HMB is the abbreviation for beta hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate. A popular name in gyms and supplement stores and yet many people are not familiar with this body building supplement.
HMB is a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine, one of the branched-chain amino acids- BCAA, and is synthesized in the human body. It works by increasing the rate of protein being used to increase muscle growth, while decreasing the atrophy or tear down of muscle that occurs.
Studies have suggested that supplementation of HMB may increase lean muscle mass, help muscles combat protein breakdown, assist in muscle repair and support increased endurance.
HMB supplements are popular among athletes and those involved in regular exercise because only small amounts of HMB are present in food. Alfalfa and catfish are the best food sources.
HMB is not an essential nutrient and the body creates it from leucine. So, any diet containing sufficient amounts of leucine should lead to the adequate production of it. The amino acid leucine is metabolized into a compound called alpha-ketoisocaproate (KIC), which is then turned into HMB by the body.
Most people do not need HMB but those involved in regular exercise can benefit from it. Research shows that three grams of HMB per day in combination with exercise, such as weight lifting can promote excellent results such as increasing muscle weight and strength, greater endurance, and increased fat loss.