Like all dietary supplements that are designed for performance enhancement, there has been some scrutiny over the efficacy of HMB. Although research is limited and clinical studies are very small scale, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that HMB supplements are effective in a variety of situations.
Reducing Muscle Tissue Damage
One of the very few studies on HMB in humans focused on the compound’s ability to help prevent damage to the muscle tissues. Subjects were divided into two groups. The first group received 3g of HMB per day, and the other group received 3g of a placebo each day over the course of a few weeks. The results showed that the group using the HMB had significantly reduced levels of creatine kinase, a substance that indicates stress or damage to muscle tissues. This proves that HMB lives up to its claims of reducing muscle damage.
Stimulating Muscle Protein Synthesis
The makers of HMB supplements also purport that the compound helps stimulate protein synthesis, which is absolutely crucial for muscle growth. Studies show that it appears to stimulate the process of mitogenesis, which causes the cells within tissues to divide. In turn, dormant cells within the muscles can effectively “wake up” so they can help facilitate the synthesis of muscle proteins, which leads to large, strong, and lean muscle mass.
Retaining Muscle Mass
There have been some studies on the use of HMB supplements in individuals suffering from muscle wasting diseases like HIV and AIDS. In these patients, their illness often causes their bodies to break down muscle mass for energy to use in basic bodily processes, thus leading to atrophy and weakness. When these patients were given HMB over the course of several weeks, they were able to maintain more muscle mass than patients who did not take HMB. This is because the supplement strengthens the membranes of muscle cells, making them more difficult to break down, and allowing patients to retain more of their muscle for longer periods of time.
When HMB Supplements are Not Effective
There are some who claim that HMB benefits are not effective, stating that even after weeks of use they realized no results. Like many other supplements for performance enhancement and weight loss, you have to do your part in allowing HMB to work effectively. If you take the supplement but fail to work out regularly or consume a diet that is rich in protein, then the HMB simply lies dormant within the body. Conversely, if you pair your supplement with a balanced diet and a solid resistance and weight training program, the HMB goes to work slowing down protein breakdown and enhancing protein synthesis to make your muscles grow.
HMB supplements are incredibly effective as long as you use them as directed, eat a diet that is high in protein, and work out regularly. When you follow these basic steps, you’ll notice faster workout recovery, bigger muscles, and the ability to retain that muscle mass more easily over a longer period of time.