maximuscle HMB-1000TM label shows that HMB, or β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate, is not listed as an ingredient in the Maximuscle HMB-1000TM. Instead, the label lists HMBTM and describes it as “enzymatic metabolites of Leucine.”
In a recently published scientific article (J Strength. Cond. Res. 24(2): 531-537,2010), researchers used Maximuscle HMB-1000TM as a test supplement and concluded that β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate didn’t reduce muscle damage after exercise. After this study was published, Metabolic Technologies Inc. ordered a bottle of Maximuscle HMB-1000TM and tested the product for β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate. Metabolic Technologies has previously tested every lot of the HMB ingredient distributed (and many HMB containing products), and in this case no β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate was found in the Maximuscle product. Since Maximuscle HMB-1000TM doesn’t contain any β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate, the researchers’ conclusion can only state that there was no reduction in muscle damage seen with Maximuscle HMB 1000TM. Previous studies have shown that β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate does in fact reduce muscle damage caused by intense exercise. These studies can be found at http://www.hmb.org/publications/publication_categories.cfm?PublicationCategoryID=1.
Buyers need to use caution when purchasing supplements and should not mistake “HMB” or HMBTM on a label for actual HMB, β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate. Products containing HMB, β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate, should always have the patent number 5,348,979 on the label. For more information regarding HMB visit www.hmb.org.