If you’re looking for the best HMB supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our HMB Supplements Guide.
Top 10 HMB Supplements
|#1||Optimum Nutrition HMB||More Info|
|#2||BulkSupplements Pure HMB Powder||More Info|
|#3||MET-Rx HMB 1000||More Info|
|#4||NutraKey HMB Capsules||More Info|
|#5||Now Foods HMB Vcaps||More Info|
|#6||Infinite Labs HMB Supplement||More Info|
|#7||Piping Rock Health Products HMB||More Info|
|#8||Pure Encapsulations – HMB Plus||More Info|
|#9||MRM HMB Capsules||More Info|
|#10||Core Nutritionals HMB||More Info|
HMB is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine. Studies suggest it is able to prevent muscle breakdown. It does help build new muscle, but not as effectively as leucine itself.
It is yet unknown exactly how HMB affects muscle function, yet it seems to offer some unique benefits. It is currently one of the most researched supplements for athletic performance
What is HMB?
HMB, β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate, is a metabolite of leucine, an essential amino acid. The body can make HMB from the leucine found in foods. The conversion rate is only around 5 percent. Certain foods contain higher amounts of HMB, like grapefruits and fish. Many choose to supplement the diet with HMB to take advantage of its unique abilities. There is a free form and a calcium salt form of HMB. Most studies indicate that the free form is more effective than the calcium salt form.
HMB is primarily taken to prevent the breakdown of muscle protein. Like leucine, it slows down the loss of muscle mass; unlike leucine, however, it does not help to increase muscle mass. HMB essentially slows protein breakdown while speeding protein repair. It is at least 20 times more effective than leucine at preventing muscle loss. Cyclists and runners have seen quicker recovery times and less muscle damage from overuse. Strength training athletes notice quicker muscle gain times and increased strength. It is used primarily by athletes but may have other uses.
How Does It Work?
One of the ways in which HMB works is via the MAPK/ERK pathway. It induces muscle cell proliferation, essentially activating dormant muscle cells. This action awakens muscle cells that otherwise would have gone unused. HMB also reduced apoptosis, which regulates cell death. Basically, it helps to slow down the death of healthy muscle cells.
In human trials, this slowdown of muscle loss is hard to quantify. Athletes and test subjects often have vastly different lifestyles and diets. The effect of HMB will likely differ depending on the health and activity level of the person. HMB appears to be most beneficial when the muscles are being pushed to their limit. It is also helpful when the muscle must adapt quickly to different exercises such as with CrossFit.
It seems that the individuals who get the most benefit are those who are light to medium conditioned. Studies show that elite athletes do not seem to benefit from HMB as much as less conditioned individuals. This is probably because the muscles are well trained and are not put under the stresses and strains that an average user would experience.
It also seems to be useful in preventing muscle atrophy brought on by certain chronic conditions like AIDS or prolonged bed rest. This area is still being explored. HMB’s main use is still in athletic circles; however, the elderly and those with chronic conditions may receive even more benefit than athletes.
Benefits of HMB
The primary benefit of HMB is its ability to slow muscle breakdown. It is currently used primarily by athletes and bodybuilders. It is especially popular with those involved in resistance training. With increased levels of HMB, the body is less likely to break down muscle mass due to inactivity or damage. It seems to be particularly beneficial to those individuals who tend to have weaker muscles and increased soreness. Those athletes who need longer recovery times would most likely benefit from HMB.
HMB can be a component of a muscle building regimen. Although its efficacy in muscle building is not as high as some other products, it does help the body to build new muscle. This, coupled with its ability to reduce muscle erosion, makes it an ideal supplement for those who do weight or resistance training.
It does appear to show the ability to aid in the reduction of muscle degradation related to the aging process. It also showed(12) signs that it could slow motor skill decline. Elderly individuals noted increased strength, muscle function and lean mass after taking HMB for several months. Therefore, HMB may be beneficial in slowing down the natural muscle loss that occurs with aging.
HMB does not seem to increase short-term power output. So, it would not be an ideal supplement for stamina or increased workout power or time. It will help to maintain any gained muscle and prevent muscle loss. Over time it will help to increase overall strength.
It also does not appear to decrease soreness related to resistance and weight training. The free form HMB does seem to reduce soreness in some individuals. Some studies suggest that it could help with muscle recovery for several days after a workout.
HMB does seem to show some benefits in reducing muscle damage after a workout. This may be due to the activation of dormant cells. Although muscle soreness does not seem to be positively affected, muscle recovery times do seem to improve. The free form did test more positively than the calcium salt form. Creatine kinase levels were reduced after using 3 gm of free acid HMB. This is possibly due to the absorption time of the free form being quicker.
One other positive benefit of HMB appears to be reduced fat mass. The studies are inconclusive on this potential aspect of HMB. It is possible that it helps to reduced fat mass when paired with a caloric restrictive diet and increased exercise. However, when taken on its own, it does not show much change.
Recent testing indicates that HMB could decrease LDL and total cholesterol. It showed a beneficial effect on blood pressure as well. It could, therefore, be added to a healthy diet to reduce muscle loss and improve heart health and overall strength.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There are currently no known side effects for HMB. Most studies have used 3 mg for eight weeks with no known reactions. Pregnant or nursing mothers are always advised to contact a physician prior to taking any new supplements.
It does appear to increase insulin release from the pancreas, similar to the effects of leucine. However, blood glucose levels actually dropped.
A few studies suggest that HMB supplements may increase appetite. However, this is not sufficiently confirmed by testing and may be due to other factors. Studies have been done on testosterone and cortisol levels after taking HMB. No differences in levels were reported.
How to Take HMB
HMB doses range from 1 to 3 grams per day as an anti-catabolic. Most athletes prefer a 3-gm dose. Many tests note no increased results from jumping to a 6-gm dose. Many take HMB in powder form and add it to a smoothie or drink. It does not have much taste on its own. It is available in tablets and capsules as well.
Taking leucine is another way to attain HMB. The body will convert around 5 percent of the leucine to HMB in the body. They body can also convert HMB from leucine found in certain foods. Since HMB is processed by the body quickly, many take two or three servings spread out over the day.
There does seem to be some benefit to taking creatine and HMB together. Creatine improves muscle mass and decreases fat mass. Taking the two together, along with other amino acids, can show marked benefits. Some studies suggest that their effects are additive.
What to Look for in a Good HMB Product
There are two primary forms of HMB. There is a free acid form and calcium salt form. Most studies found that the free acid form reaches serum peak sooner, remains in the body longer and is better absorbed by the body. The calcium form is more readily found and is cheaper. The calcium does make it more shelf-stable and more soluble when mixed.
HMB is also a patented product and is sold under license from MTI Biotech. It is, therefore, well-regulated and fully tested.