The sport supplement HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) is now flying off the shelf. A new study (ref 1) is showing amazing results and supplement companies are cashing in. So how can they charge up to one dollar for one gram of free acid HMB?
HMB is a metabolite derived from leucine. Leucine is thought to be the most important amino acid for building muscle and studies shows the leucine supplementation is beneficial for athletes (ref 2). What sets this study apart from previous HMB studies, which have had conflicting results (ref 3), is that resistance trained athletes participated in it.
The main benefit was seen in the overreaching phase of the study's periodized training program. The average decrements in total strength was -0,4% for the HMB-FA group and -4,5% for the placebo group. This would suggest that supplementing with HMB-FA could be worth a try during periods of heavy training.
For most supplements you don't have to worry about side-effects as they usually have no effect at all. No side-effects were mentioned in the above study and, anyway, HMB is naturally synthezised in the human body from leucine. Might be worth noting that leucine costs about 8 (US) cents a gram.
1.Ryan P Lowery, Jordan Joy, John A Rathmacher, Shawn M Baier, John C Fuller, Ralf Jäger, Stephanie M C Wilson, Jacob M Wilson. Effects of 12 weeks of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate free acid, adenosine triphosphate, or a combination on muscle mass, strength, and power in resistance trained individuals. http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/990/art%253A10.1186%252F1550-2783-10-S1-P17.pdf?auth66=1404759317_da2367e92c6d190a64cec1c6ab865d9d&ext=.pdf
2.Crowe MJ1, Weatherson JN, Bowden BF. Effects of dietary leucine supplementation on exercise performance. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2006 Aug;97(6):664-72. Epub 2005 Oct 29. . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16265600
3.Gabriel J Wilson, Jacob M Wilson and Anssi H Manninen: Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: A review. http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/422/art%253A10.1186%252F1743-7075-5-1.pdf?auth66=1404743695_d2b33bb80e748649382b0739827e4ae4&ext=.pdf