Body Composition in 70-Year-Old Adults Responds to Dietary β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate Similarly to That of Young Adults

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Studies in young adults have demonstrated that β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) can increase gains in strength and fat-free mass during a progressive resistance-training program. The purpose of this study was to determine whether HMB would similarly benefit 70-y-old adults undergoing a 5 d/wk exercise program. Thirty-one men (n = 15) and women (n = 16) (70 ± 1 y) were randomly assigned in a double-blind study to receive either capsules containing a placebo or Ca-HMB (3 g/d) for the 8-wk study. Skin fold estimations of body composition as well as computerized tomography (CT) and dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans were measured before the study and immediately after the 8-wk training program. HMB supplementation tended to increase fat-free mass gain (HMB, 0.8 ± 0.4 kg; placebo, −0.2 ± 0.3 kg; treatment × time, P = 0.08). Furthermore, HMB supplementation increased the percentage of body fat loss (skin fold: HMB, −0.66 ± 0.23%; placebo, −0.03 ± 0.21%; P = 0.05) compared with the placebo group. CT scans also indicated a greater decrease in the percentage of body fat with HMB supplementation (P < 0.05). In conclusion, changes in body composition can be accomplished in 70-y-old adults participating in a strength training program, as previously demonstrated in young adults, when HMB is supplemented daily.

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The Journal of Nutrition



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The American Society for Nutritional Sciences