HMB, or beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyric acid, is a natural supplement used to increase muscle mass. Protein is essential when building muscle, however, it’s also critical in order to maintain a healthy immune system and high energy levels.

Although you can consume protein in your diet, supplements provide an increased dose of amino acids, supporting bodybuilding goals. If you are looking to bulk up or simply source a greater intake of protein, HMB could help you reach your goals. It’s also said to improve overall recovery.

What is HMB?

HMB is a natural byproduct of the amino acid known as leucine. This amino acid is highly abundant in our muscles and is the branched chain amino acid most responsible for both protein synthesis and muscle growth. When we’re active, leucine begins to break down, forming HMB.

HMB is needed in order to protect and repair muscle tissue. When athletes train, they experience muscle damage, causing soreness. It’s been found that HMB not only builds muscle mass but also helps lessen the amount of damage experienced after intense training. Athletes and bodybuilders are able to gain muscle when taking HMB, by minimizing the amount of muscle that is broken down after an intense workout.

Since HMB helps reduce the overall breakdown of proteins within the body, this means more protein will be used for recovery and muscle regrowth. When weight training, this supplement can double the effectiveness of training so that individuals can reach their fitness goals much easier.


The Science Behind HMB

Through medical research, it’s been found that HMB slows the breakdown of muscle protein. This prevents muscle cell death based on a chemical process within the Ubiquitin pathway. For athletes who are looking to increase strength, HMB retains stronger muscles cells. For those who are looking to enhance endurance, these athletes benefit from efficient muscles that remain intact and healthy.

It’s also believed that HMB increases muscle protein production, which is then used in a chemical process through the m-TOR pathway. This allows muscles to rapidly change, becoming more energy efficient to enhance endurance. In strength training, it allows muscle cells to develop and grow more rapidly, generating more power.

Key Benefits of HMB

As mentioned, HMB is mainly taken in order to bulk up or improve the overall effectiveness of training. The greatest level of benefits are experienced when consumed close to a workout. By taking this supplement, you will:

  • Take part in more intense workouts
  • Improve performance and endurance levels
  • Shorten your recovery period
  • Boost energy levels
  • Build muscle while inhibiting muscle breakdown

While focusing on muscle building, HMB has been widely studied. In one study published in Nutrition, it was found that when HMB is combined with creatine, subjects increased muscle mass and gained strength.

HMB supplements seem to slow down the a process known as proteolysis, which is the natural breakdown of muscle tissue after intense training sessions. When you take HMB, you give your body a head start in terms of recovery. Not only do you reduce your risk of injury but you also allow for greater muscle growth.

Other studies have supported these findings, with a 2008 review reporting that HMB produces positive effects on lean body composition, strength, and reduce soreness. These findings were supported in both trained athletes and untrained athletes.

Not only does HMB benefit muscle mass recovery, but it’s also believed to benefit cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well. These findings were published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, implying that HMB could be a useful tool when preventing stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Is HMB Safe?

At this time, there does not appear to be any significant side effects. This supplement is believed to be safe when taken within recommended doses. In nine separate studies, only positive effects were found regarding muscle mass, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body fat.

There are also no reported drug interactions, however, it’s possible that unknown interactions may occur. To reduce your risk of complications, please speak with your doctor before taking HMB.

Recommended Dosage

Supplementing with HMB is recommended for anyone trying to build muscle mass. The recommended daily dose ranges between 1 to 3 grams, for the main purpose of reducing the loss of muscle mass. In comparison to leucine, HMB is believed to be twenty times more potent for this purpose.

When aiming to increase muscle protein synthesis, HMB and leucine are fairly equal in term of dosage. Whenever planning on taking HMB and working out, consume your supplement 30 to 45 minutes prior to your training session.
HMB supplements are also commonly taken with whey protein, creatine, and glutamine. Creatine, for example, will offer your greater power so that your muscles can work harder while HMB minimizes breakdown.