Learn More About HMB

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1. What is HMB and where does it come from?

HMB is the acronym for beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate. It is a metabolite of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) of leucine, one of the body's essential amino acids. It is an anti-catabolic supplement that is one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements today!

Optimum Nutrition was the first company to bring HMB to the market. Since then, it has been written up in numerous health and fitness magazines, hundreds of newspapers, and it's been featured on dozens of TV news programs as an exciting, breakthrough supplement that might allow people to get better results faster from the time they spend exercising.

2. What does HMB do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

HMB has been shown to support the body's ability to minimize protein breakdown and damage to muscle cells, which can occur after intense resistance exercise. By reducing muscle tissue breakdown, HMB may tip the scales of protein turnover in favor of new muscle growth. HMB has a pronounced effect on decreasing the protein breakdown induced by resistance training along with increasing nitrogen retention by the body, resulting in a subsequent increase in lean muscle mass and strength.

Researchers are not completely certain how HMB works in the body. It appears that this amino acid metabolite supports the body's ability to minimize protein breakdown subsequent to stress such as intense exercise and it also may work to preserve the integrity of cell membranes. By minimizing protein breakdown, HMB, when combined with a resistance-training program, may cause an increase in muscle mass and strength. The exact mechanism behind HMB's effectiveness will have to be determined in future research.

Many of the world's athletes such as NFL great Shannon Sharpe use HMB with incredible results. New scientific studies are being conducted on this supplement which confirm its muscle building effects. Recently, a study showed (with athletes performing regular resistance training) that when taken at 3 grams per day, it produced a 300% greater increase in lean mass gain!

As long as individuals exercise, HMB may be beneficial for older as well as younger athletes. In fact, from a recent study published in the FASEB Journal [12.5 (1998) : A652], researchers concluded that HMB may indeed enhance the effects of modest exercise on the body composition of older adults. In this study with a group of older subjects (15 men and 16 women, mean age: 70+/-1 yrs.) participating in a 5-day/week exercise program, the group taking HMB experienced a decrease in bodyfat and an increase in lean body mass. Subjects participated in a three-day/week walking program and a two-day/week strength training program for eight weeks.

3. Who needs HMB and how much should be taken? Are there any side effects or symptoms of deficiency?

Basically anyone who wants to build and maintain lean muscle mass can benefit from supplementing with HMB. Deficiency is not an issue with HMB, and it is safe for men and women. HMB is recommended to be taken with meals and after training in doses of 3 to 5 grams daily.

We produce from .3 to 1 gram of HMB in our bodies per day. Also, HMB occurs naturally in various whole foods such as grapefruit and catfish. Thus HMB is not a drug, and studies to date suggest no adverse side effects.

Published with permission, original © 1998-2007.


Nissen, S. and R. Sharp. Effect of dietary supplements on lean mass and strength gains with resistance exercise: A meta-analysis. J. Appl. Physiol. 94:651-659. 2003.
Vukovich, M.D., N.B. Stubbs, and R.M. Bohlken. Body composition in 70-year-old adults responds to dietary ß-hydroxy-ß-methylbutyrate similarly to that of young adults. J. Nutr. 131:2049-2052. 2001.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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