Associate 2012-13

Ken Wilund

Kinesiology & Community Health

HMB Supplementation to Counteract Wasting in Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 13 percent of adults in the United States, and the number of patients is expected to double in the next thirty years. CKD patients suffer from a variety of co-morbid conditions that contribute to declines in muscle mass, strength, and functioning and significantly impair their health and quality of life.

Because reducing their nitrogen intake helps to preserve kidney function, CKD patients are often prescribed a low-protein/low-nitrogen diet – but this diet also contributes to a loss of muscle mass and strength. During his Center appointment, Professor Wilund will assess whether the supplement beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), an amino acid metabolite that does not contain nitrogen, can safely increase muscle mass in CKD patients.

Professor Wilund will conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with 30 patients diagnosed with advanced CKD (stages 3-5). At baseline and six months out, patients will be assessed in the following areas: anthropometric measures, body composition and bone density, muscle strength, physical performance, quality of life, and diet. He will then perform statistical analysis to determine whether the HMG group shows significant improvement in these areas compared to the baseline group.

From a public policy perspective, oral supplementation with HMB represents a low-cost, easy-to-administer treatment strategy that could potentially improve the physical functioning and quality of life for patients with advanced chronic kidney disease. Results from the study will help nephrologists determine if HMB supplementation should be included as a component of the standard care in their clinics.