Article At A Glance:
Let’s be frank, The sports industry is saturated with ingredients and various compounds to optimise health, improve performance and support overall muscle growth.
One compound though that doesn’t get talked about enough for its impressive anti-catabolic and exercise recovery benefits is Hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB).
But to understand HMB, we must first explain what this compound actually is.
What is HMB
HMB is a metabolite of an amino acid known as leucine, one of three branched-chain amino acids commonly found in amino acid recovery supplements.
It’s shown that HMB is the primary metabolite that’s most effective in preventing muscle breakdown, although its anabolic (building muscle) potential may also underscore some benefits in the literature too.
What this means is HMB can be beneficial for exercise enthusiasts or athletes post-workout, during times of fasting, and even during times of calorie restriction.
Key Benefits of HMB
There are many key benefits to using this compound, some that extend past the anti-catabolic component as previously discussed.
To make things easier, let’s highlight a few core areas of how HMB can help, and a little scientific literature to back it up.
Possibly one of the best uses is its ability to increase the rate of muscular recovery. According to a study done on 20 resistance-trained men aged 18-29, 3g of HMB taken over the course of a training day was able to reduce markers of exercise-induced muscle damage, and improve recovery (Wilson et al., 2013).
Although it’s not considered a potent anabolic compound, studies have shown slight increases in lean mass (Vukovich et al., 2001). Although these studies aren’t statistically significant, the reason may actually be due to the body’s ability to recover muscle faster, which leads to muscular growth.
Body Fat Reduction
Similarly to muscle growth, the evidence is unclear and a little mixed. It’s thought that HMB can influence fat loss based on its ability to recover faster and promote lean muscle mass (Thomson et al., 2009). When we build more muscle, we may create a reduction of body fat during this process, fat loss is a side effect to the recovery benefits of HMB.
Prolonged supplementation of Hydroxymethylbutyrate does show to improve power output by approximately 1.9% after 9 weeks (Thomson et al., 2009). Studies for this again are a little unclear, and it seems that the evidence may still loop back to the pure accelerated recovery benefits of HMB, building stronger muscle faster, which converts to higher power output.
HMB Supplement Recommendations
So we’ve learnt that HMB is pretty impressive when it comes to muscle recovery, and the downstream effects of this are also quite beneficial too.
The next question is, where do you get Hydroxymethylbutyrate, and what dose is most effective?
Based on the research, the optimal daily dose of Hydroxymethylbutyrate appears to be 3g for effective muscular recovery and growth benefits.
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Whether you’re looking to recover faster, build muscle or even lose fat, Hydroxymethylbutyrate is a supplement that can definitely deliver.
While it’s a compound that isn’t talked about enough in the sports industry, it’s something that everyone should add to their post-workout regime because the benefits are just too good to overlook.
Clarity is here to help, so please use the resources we offer, and if you have any questions, do reach out.
- Thomson, J. S., Watson, P. E., & Rowlands, D. S. (2009). Effects of Nine Weeks of β-Hydroxy-β- Methylbutyrate Supplementation on Strength and Body Composition in Resistance Trained Men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(3), 827–835. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181a00d47
- Vukovich, M. D., Stubbs, N. B., & Bohlken, R. M. (2001). Body Composition in 70-Year-Old Adults Responds to Dietary β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate Similarly to That of Young Adults. The Journal of Nutrition, 131(7), 2049–2052. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/131.7.2049
- Wilson, J. M., Lowery, R. P., Joy, J. M., Walters, J. A., Baier, S. M., Fuller, J. C., Stout, J. R., Norton, L. E., Sikorski, E. M., Wilson, S. M. C., Duncan, N. M., Zanchi, N. E., & Rathmacher, J. (2013). β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free acid reduces markers of exercise-induced muscle damage and improves recovery in resistance-trained men. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(3), 538–544. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0007114512005387
Former drinker, Nutritionist, Biohacking enthusiast, self-experimenter, research fanatic, and self-taught writer, Stephen immerses himself deep into the literature of human optimisation and better understand the nature of addiction. His goal is to help people take control of their addiction, reset their cravings, unscramble their broken brain circuitry and use actionable strategies that work ten times better than anything else.