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Lean Mass

Lean Mass is overall body mass after Fat Mass has been subtracted. It consists of organs, bone, the brain, water and contractile muscle; since changes in the first three do not occur often, changes in lean mass are assumed to either be muscle tissue, glycogen (energy storage) or water.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Feb 6, 2013
Last Updated:

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect lean mass
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Minor Moderate See all 13 studies
Some evidence that CLA can preserve lean mass during fat loss in an obese cohort of patients, but even in this subgroup the results are highly unreliable.
grade-a Minor Very High See all 20 studies
Does appear to have inherent lean mass building properties, but a large amount of research is confounded with water weight gains (difficult to assess potency).
grade-b Minor Moderate See all 5 studies
Colostrum, inherently due to being a dietary protein, appears to promote lean mass accrual. This is comparable to a similar dose of whey protein as the growth factors in colostrum do not appear to provide an additional benefit.
grade-b Minor Moderate See all 4 studies
Protein in general increases lean mass, but there is not a significant body of evidence to support whey protein as being more effective than other protein sources
grade-b - Very High See all 8 studies
Studies in trained and untrained persons, with or without physical exercise, have failed to find an increase in the rate of lean mass accrual relative to placebo.
grade-b - Very High See all 8 studies
Perhaps due to a lack of studies pairing DHEA with a prolonged resistance training program, there is no evidence to support DHEA supplementation to increase muscular or lean mass
grade-b - High See all 8 studies
No significant influences on lean body mass associated with HMB supplementation
grade-c Minor - See study
An increase in lean mass has been noted in persons with impaired glucose tolerance using L-arginine over a long period of time, where placebo experienced a decrease. It is unsure how this applies to otherwise healthy persons
grade-c Minor Very High See all 3 studies
Beta-alanine seems to have a hypertrophic effect, either inherently or through greater workload, but this effect does not appear overly potent.
grade-c Minor - See study
Somewhat effective (2lbs over 12 weeks relative to placebo) although somewhat confounded with the increase in bone mass, as lean mass is inclusive of bone and skeletal muscle.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
An increase in lean mass has been noted in elderly persons. This may not apply to lean healthy individuals, and no research assesses youth
grade-c Minor - See study
An increase in lean mass has been noted in the legs of soccer players to the degree of 0.4kg over 4 weeks; this study currently stands alone
grade-c
Minor
- See 2 studies
An increase in lean mass has been noted in dieting obese women relative to control (2,000IU) and a trend to reduce lean mass relative to control has been noted in exercising healthy persons (4,000IU); there appears to be potential for both effects with Vitamin D supplementation, but there is insufficient evidence to draw conclusions
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on lean mass in otherwise healthy trained men.
grade-c - - See study
No differences between ecdysteroids and placebo in improving lean mass accrual during a weight lifting program
grade-c - - See study
No demonstrated benefit to lean mass accrual in otherwise healthy trained men given a workout program
grade-c - Very High See all 3 studies
No significant influence on lean mass associated with fish oil supplementation
grade-c - - See study
Supplemental glutamine does not appear capable of increasing lean mass when paired with a weightlifting routine.
grade-c - - See study
No significant modifications in lean mass during weight loss with hoodia relative to placebo
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
No significant alterations in lean mass associated with licorice
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on lean mass has been noted with punicic acid supplementation
grade-c - Very High See all 3 studies
Insufficient evidence to support a consistent increase of lean mass associated with tribulus relative to placebo during training or in general.
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
In studies assessing lean mass, there are no apparent changes with supplementation of betaine.
grade-c - - See study
The increase in power output and IGF-1 seen with ursolic acid over 16 weeks was not accompanied by an increase in lean mass relative to control (resistance training was included).
grade-c - - See study
No interaction between velvet antler and lean mass accrual
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on lean mass detected with yohimbine ingestion
grade-d Minor - See study
One pilot study has noted an increase more than control when both eurycoma and control were paired with exercise
grade-d Minor - See study
An increase in lean mass relative to control (CLA) has been noted in obese menopausal women
grade-d - Very High See 2 studies
There was a slight trend to increase lean mass in otherwise sedentary persons over 30 days, but it failed to reach statistical significance.
grade-d - - See study
Lean mass does not appear to be increased in response to supplementation of cocoa flavanols
grade-d - - See study
grade-d - - See study
1 g/d for 4 months showed no effect in type 2 diabetic patients.