Since man first began studying the science of bodybuilding, and more specifically the effects of diet and nutrition on gains – one amino acid has been king. Leucine. For a bodybuilder, it’s the perfect amino acid. Not only does this simple amino acid aid in the repair and maintenance of muscle tissue, it actually has an anabolic stimulatory effect on the body when in the right concentrations at the right time.
But, this article isn’t about Leucine. We’re here to talk about HMB, which is very much related to Leucine.
When Leucine enters the blood stream, it is naturally broken down by the body for utilization. One of the metabolites of this process is – HMB. Approximately 5% of the leucine metabolized becomes oxidized into active HMB in the human body. So, essentially for every 20 grams of leucine ingested you are receiving about 1 gram of HMB after your body does the legwork.
Leucine is great, you already know this. But, what exactly does HMB do for the bodybuilder, athlete, or dieter? In other words, why bother taking HMB when some can already be obtained through protein or leucine?
The Benefits of HMB Supplementation
It all comes down to results. There have been several clinical studies testing the effects of pure HMB supplementation on muscle growth and recovery. The results of these studies has been nothing but spectacular!
It turns out, that HMB is not necessarily anabolic par-say like its Leucine metabolic predecessor. Instead, HMB is incredibly anti-catabolic; which in essence produces the same physical effect over time as an anabolic supplement.
What this all means, is that while supplementing with HMB your body is going to grow based on the fact that you’re not going to decay as much as you normally do (which is a lot). After exercise, HMB encourages your body to repair in a manner that doesn’t cannibalize your muscle tissue. Additionally, during times of nutrient depletion, HMB acts as a secondary defense once again preserving your muscle tissue from being utilized.
Over time, this means one thing – big results. All you need to do is continue training hard, eating right, and sleeping at night. Do this for 4 to 12 weeks and your new found friend HMB will potentiate (have a cumulative benefit) on your muscle gains.
When HMB Supplementation Counts the Most
When looking at the big picture, a solid HMB supplement is going to help anyone exercising. After all, supporting lean muscle mass and reducing recovery time is what we all strive for. However, there is a certain class of people who HMB is going to have a much more beneficial effect for. These types of people can be better phrased as individuals who work out incredibly hard.
HMB Supplements Benefit Aggressive Workout Programs the Most
Clinical studies have found HMB users to gain as much as 16 pounds of lean muscle over 12 weeks (University of Tampa) in a study using real bodybuilders. Was HMB the only factor in this massive growth? Especially given that professional bodybuilders typically only gain that kind of weight over the course of an entire year…. No, that wasn’t the full case.
The best HMB clinical studies have been performed alongside ridiculous, mind-breaking, intense workout schedules. We’re talking, training 5-6 days a week… HARD – with a max out day included. That probably sounds pretty crazy to you, but HMB has a way of making it doable. And with doing it, comes massive gains where others begin to break apart.
Taking HMB with Creatine
HMB has found its most beneficial bodybuilding supplement match to be creatine, by far. With several clinical studies from the University of Iowa, HMB alongside creatine has produced greater strength and muscle mass gains than either supplement taken independently.
More so, one of our all-time favorite HMB containing supplements is Transparent Labs own Creapure HMB – which is a combination of creatine monohydrate and HMB. This is the most effective and cost conscious option we have tried thus far, and highly recommend it.
Aside from Creapure HMB, there are straight HMB supplements worth noting. Below, we’re going to wrap up the top 3 HMB supplements.
Top 3 Best HMB Supplements
#3 Infinite Labs HMB
Infinite Labs HMB is modestly priced and provides 1 gram HMB per 2 capsule serving. If you look at the directions, Infinite Labs recommends you take 1 capsule 3 times per day for best results. This is brings 1.5 grams of HMB into your body per day.
Infinite labs is a great brand, and if you follow their directions you will have a 30 day supply of 1.5 grams HMB for a ‘standard’ price of $51.99 that is easy to find around $27 on more popular stores.
#2 Optimum Nutrition HMB – ON HMB
Optimum Nutrition has a pretty popular HMB supplement – HMB 1000. In theirs, each pill contains 1 gram of HMB, and like Infinite Labs they recommend supplementing 3 times per day. This effectively doubles the HMB clinical dose which is 1.5 grams.
Despite the increase in active HMB, there is no significant price increase between Infinite Labs HMB and Optimum Nutrition’s HMB. It all comes down to if you want to exceed the 1.5 grams per day clinical dosage.
#1 Muscletech Clear Muscle free-acid HMB
Clear muscle by Muscletech is considered to be the most advanced form of HMB currently on the market. However, all of this clinical research is based out of one university. The difference between clear muscle and the HMB you see in other products is whether or not calcium is attached to the HMB molecule.
In Muscletech’s Clear Muscle, they have managed to produce HMB that does not need the calcium molecule for intake. This may or may not be significant, given that we’ve had amazing results with both standard HMB and Clear Muscle.
In fact, our favorite HMB supplement (Creapure HMB), uses the regular calcium HMB and works fantastically. If you like creatine, we recommend you take a look at that. However, if you are not looking to combine creatine and HMB into one product, Clear Muscle is the most popular HMB option.
Other Noteworthy Supplements: EAS Muscle Armor and Met-Rx HMB
Both Met-RX and EAS provide supplements containing HMB. Met-Rx’s is a standard straight HMB supplement providing 1 gram per day. Per their directions, that’s four servings spread out across the day delivering 4 grams total of HMB – that’s a little aggressive for anyone. EAS on the other hand makes Muscle Armor which is HMB alongside glutamine and arginine for recovery.