Hydroxyl Methylbutyrate (HMB) for strength and getting lean

HMB has been widely publicized and has been one of the more popular supplements for over a decade. HMB is a metabolite of the branch chained amino acid leucine. With claims like increased strength, muscle size, recovery and fat oxidation, it sounds too good to be true. In fact, a publisher of a very successful magazine referred to using HMB akin to using the anabolic steroid deca durabolin. Unfortunately, the claims made about HMB don’t seem to hold up in the research.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, performed a met-analysis of 9 studies. The analysis was comprised of 394 subjects between the ages of 21 and 25. Some of the subjects had training experience and some didn’t.

The major findings of this meta-analysis are that HMB supplementation results in a small, beneficial increase to overall strength in untrained lifters but has a negligible effect on trained lifters. Furthermore, in untrained lifters, HMB results in a small to possibly moderate increase in lower-body strength, but it has only a negligible effect on upper-body strength. In contrast, all strength outcomes are insignificant in trained lifters. In both trained and untrained lifters, the effect of HMB supplementation on body composition is negligible.

In my view HMB is a waste of money. The only gains made were small strength gains in untrained individuals? Why would any researchers analyzing a supplement, looking for strength or lean body mass gains, use untrained individuals? They are going to make gains, especially in the first few months, just by working out. I’m amazed at how so many studies are poorly performed and yet, are still published.

  

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