So how does the elixir work?

An over-the-counter supplement containing ß-hydroxy ß-methylbutyrate (HMB), arginine, and glutamine has a variety of potential health benefits that could greatly help people living with HIV/AIDS.

MTI BioTech of Iowa State University Research Park in Ames, IA, manufactures the orange-flavored drink, called Juven, and provides this guide to its ingredients:

• HMB: This biochemical is produced naturally in the body from proteins containing the amino acid leucine.

Earlier studies have shown evidence that HMB greatly increases the muscle-building and fat-reducing effects of resistance training in healthy men and women, and that it may be a critical element for increasing and preserving muscle size and function. It also may offer benefits to the cardiovascular system and accelerate fat loss while maintaining lean body mass during periods of caloric restriction.

Research also suggests HMB can support the body’s natural immune system function during times of stress.

• Arginine: This is a semi-essential amino acid that can be used in protein synthesis and biosynthesis of other amino acids and plays a key part in elimination of excess protein nitrogen in the urea cycle.

Studies have shown that there is a greater demand for arginine during anabolism or growth, and researchers theorize that the demand for arginine may increase during periods of stress, such as injury and illness.

Also, arginine may increase lymphocyte response to immune system stimulation, especially in cancer, and it may enhance wound healing by increasing the amount of collagen deposited into the wound.

Research also shows that arginine may increase the total protein content at the wound site.

Glutamine: Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid and can be synthesized by nearly all tissues. It’s the primary carrier of nitrogen between tissues and organs in the human body.

The intestinal tissues use glutamine as a primary energy source rather than glucose, and it’s needed to maintain muscle function and size.

Research suggests that during periods of excessive cellular turnover, such as tumor progression and recovery from trauma and infection, there tends to be a depletion of muscle glutamine stores, so a supplement of glutamine may be necessary.

For more information, contact MTI BioTech Inc., Iowa State University Research Park, 2625 North Loop Drive, Suite 2150, Ames, IA 50010; telephone: (877) 465-8836; Web site: