HMB, technically named "beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutryate" is a metabolite of the essential Amino Acid leucine. Found in Protein rich foods such as chicken, beef and fish, leucine is typically plentiful in the average person’s diet. HMB, however, is found in miniscule amounts. In fact, only 5% of leucine is converted into HMB, meaning that 20 to 50 grams of leucine would need to be consumed daily in order to reach gram levels of HMB – an extremely unrealistic, not to mention unhealthy, goal. While daily consumption of HMB in gram levels is by no means essential, scientific studies have revealed numerous positive side effects, with no negatives in sight. After gaining recognition within the bodybuilding scene in the 1990s, HMB has continued to increase in popularity well into the millennium. It is not hard to see why when examining the benefits.
First implemented by farmers to raise leaner cattle, HMB was soon adopted for human use once the benefits became clear. HMB assists in increasing lean body mass and strength, to Decrease Body Fat & muscle membrane damage plus prevent muscle catabolism1. In short, it keeps the body in an anabolic state for longer, thus decreasing muscle breakdown and speeding up muscle repair, which leads to a gain in lean muscle and strength. Bodybuilders aren’t the only beneficiaries. Athletes such as runners and cyclists who don’t necessarily want to Gain Weight will see an increase in V02 max (maximal oxygen consumption) – endurance capacity. Studies dating back to the 1950s have also revealed that HMB plays an important role in cholesterol synthesis, resulting in lower blood cholesterol. Results are able to be seen within 2 to 4 weeks. One recent study showed that athletes supplementing with 3 grams of HMB daily for 3 weeks gained three times more lean body mass and experienced strength increases two and a half times greater, than test individuals using the same Training Program who supplemented with a placebo2.
Small amounts of HMB are found naturally in foods such as catfish, alfalfa and some citrus fruits. It is also a natural component of mother’s milk. As it is found in such small amounts, it is basically impossible to see the benefits of HMB without supplementation. Depending on weight, 1.5 to 3 grams daily3 is an appropriate dosage. HMB should not be consumed in individual dosages of more than 1 gram. For example, someone taking 3 grams of HMB per day should split this into 3 dosages of 1 gram each. HMB stacks extremely well with creatine as well as other aminos including beta-alanine, BCAA's & l-glutamine. It can also be stacked with whey protein and most other supplements.
HMB Supplements are commonly presented & sold as Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods in Australia. HMB is not a sole source of nutrition and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme. Not suitable for children or pregnant women. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision. Always read the label prior to use.
1. Wilson GJ, Wilson JM, Manninen AH. (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.". Nutrition & Metabolism 5: 1.
2. Jówko E, Ostaszewski P, Jank M, Sacharuk J, Zieniewicz A, Wilczak J, Nissen S. ‘Creatine and beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) additively increase lean body mass and muscle strength during a weight-training program.’ Nutrition. 2001 Jul-Aug;17(7-8):558-66.
3. Zanchi NE, Gerlinger-Romero F, Guimarães-Ferreira L, de Siqueira Filho MA, Felitti V, Lira FS, Seelaender M, Lancha AH Jr. ‘HMB supplementation: clinical and athletic performance-related effects and mechanisms of action.’ Amino Acids. 2011 Apr;40(4):1015-25. Epub 2010 Jul 6.