BC30 may enhance muscle benefits of HMB during military training: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/ Wavebreakmedia
© iStock/ Wavebreakmedia

Related tags Inflammation

The muscle and anti-inflammatory benefits of HMB may be enhanced by combining the ingredient with the BC30 probiotic, says a new study with soldiers from the Israel Defense Force.

HMB, or beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine and has been widely studied for its effects on bolstering muscle synthesis and preventing muscle fiber breakdown.  A previous study by the same researchers​ found that HMB supplements at a dose of 3 grams per day for 23 days were associated with significantly lower levels of inflammatory markers, compared to placebo (Nutrition Research​, 2016, Vol. 36, pp. 553–563).

For the new study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology​, the researchers combined HMB calcium (CaHMB, Metabolic Technologies Inc.), a more stable and easily deliverable form, with Ganeden’s BC 30 (Bacillus coagulans​ GBI-30, 6086) strain, and found that the combination may be more beneficial than CaHMB alone in maintaining muscle integrity during intense military training.

“The results of this study provides further evidence that CaHMB supplementation may attenuate the inflammatory response to intense military training,” ​wrote researchers from from the University of Central Florida (USA), the Israel Defense Force (Israel), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel), and Soroka Medical Center (Israel).

“In addition, the results of this study also indicate that the combination of the probiotic ​Bacillus coagulans with CaHMB may be more beneficial than CaHMB alone, specifically for maintaining muscle integrity during intense military training. Although this benefit may be related to an enhanced rate of absorption, this will require additional research.”

Study population

Dr David Keller, VP of scientific operations at Ganeden, told NutraIngredients-USA that military personnel are an interesting study population. “They are all eating the same thing, they’re all exercising the same, they’re all sleeping the same amount. It’s a very controlled population.”

The new study adds to a growing body of science exploring how BC30 can work with other ingredients to produce a synergistic effect, said Dr Keller.

“We already know that BC30 can boost utilization of protein versus protein alone. That’s been shown with animal protein and a paper is coming out shortly showing the same with plant protein,” ​he explained. “HMB is another ingredient with a lot of benefits on its own, and if you take it with BC30 then you can get better results than with HMB alone.”

Study details

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Image © iStock

The researchers recruited 26 Israeli soldiers during 40-days of intense military training. The soldiers were randomly assigned to one of three groups: The first group consumed supplements containing CaHMB at a daily dose of 3 grams in combination with BC30 at a dose of one billion CFUs per day; the second group received only CaHMB at the same 3 gram per day dose; and third group did not receive any intervention and acted as the control group.

The data indicated that soldiers in the control group experienced significant increases in markers of inflammation, including IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-6, CX3CL1, and TNF-alpha, but these increases were blunted in both CaHMB groups.

Results also showed that increases in levels of the anti-inflammatory marker IL-10 were only observed in soldiers consuming the combination of CaHMB and BC30, compared to the control soldiers.

“IL-10 is considered to be an anti-inflammatory marker and has been suggested to be stimulated by elevations in IL-6, and/or by a down-regulation of IL-1b and TNF-alpha,” ​explained the researchers. “The pro-inflammatory response is generally thought to directly stimulate the anti-inflammatory response. However, if the pro-inflammatory cytokine response is attenuated this would also blunt the anti-inflammatory cytokine response as well. These contrasting responses are difficult to explain but is consistent with the complexity associated with the cytokine response to muscle damaging events.”

No significant changes were observed for markers of muscle damage, noted the researchers.

Interestingly, the data also showed that CaHMB + BC30 enhanced protection of muscle integrity greater than CaHMB alone.

Mechanism(s) of action

Blood samples indicated that HMB levels were higher for the combination of CaHMB and BC30 (51 nmol/L) than for the CaHMB alone (16 nmol/L) or control (3.3 nmol/L), which suggested that BC30 enhanced HMB absorption. As noted by Dr Keller, similar absorption enhancements have been reported for BC30 in combination with protein.

Shawn Baier, Chief Operating Officer of Metabolic Technologies Inc, told us that the new study provides further evidence that HMB attenuate the inflammatory response to intense training. It also further supports the use of HMB by athletes, those in an exercise regimen, and in the case of this study, those undergoing very intense (military) training.

So could we soon see products formulated with both ingredients? "Interest in new product development and innovative product offerings are likely to come from both the industry’s response to, as well as consumer interest in, this publication and additional research in this area,"​ said Baier.

Source: Journal of Applied Physiology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01116.2016
“The Combined Effect of ​Bacillus Coagulans GBI-30, 6086 and HMB Supplementation on Muscle Integrity and Cytokine Response during Intense Military Training”
Authors: Y. Gepner et al. 

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