Does HMB offer protection against cirrhosis, kidney damage, enlarged heart and dementia?
Supplementation with the free version of HMB might perhaps offer some protection against cirrhosis of the liver, kidney damage, heart failure and dementia. We, the overconfident but ignorant compilers of this free webzine, deduce this from a human study that sports scientists at the University of Central Florida published in Growth Hormone & IGF Research. According to the study, HMB reduces the concentration of the transport protein IGFBP-7 in the blood. But whether this reduction is enough to have an effect? It's likely to be extremely modest...
The researchers gave a dozen elite-trained soldiers 3 g HMB Free Acid every day for 23 days, and they gave another dozen soldiers a placebo. At the end of the supplementation period the soldiers underwent a heavy training session, complete with sleep deprivation, marching with equipment and no doubt a sergeant capable of producing a respectable amount of decibels.
The researchers analysed the soldiers' blood before and after the supplementation took place.
The HMB supplementation had no effect on the concentration of IGF-1 in the soldiers' blood. Nor did it have an effect on the concentration of the IGF binding proteins IGFBP-1, IGFBP-2, IGFBP-3, IGFBP-4, IGFBP-5 and IGFBP-6. But HMB did result in a modest but statistically significant reduction in the concentration of IGFBP-7.
The researchers couldn't give an indication of the health effect of a decrease in the IGFBP-7 level. Nothing is known about the role of IGFBP-7 in stress, or muscle build up and breakdown.
"Although the results of this study do not support the influence of HMB supplementation on circulating concentrations of IGF-1 or IGFBPs-1-6 during high intensity military training, it does present initial evidence that it may lower circulating IGFBP-7 concentrations," the researchers wrote. "This may provide some indication of a reduced stress response, but further investigation on the physiological role of IGFBP-7 and military training is needed."
More on IGFB-7
IGFBP-7 is hip in biomedical science.
IGFBP-7 seems to speed up cirrhosis of the liver [Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Jul;28(7):762-72.], so substances that might lower IGFBP-7 levels are of interest to patients whose disease is at an advanced stage. The same substances may also be useful for cardiologists, nephrologists, diabetologists and neurologists. Cardiologists find less heart failure and heart enlargement in people with relatively low levels of IGFBP-7 in their blood. [BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2016 Oct 21;16(1):199.] [Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2017 Feb 23;16(1):28.] Nephrologists regard a high concentration of IGFBP-7 in the blood as an indicator of kidney damage. [PLoS One. 2015 Mar 23;10(3):e0120863.] In epidemiological studies a low concentration of IGFBP-7 in the blood has been shown to offer protection against type-2 diabetes [Sci Rep. 2015 May 18;5:10227.], and animal studies have suggested to neurologists that IGFBP-7-inhibitors may help to prevent dementia or even cure it. [Neurobiol Dis. 2014 Feb;62:135-43.]
A reduction in the concentration of IGFBP-7 may also have less attractive effects, however. IGFBP-7 inhibits breast cancer cells [Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jun;133(2):563-73.], and in fruit flies the secretion of IGFBP-7 by the muscles has an age-delaying effect. [Cell. 2013 Oct 24;155(3):699-712.]
It's all fascinating stuff, but we wonder whether people who use HMB should take any notice of all the research. The effects of HMB on the concentration of IGFBP-7 are very very modest indeed.
The study was financed by Metabolic Technologies. That's the company of the researchers who discovered the anabolic effects of HMB. Most patents for the use of HMB are filed in the name of Metabolic Technologies.
Growth Horm IGF Res. 2017 Feb;32:55-9.
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