What Is HMB?
HMB, or Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methylbutyrate Leucine, is a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine. The body produces HMB from dietary protein. It’s also in small amounts in certain foods. This includes catfish, grapefruit and alfalfa. The company Metabolic Technologies, Inc. has exclusively licensed HMB patents from The Iowa State University Research Foundation. In addition, MTI requires all manufactures and/or retailers to obtain a sub-license to use HMB in nutritional products.
MTI was founded in 1990 by university professors Steven L. Nissen, D.V.M., Ph.D., and Naji N. Abumrad, M.D. Ultimately their research led to the discovery of HMB and its effects on health and performance. MTI’s first product was HMB. AIt has seven years of safety and efficacy research in animals and humans. In 1995, EAS introduced to the national market. In fact, it actually was one of the early products EAS introduced, both as a stand-alone product and as a combo product with creatine (Betagen). At this same time, TwinLab engaged EAS in a “marketing war”, pushing their product KIC Fuel as a better choice.
Benefits Of HMB
HMB supplements help the process of muscle growth by minimizing the amount of muscle that is broken down after you train. Benefits include:
- Increased gains of lean muscle
- Prevents muscle catabolism
- Speeds up muscle repair and recovery times
- Increased VO2 max and endurance
HMB supplements help to slow down a process called proteolysis. This is the natural process of the breaking down of muscle tissue that occurs after intense physical activity such as training. Remember training is actually a catabolic event. Furthermore, taking HMB gives the body a head start on recovery by minimizing the amount of muscle breakdown and protein degradation after exercise. This means that your body stays in an anabolic state longer allowing for more muscle growth. Indeed, this area is currently popular with the use of newer product ideas such as intra-workout drinks – an exciting category! Yet, I haven’t seen HMB in any of them and this product can be considered a pioneer of this category.
This is one of those products with a ton of studies to back up it’s claims. Here I will list some examples of the evidence that’s out there:
Thomson, J.S., Watson, P.E., and D.S. Rowlands, 2009: Effects of nine weeks of beta-hydroxy-beta- methylbutyrate supplementation on strength and body composition in resistance trained men, J. Strength Cond. Res. 23:827-835
In this 9-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, HMB increased lean mass, decreased fat mass and resulted in a substantial increase in lower body strength.
Rowlands, D.S., and J.S. Thomson, 2009 Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate supplementation during resistance training on strength, body composition, and muscle damage in trained and untrained young men: a meta-analysis, J. Strength Cond. Res. 23:836-846
This recent meta-analysis (the process or technique of synthesizing research results by using various statistical methods to retrieve, select, and combine) was conducted on the effects of HMB in younger men participating in resistance-training programs. The data were broken into trained and untrained subject groups. The authors concluded that HMB supplementation resulted in clear overall increases in strength in men beginning a weight training program.
Wilson, G.J., J.M. Wilson, and A.H. Manninen, 2008 Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: A review, Nutr. Metab. (Lond) 5:1 This independent, peer-reviewed paper discusses the critical details of HMB studies and the variables affecting the results of these studies. Included is a review of the current research showing how HMB works (metabolic mechanisms). This paper concludes that collectively there is not only clinical data, but also mechanistic data supporting HMB’s effect on increasing muscle mass and strength.
Lamboley, C.R., D. Royer, and I.J. Dionne, 2007 Effects of ß-hydroxy-ß-methylbutyrate (HMB) on aerobic performance components and body composition in college students, Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab. 17:56-69 Placebo-controlled study in college students. HMB supplementation significantly increased maximal oxygen consumption.
In my research for this guide, I was impressed by the amount of and more importantly, the availability of the research.
HMB Supplements And Dosage
When choosing a HMB product, always look for the patent number 5,348,979 on the product label. Every licensed HMB product carries this patent number. HMB is available as a stand-alone product in tablets, capsules and powder. It comes combined with other products, most notably with creatine as a powder. In fact, this dates back to the early years of creatine being on the market. The recommended dosage is three grams per day, typically spaced over 3 servings a day. Should you decide to “customize” your dosage, research has shown that 38 mg per 2 pounds of body weight each day is ideal. I would, in fact, suggest a custom drink using this product. As stated above regarding the intra-workout category, I would add creatine and HMB to any existing intra-workout powder for improved effectiveness and results.
Another product its been added to is Redcon1 MOAB. This is one of the more effective natural supplements. If you haven’t used it, give it a shot!
As I’ve said before, imagine the impact on recovery if you can side-step the catabolic process that usually starts at the end of your workout! Not to mention, imagine the impact if you can side-step catabolism period! In addition, refer to the product label for specific dosage instructions.