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HMB Boosts Strength and Performance in Elite Athletes

by: Robbie Durand

β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a metabolic derivative of the amino acid leucine. HMB is known to increase muscle protein synthesis through mTOR signaling pathways while concurrently reduce catabolism. Studies utilizing HMB supplementation in trained populations are limited. Under normal conditions, ~5% of leucine consumed is converted in the body to HMB. Overall, the preliminary results suggest that supplementation of HMB with 1.5 to 3 g·day-1 of can increase fat-free mass and strength in a resistance-training program. It can be found in nature, but it is difficult and impractical to get on a regular basis, for example, 3 grams per day . Therefore, supplementation may be beneficial for strength training practitioners or those under extreme muscular stress who want to improved athletic performance. If you look at the research, there is a staggering amount of research to support the validity of HMB for increasing lean muscle mass and improving performance:

– Vukovich et al. reported that 8 wks of supplementation with HMB-Ca (3 g·day-1) significantly increased lean body mass and promoted 1 RM strength increases in a group of elderly men and women beginning a training program.

-Gallagher et al. analyzed the effects of HMB-Ca supplementation (3 and 6 g·day-1) for 8 wks of resistance training on a group of untrained men and noticed that there was a significant decrease in markers of muscle damage (i.e. creatine kinase) with an increase in lean body mass in the 3 g·day-1 group.

Ferreira et al. reported a significant increase in lean body mass and strength gain associated with resistance training in elite kayakers when supplemented with 3 g·day-1 HMB-Ca.Infinite Force CTA Amazon

squat bar position, infinite_labsIt has recently been suggested that β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate-Ca (HMB-Ca) increases fat-free mass and strength gains during resistance training in adults. Researchers in a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed the effects of HMB-Ca (37.5 mg·day-1) on body composition, athletic performance, and inflammatory mediators in 20 elite canoeists. The athletes were supplemented and followed for a period of 12 wks during strength training. Throughout the study, the athletes participated in all training sessions with individual workloads. The training sessions consisted of an average of 6 hrs·wk-1 of resistance training (e.g., 1 to 3 sets of 2 to 8 repetitions at intensities ranging from 80 to 95% of 1 RM) that was performed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as well as 10 hrs·wk-1 of sprint-specific training and technical assistance with the boat, averaging two daily sessions for a total of 11 training sessions per week. At the end of the study, supplementation with HMB-Ca at a dose of 37.5 mg·day-1 per body weight may increased in lean body mass commensurate with strength gains when associated with resistance training in trained, high performance athletes. The mechanism by which this occurs is still unknown, but the results indicate that there might be a decrease in skeletal muscle damage. There was greater improvement in the athletic performance response in the supplemented group. While research to date is encouraging, there is a clear need for more tightly controlled and long-term studies to verify whether HMB-Ca supplementation can be effective in improving the strength and development of muscular hypertrophy associated with resistance training and using the same supplementation in free acid (HMB-FA) form and in different dosages. The results indicated that a dose of HMB-Ca could potentiate an increase in lean body mass commensurate with strength gains associated with endurance training in competitive athletes. The mechanism by which this occurs is still unknown, but the results indicate that supplementation might decrease the damage to skeletal muscle when stressed before training with a significant difference in serum creatinine.

Ferreira, Heros Ribeiro, et al. “Effects of 12-Weeks of Supplementation with β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutrate-Ca (HMB-Ca) on Athletic Performance.” Journal of Exercise Physiology 18.2 (2015).

Ferreira HF, Rodacki ALF, Gill P, Tanhoffer R, Fernandes Filho J, Fernandes LC. The effects of supplementation of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate on inflammatory markers in high performance athletes. 2013;16(1):53-63.

Ferreira HF, Loures JP, Oliveira RMR, Gill P, Fernandes LC. Correlations between performance and 4-min maximum efforts in olympic kayaking athletes. 2014;17:34-41.

Vukovich M. The effect of dietary beta-hidroxy-beta-metylbutyrate (HMB) on strength gains and body composition changes in older adults. FASEB Journal. 1997;11:376-378.

Gallagher PM, Carrithers JA, Godard MP, Schulze KE, Trappe SW. β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate: Supplementation during resistance-training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999; 31:402-408.cyclorem

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