For many people, HMB has never been something on their radar, especially when it comes to workouts.
We often hear about things like protein, creatine, beta-alanine, and other ingredients that are added to workout supplements to boost muscle growth, reduce muscle protein breakdown, and shed fat, but not much about HMB.
It’s becoming one of the fastest-growing supplements in the health and fitness world because of the outstanding benefits it can provide.
But for those of you that know little about it, here’s your opportunity to learn.
What is HMB?
HMB, or beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, is a compound produced in the body as a by-product of the breakdown of the amino acid leucine.
It’s attracted attention for the last twenty years for its anti-catabolic action, helping athletes to increase workload, reduce or repair muscle damage, and improve muscle mass 1. These benefits may be connected to the anti-proteolytic effect of HMB.
You may be wondering: since HMB is a by-product of leucine, can’t I just take leucine?
Leucine is an excellent amino acid to supplement muscle growth due to its role as an anti-catabolic compound and protein metabolism regulator. High doses of leucine can help to prevent muscle proteolysis, while low doses can enhance muscle protein synthesis 2. The problem with relying on leucine for HMB is this:
Roughly 80% of leucine is used for protein synthesis, while the remaining 20% is converted to the metabolite a-ketoisocaproate (a-KIC) and HMB, with HMB comprising only about 5% of that 2.
As a sole amino acid supplement, leucine is great, but to get in HMB, taking a pure HMB supplement is much more effective.
The Benefits of HMB
Because HMB has such potent effects on strength gains, muscle mass, and exercise performance, it should form part of your daily supplements intake.
Here’s why HMB should be part of your stack:
It Reduces Muscle Breakdown
HMB has been shown to stimulate protein synthesis via a specific pathway called mTOR, which plays a central regulatory role in metabolism, specifically function of the liver, muscles, adipose tissue, and the brain 3.
Many of the benefits of HMB on decreasing protein degradation are associated with stimulation of mRNA translation, myogenic (muscle) cell proliferation, and protein synthesis, along with an expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH) 3.
As such, HMB may stimulate protein synthesis through influencing levels of IGF-1 and GH, as well as reducing levels of 3-MH, an indicator of muscle protein breakdown.
It Boosts Energy Levels
The mechanisms behind why HMB may increase energy levels is poorly understood, but research suggests it may have something to do with the following 4, 5:
- Improving fatty acid oxidation
- Upregulating AMPK, a molecule that plays a role in energy homeostasis by activating glucose and fatty acid uptake and oxidation when cellular energy is low.
- Improving the activity of Sirt1 and Sirt3 in adipocytes and skeletal muscle cells; Sirt1 and Sirt3 are NAD+-dependent deacetylases that increase cellular energy stores and maintain cellular energy homeostasis
Together, these proteins improve mitochondrial biogenesis, fat oxidation, and energy metabolism.
It Decreases Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is one of those hormones that is super beneficial for the most part, but when chronically high, can wreak havoc on nearly every body function—digestion, sleep, recovery, hormonal balance, you name it, it’s probably affected in some way by cortisol.
If you follow an intermittent fasting (IF) diet or like to train in a fasted state, HMB should definitely be in your stack.
While IF often elicits many benefits in terms of weight loss and markers of health, restricting food intake for prolonged periods can drive cortisol levels up and put a screeching halt to any anabolic progress.
What’s interesting, though, is that taking HMB in a fasted state may help to blunt the effects of cortisol release by up to 32% 6.
In one study, researchers looked at the effects of HMB supplementation on muscle breakdown, cortisol release, and resting energy expenditure (REE) during a period of acute fasting.
Results showed that aside from decreasing cortisol levels, male’s testosterone to cortisol ratio increased by a whopping 162% with 24 hours of fasting and HMB supplementation 6; this shows one’s state of anabolism, and these results appear to be primarily due to reductions in cortisol.
When To Take HMB
The common misconception about any “workout supplement” is that you should only take them on days you’re training.
While that is partially true for things like pre-workouts, creatine, and the like, HMB is a bit different.
Because of its versatility, HMB is a fantastic addition to your daily supplement regime, even on off-days.
Starting a new training program can be an especially good time to throw in HMB. That’s because you typically feel more muscle soreness post-workout than you usually would because muscle fibers experience a greater microtrauma with a new program.
If your primary goal is to add size, the last thing you want to do is willingly compromise all the hard work you’ve put in at the gym. This is where HMB comes in handy.
With daily HMB supplementation, you can train harder and with more intensity, but still experience less muscle breakdown and recover that much faster.
Because HMB helps to mitigate exercise-induced muscle damage and speed up the recovery process, you’ll likely also see increases in strength, muscle mass, and aerobic capacity.
Burn Lab Pro
If you’re looking to maximize your results, Burn Lab Pro is what you need. It’s stacked to provide you with over 15 fat-burning, exercise-boosting, muscle-building benefits, all packed into a tiny vegan-friendly capsule.
It’s carefully formulated with five ingredients to help mobilize and breakdown fat, increase total energy expenditure, reduce calorie intake, axe fat storage, boost muscle strength, growth, and performance, drive up your training intensity, and preserve muscle both during and after training.
Best of all, it’s combined with ForsLean, Capsimax, GTF Chromium, and Bioperine to provide you with the cleanest, most effective HMB supplement on the market that’s easy on the stomach and safe for all lifestyles, allergies, and sensitivities.
Two capsules daily are all you need to shed fat, increase exercise performance, and boost muscle growth—even on off-days.
- K Durkalec-Michalski, J Jeszka, T Podgórski. The Effect of a 12-Week Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation on Highly-Trained Combat Sports Athletes: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study. Nutrients. 2017; 9(7): 753.
- A Molfino, G Gioia, F Rossi Fanelli, M Muscaritoli. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate supplementation in health and disease: a systematic review of randomized trials. Amino Acids. 2013 Dec; 45(6): 1273-92.
- M Holeček. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate supplementation and skeletal muscle in healthy and muscle-wasting conditions. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2017; 8(4): 529-541.
- JM Wilson, PJ Fitschen, B Campbell, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB). J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Feb; 10(6).
- R Nogueiras, KM Habegger, N Chaudhary, et al. Sirtuin 1 and sirtuin 3: physiological modulators of metabolism. Physiol Rev. 2012; 92(3): 1479-1514.
- G Tinsley, AH Givan, AJ Graybeal, MI Villarreal, AG Cross. β-Hydroxy β-methylbutyrate free acid alters cortisol responses, but not myofibrillar proteolysis, during a 24-h fast. Br J Nutr. 2018 Mar; 119(5): 517-526.