Update 7/30/19. When I first heard about Ensure Clinical Strength, also called Ensure Revigor and Ensure Muscle Health, I was intrigued. I was intrigued because Ensure Muscle Health contains a very interesting ingredient called HMB, which several studies have shown can reduce muscle tissue breakdown. Because many people (but not all) drink Ensure because they are either older and have a poor appetite, or are sick and can't eat much, to me, the addition of HMB sounded like such a win-win combination. In this review, let's take a look at HMB and then Ensure Muscle Health with HMB so you can get a better idea of it's right for you.
What is HMB?
HMB stands for beta hydroxy betamethyl buterate.
Small amounts of HMB are naturally created when we breakdown the amino acid leucine. So, you are making HMB all the time, just not very much of it. Leucine is one of the branch chain amino acids and is found in any “any food that had a mother” such as chicken, fish, steak, etc.
Studies show that HMB may help reduce muscle protein breakdown. As such, HMB was at one time popular among bodybuilders. Athletes however quickly stopped using this supplement after research started to show HMB worked best in beginners – not experienced weight lifters.
This fact is what made adding HMB to Ensure such an interesting idea to me. Most older adults and sick folks don't exercise very much – if at all. In theory, they would be prime candidates to benefit from HMB supplements.
People who have cancer, HIV and other serious illnesses often experience a muscle-wasting disease called cachexia. Research has shown that HMB might help reverse cachexia in some people when used in conjunction with the amino acids, arginine, and glutamine.
HMB can also be found on Amazon as a stand-alone supplement, for those who want to just take it without Ensure.
What's in Ensure Clinical Strength?
The Nutrition Facts Label for Ensure Revigor tells us it contains the following ingredients:
|Serving size||1 bottle ( 8 oz)||Percent of daily value|
|Calories from fat||100|
|Total fat||11 grams||
|Saturated fat||1 gram||
|Polyunsaturated fat||4 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat||6 grams|
|Total carbs||51 grams||
|Dietary fiber||3 grams||
Notice Ensure has 250 calories. When I purchased Ensure for this review, my bottles said 350 calories. Thanks to one of the readers in the comments, I was alerted to the change to 250 calories.
While the label does not say how much HMB is in Ensure Muscle Health, I called Abbott Labs, the maker of Ensure and asked them. They told me that each bottle contains 1.5 grams of HMB. They recommend people use 2 bottles a day, which would give people a total of 3 grams of HMB. 3 grams of HMB is what has been used in many clinical studies to have positive effects.
The studies of HMB I mentioned above found that 3 grams of HMB worked best. This is why Abbott Labs recommends drinking 2 bottles of Ensure Revigor per day – to get the maximum effect of HMB.
Why Do They Call It Revigor?
To me, revigor sounds like the word reinvigorate. In other words, drinking Revigor will reinvigorate you. It's a catchy name.
Other Effects of HMB?
While most of the clinical research on HMB has been directed at testing how it might help decrease muscle breakdown, other studies have hinted that it may help lower cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. This is preliminary research only and will remain this way until other studies replicate these findings.
HMB Side Effects
HMB appears to be safe. No study to my knowledge has shown any negative side effects. That said, if you take any medicine (blood thinners etc), talk to your pharmacist and doctor.
What Does “Clinical Strength” Mean?
Since two bottles contain 3 grams of HMB – the amount used in clinical studies – I understand why they would call it clinical strength. And, its good marketing too.
Who Might Ensure Revigor Help?
I believe Ensure Revigor is probably best for people who:
1. Are older and do not exercise
2. Are older and just starting to exercise
3. Those who have cancer, HIV or other serious health issues
4. Anyone experiencing muscle-wasting conditions
Can You Take Ensure But Not Exercise?
Exercise has many benefits. Any physical activity you can do will help HMB work better.
Why Don't They Make Revigor Ensure Any More?
I have no idea. Ensure Revigor is no longer listed on the Abbott Labs website. When I called Abbott Labs, I was told it was a company decision to stop making Revigor. As an alternative they told me to look at Ensure High Protein. This version does not contain HMB.
Ensure Revigor: Closing Thoughts
I was saddened Abbott Labs no longer makes Ensure Revigor. It sounded like a good addition to the Ensure line up. I wish it was around when my 104-year-old grandmother was still alive. That said, Ensure is still a fine product and for those who want to add HMB to their shakes, this is possible. HMB comes in both powder and capsules. For those who don't like swallowing capsules, you can open them up and add them to food or any shake you like to drink.