Walk through any supplement store and you'll be swarmed by brightly coloured labels claiming to contain the most potent muscle builders known to man. The problem is that most of these claims are just hyped up advertising. Leave it to science to weed out the true muscle builders from the colourful powder that doesn't do much.
One ingredient that has been getting a lot of attention in the fitness community is beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, more commonly known as HMB. Let's take a look at what HMB is and how it may the key to unlocking your muscle building potential.
What is HMB?
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate is a metabolite of the essential amino acid, Leucine. This means that once Leucine is ingested and broken down, HMB is the end result.
HMB has received a lot of attention recently due to its implications for lean muscle tissue. Originally utilized as a way to prevent muscle catabolism for people with degenerative diseases such as AIDS, HMB has now become a serious muscle building supplement contender in the fitness industry.
The Benefits of HMB
- The benefit that first shined the spotlight on HMB is its ability to help protect lean muscle tissue. Studies have demonstrated that HMB is able to decrease cortisol levels. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone, which means it breaks down protein and muscle tissue when left unchecked. What's more, HMB may be able to boost protein synthesis, which helps in the development of lean muscle tissue. (1-3)
Build More Muscle
- Continuing with this idea of muscle building, HMB may be one of the best legal and proven supplements to support muscle building. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle tissue. HMB comes from the amino acid Leucine, which has been the subject of a number of studies citing it as an effective ingredient for muscle building. HMB not only blocks catabolic breakdown of muscle tissue but it also promotes protein synthesis. As mentioned above, protein synthesis plays an important role in muscle development. Several studies have concluded that subjects supplementing with HMB saw greater muscle development than their placebo-focused peers. (1-3)
- A study published in European Journal of Applied Physiology tested subjects on the bench press, squat, deadlift, and vertical jump. Subjects were provided with HMB supplementation 12 weeks in combination with a well-designed training program. Subjects saw a significant increase in total body strength and power across the board. (1-3)
How Much HMB Should I Take?
While there is no scientifically confirmed dosage, the industry standard seems to be 3 grams per day. Medical websites such as WebMD recommend 3 grams per day for 8 weeks then cycling off the supplement for 3 to 4 weeks.
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- Slater GJ, Jenkins D. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation and the promotion of muscle growth and strength. Sports Med. 2000 Aug;30(2):105-16.
- Wilson, Gabriel J, Jacob M Wilson, and Anssi H Manninen. 'Effects of Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB) on Exercise Performance and Body Composition across Varying Levels of Age, Sex, and Training Experience: A Review.' Nutrition & Metabolism 5 (2008): 1. PMC. Web. 2 Aug. 2017.
- Wilson JM, Lowery RP, Joy JM, Andersen JC, Wilson SM, Stout JR, Duncan N, Fuller JC, Baier SM, Naimo MA, Rathmacher J. The effects of 12 weeks of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate free acid supplementation on muscle mass, strength, and power in resistance-trained individuals: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Jun;114(6):1217-27. doi: 10.1007/s00421-014-2854-5. Epub 2014 Mar 6.