This study tested a mixture of arginine, glutamine, and HMB in rats subjected to colon surgery and found that the group receiving this treatment healed faster than the control group: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24494473
Finally, a study on humans. This was a randomized controlled trial with diabetic patients who had foot ulcers. The conclusion states:
While no differences in healing were identified with supplementation in non-ischaemic patients or those with normal albumin, addition of arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate as an adjunct to standard of care may improve healing of diabetic foot ulcers in patients with risk of poor limb perfusion and/or low albumin levels. Further investigation involving arginine, glutamine and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate in these high-risk subgroups might prove clinically valuable. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24867069
This study also used a mixture of those same 3 in a randomized placebo controlled study on diabetics with ulcers. The conclusion:
The use of specialised amino acid does not appear to reduce wound size and PUSH scores but may improve tissue viability after 2 weeks. Further confirmation on a larger scale is required to determine the benefits of supplementing additional HMB, arginine and glutamine in patients with pressure ulcers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080599
So, as far as wound healing goes, it's inconclusive how well HMB works. In the articles I'm finding, it seems that HMB is always in a mixture with arginine and glutamine. And I found this article, which uses arginine only in human patients and found an increase in healing after surgery. Their conclusion:
In parallel, arginine supplementation at both doses increased lymphocyte mitogenesis in response to phytohemagglutinin and concanavalin A. The data suggest that arginine may be of clinical benefit in improving wound healing and immune responses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2382229
In this randomized study comparing the same mixture to standard nutritional care in diabetics with ulcers concluded:
The use of specialised amino acid does not appear to reduce wound size and PUSH scores but may improve tissue viability after 2 weeks. Further confirmation on a larger scale is required to determine the benefits of supplementing additional HMB, arginine and glutamine in patients with pressure ulcers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24810310
It seems like a majority of the studies done on wound healing are either on mice or diabetics with ulcers (which may not necessarily apply to general wound healing in human, but who knows?)
Overall, the results are inconsistent, though there seems to be some kind of improvement with a mixture of glutamine, arginine and HMB. One article mentioned improvement with arginine alone. So I guess the conclusion is that it's probably best to go with a mixture (or at least arginine vs. HMB alone).
This double-blind study used three groups of people: healthy males, HIV patients with AIDS-related weight loss, and cancer patients with weight loss. The results:
Across the 3 studies, HMB, arginine, and glutamine supplementation was not associated with any adverse indicators of health. The only significant changes noted were positive indicators of health status. HMB, arginine, and glutamine supplementation was associated with an improvement in emotional profile (p = .05), a decreased feeling of weakness (p = .03), and increased red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, lymphocytes, and eosinophils (p < .05) when compared with placebo-supplemented subjects. Blood creatinine levels were not changed. However, blood urea nitrogen increased (p = .01) with HMB, arginine, and glutamine supplementation, which was possibly caused by the additional nitrogen consumed or to the fact that ureagenesis is influenced by arginine and glutamine supplementation.
CONCLUSION: These results show that HMB, arginine, and glutamine can be safely used to treat muscle wasting associated with AIDS and cancer.
I could post more studies (and maybe later I will) but so far it looks to me like HMB is probably a good thing to take, at least while not very physically active. The main problem I see is in evaluating whether it's working or not.
Muscle loss is a really gradual thing, so I'm not sure how to reasonably compare myself now to how I'll be in a year. Plus, since I'll have no control, there's no way to know if I'll be better off than taking nothing.
However, since it's about $6/month supply, I think it's probably worth taking and giving it the benefit of doubt. I'm not sure what other people think about this.
Also, [USER=114]@dannybex , you mentioned that you now have a muscle wasting issue, and @Violeta , you were also asking on another thread about ways to stop muscle wasting - have either of you tried this?[/USER]
@dannybex , so far, so good. I think with HMB it will be difficult to gauge (at least on a short term basis) how well it's working, because how do you tell if you have less wasting, especially without a control, right? However, I did notice something really interesting that I think is mostly due to the HMB.
About 1.5 weeks ago, I decided to go back to the gym to do some weightlifting for the first time in years. I just spontaneously had this strong urge to do it in a moment where I was feeling decent. At that point, I hadn't been taking the HMB consistently, I would take it one day and then forget for a few days. That first time at the gym, I used VERY light weights compared to what I used to use, but even still, I knew I'd be very sore afterwards (as I always was the first time returning to the gym). I'm pretty sure I did not take HMB that day. And, in fact, I was quite sore for a good 4-5 days.
Then, I kicked myself for not taking the HMB regularly, I got back into the routine of making my HMB cocktail and slowly sipping it throughout the day, and when I went back to the gym the 2nd time, I took HMB and BCAAs just before going. I expected to again be really sore for another few days, since in the past it always took me about 3 sessions before I'd stop getting muscle soreness that would last for days, but this time, after about 2 hours, I realized I had no soreness AT ALL.
Now, you might assume this was due to the BCAAs, except that in the past, I took BCAAs a lot and they NEVER reduced my recovery time AT ALL. So I don't know why they would suddenly start doing that now. I have a very strong feeling, therefore, that it was either the HMB (or possibly the combination of HMB and BCAAs) that drastically reduced my recovery time.
I haven't yet gone back to the gym a 3rd time yet (I'm trying to take it really slowly) but I have been walking almost every day for 20-30 minutes. About 2 weeks ago (during a period when I'd been taking the HMB for a few days in a row) I noticed that walking became easier - I was no longer dragging by the end of the walk (which was pretty common). In fact, one day, I walked three times, 20, 30, and 20 minutes each, and felt like I could have done more. I don't know if this was due to the HMB, but it seemed to coincide. Since HMB supposedly increases blood flow to the muscles, it makes sense that it could be responsible for the positive effects I'm seeing. Yesterday, I walked 30 minutes, but I was not feeling great at the end. However, it was also 90+ degrees and I have a feeling my issue was due to low blood pressure, because I was feeling lightheaded and a bit sick, but I wasn't 'dragging' - my legs felt ok.
So, at this point, I'm feeling pretty motivated to continue with the HMB, because it seems like it's actually doing something, which also hopefully means its having some effect on reduction of muscle wasting. I'll post another update in awhile.