We have several doubts and questions when it comes to supplements. Is it really worth it? Do they work? HMB is no exemption. Since it rose to popularity in the early 1990s, people had high hopes for this type of supplement. They predicted that HMB would be the next big thing.
But does HMB really deserve all this hype?
This article will show you everything you need to know about this supplement and see if it’s really worth every dollar.
HMB 101: What exactly is it?
HMB stands for Hydroxymethylbutyrate. This chemical is a product of your body’s breaking down of an amino acid called leucine.
Arginine, glutamine, and leucine are amino acids that play an important role in the ability of your body to recover from high physical activity. Because of these amino acids, there is a reduction in the breakdown of your muscle cells after a long period of strength training and intense activity.
Leucine, in particular, give a huge contribution when it comes to exercise recovery, insulin action, glucose homeostasis, and protein metabolism. HMB is leucine’s metabolite that aids in the reduction of protein breakdown. As a result, you retain your muscle strength and improve your body composition.
In summary, using HMB supplements does not just decrease muscle protein breakdown. It also helps in increasing lean body mass and improving overall body composition. Not to mention it also helps increase your endurance and strength. As a result, you get the maximum results of your workout.
HMB 101: How it is sourced
There are 3 ways that you can get your dose of HMB – your body, diet, and supplement.
Your body can produce HMB daily. When you consume food rich in protein, your body breaks down the amino acid leucine found in this food. As a result, HMB is produced. Only about 5% of leucine is converted into HMB.
Another source of HMB is through our diet. Foods such as fish, meat, eggs, and milk are rich in amino acid leucine. This amino acid is needed to produce HMB. More HMB can be produced when you eat more foods that are rich in leucine levels.
Lastly, you can take HMB supplements along with your diet. Taking 3g/day of HMB supplements can improve your training performance. HMB supplements come in two forms:
- Tablets – each capsule is generally equivalent to around 1g of serving. You can take 3 capsules a day to meet your daily recommended dosage of around 3g per day. Though you can take this supplement any time of the day, pre-workout is the best time to take it.
- Powder – most of the HMB powder is flavorless. You can mix it with a fruit juice to have an enjoyable and refreshing beverage. Just like with the tablets, your HMB powder consumption may vary on your workout schedule.
HMB 101: Its Importance in BodyBuilding
Over the years, more research has been made to test the impact of HMB on endurance performance. This specific research has shown that taking HMB supplementation can increase both the athlete’s muscle and strength during strength training. As a result, HMB has cemented its reputation as one of the best sports supplement.
Here’s how HMB supplements are important in your bodybuilding journey:
It aids in fat reduction and muscle maintenance
HMB has been consistent in maintaining muscle mass across a number of different situations. This includes inactivity through injury, aging, caloric restriction, and even disease conditions. More importantly, it maintains muscle mass during endurance training.
HMB is important when it comes to the maintenance of your composition. This is especially true during higher levels of training volume where there is difficulty in maintaining caloric intake and body weight.
It aids in muscle recovery and helps you put in more miles
A study conducted by the University of Connecticut involved runners who are taking either HMB or a placebo in a course of 12 weeks. The result of the study showed that muscle damage was significantly lower in the group that was taking HMB. Participants also reported that they experienced less soreness and had maintained strength for a longer period of time.
Less muscle damage is important for bodybuilders. This simply means that you don’t need much recovery time in between your workout sessions. As a result, you can have more efficient and frequent training sessions.
It helps in the improvement of endurance performance
Research conducted at Sherbrooke University shown that HMB aids in the improvement of aerobic capacity in rowers, cyclists, and runners.
HMB 101: Other Health Benefits
Aside from its importance in bodybuilding, HMB is also effective for:
- Age-related muscle loss
- Increasing muscle and body weight in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Muscle strength
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Foot ulcers from diabetes
- Disease-related weight loss
- Diseases of the heart and blood vessels
- Skin rash from radiation therapy for cancer
HMB 101: Can it be harmful?
HMB is generally safe for most people. You should take it by mouth and in the short-term only. Follow the instructions on the label and you should not exceed 3 grams per day.
There are no reliable resources that can point out HMB is harmful to pregnant and breastfeeding women. But to be on the safe side, avoid taking this supplement.
HMB 101: Other Interesting Facts
- HMB generally tastes bland so it is often mixed with juices like orange or grape. It dissolves in liquid easily and gets absorbed in the body fast.
- HMB can be expensive and difficult to make. Because of this, you may find a lot of low quality and even fraudulent products on the market.
- The effect of HMB is reduced if you’re not training hard. You will get the maximum benefit when you are pushing your body to its limits.
If your goal is to improve performance and gain muscle quickly, then HMB supplement is definitely a worth spend. Just like with other supplements, you have to partner it with proper diet and workout to get its maximum benefit. After all, bodybuilding is a holistic approach that involves proper training, diet, and supplementation.
McNight, C. (n.d.). Benefits & Side Effects of HMB. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/398930-benefits-side-effects-of-hmb/
L’Heureux, A. (n.d.). HMB: Muscle-Builder or Waste of Money?. Retrieved from https://life.spartan.com/post/hmb-supplement-lean-muscle-mass
What is HMB (and why add Creatine?). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blonyx.com/pages/what-is-hmb
HYDROXYMETHYLBUTYRATE. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-45/hydroxymethylbutyrate