Also known as: Beta-Hydroxy Beta-methylbutyrate, Calcium B-Hydroxy B-Methylbutyrate
Leucine metabolite that enhances workout recovery, lean mass gains, and strength.
What Is It?
HMB, or Beta-Hydroxy Beta-methylbutyrate, is an active metabolite of Leucine made from the breakdown of the branched-chain amino acid Leucine. HMB is synthesized in our body from the proteins in our diet and is also consumed in small amounts from the foods we eat. Roughly 5% of dietary leucine consumed is converted to HMB.
What Does It Do?
It's long been known that BCAA Leucine is the main catalyst for stimulating muscle protein synthesis in the body. In line with this, it also supports increased lean mass gains, strength, as well as reduce body fat.
However, there's another part to muscle building that lifters and athletes need to be concerned with, muscle proteolysis. Proteolysis is the process by which proteins are broken down into their constituent parts. Basically, when engaged in vigorous, high intensity exercise, your muscles are broken down and get weaker. Leucine helps prevent this, but only when used it much greater doses than typically included in sports supplements.
Endless trials and studies led to researchers determining that it was actually a metabolite of leucine that prevented proteolysis. This led to the eventual discovery of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, better known as HMB, which put a stop to proteolysis and helped conserve lean muscle mass.
Consuming HMB prior to exercise gives the body a head start on muscle recovery by limiting the amount of muscle breakdown and protein degradation that occurs during and after exercise. Basically, your body stays in an anabolic (muscle-building) state longer which allows for greater muscle growth and gains.
Two primary groups stand to benefit greatly from HMB supplementation: athletes and weight lifters. During long sporting events, such as marathons, an athlete's muscles are constantly in use and subject to a tremendous amount of wear and tear. Couple this with the inability to stop mid-race and consume food and your muscles are headed for definite catabolism. Likewise, those hitting the weights regularly are constantly breaking down muscle fibers in an effort to get them stronger and bigger.
HMB supplementation prevents the body from breaking down muscle for fuel, allowing glycogen and fat stores to be used for energy, which are the body's preferred energy sources anyway. All of these factors result in more lean mass retained, priming the body for greater gains ahead.
Benefits of HMB
Increased lean muscle gains
Prevents muscle catabolism
Speeds up muscle repair and recovery
Decreases body fat
Reduces blood cholesterol levels
Increases VO2 max and endurance
Studies involving HMB tends to be in the dosage range of 1-3g daily. This amount correlates with reduced muscle mass loss documented in several clinical trials. When taken pre workout, it's best to consume HMB 30-45 minutes prior to exercise.
Gaining muscle is a chore in and of itself. You're focused on getting more reps, adding weight to the bar, and eating enough to fuel your body properly. The last thing you need to be worried about is trying to prevent the very thing you're working against (muscle loss).
HMB provides the means to stop protein breakdown in its tracks and keep your body in a decidedly pro-anabolic state. Coupled with Leucine and the other BCAAs, means you'll halt protein breakdown and stimulate protein synthesis leaving nothing in your way as you strive to make gains.