Muscle in a Bottle: Do you get 3 wishes?
Ads for Ensure Muscle Health claim that this nutrition beverage helps counter the natural muscle loss that occurs with aging.
But before you get your hopes up and head to the store to stock up…let’s take a look at some research.
Its trademark “Revigor” ingredient is hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB) – say that five times fast! HMB is derived from the amino acid leucine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. In the form of proteins, amino acids comprise the second largest component (after water) of human muscles, cells and other tissues.
A review of data from nine studies, in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2009, found that HMB increased lower-body strength slightly in young men who lifted weights for five weeks. But it didn’t have a significant effect on upper-body strength or in trained weight lifters. Keep in mind, this study was performed in young men who lifted weights for five weeks. This evidence may not be conclusive for older adults, but it would be safe to say that older adults will see a diminished return on their efforts.
Here’s the kicker: to get the amount of HMB used in studies, you’d have to drink two bottles of Muscle Health a day, which would give you a total of 500 calories, 44 grams of sugar (11 teaspoons’ worth) and 480 milligrams of sodium (about a third of the sodium limit for most adults). That’s a pretty high-calorie way to get protein.
You can easily get the amount of protein in a serving of Muscle Health—with far fewer calories—by drinking 1½ cups of nonfat milk (165 calories) or eating a cup of nonfat or low-fat yogurt (130 to 140 calories) or two large eggs (145 calories). And if you eat a balanced diet, you don’t need a nutrient-fortified beverage.
So, if you’re going to place your hopes in a bottle, you’d be better off tracking down Aladdin and asking him for his lamp.
*Fitness is a large and diverse arena of information – MOST of it invalid or incomplete or ‘fadish’! For help navigating your health issues, please visit your doctor, then get in touch with a certified personal trainer.