HMB: Exploring the Benefits of Hydroxymethylbutyrate for Muscle Health

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Along with providing information on whether HMB supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy HMB supplements online through the secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.

HMB supplements are known for their role in supporting muscle health and enhancing physical performance. Derived from the amino acid leucine, HMB helps reduce muscle breakdown and promotes muscle growth. It is useful for improving recovery after workouts, increasing strength, and maintaining muscle mass with aging. HMB offers various benefits that can assist in achieving health and fitness goals.

What Is HMB?

HMB, or beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, is a compound that results from the metabolism of the essential amino acid leucine. Discovered in the 1950s, HMB gained attention in the 1990s for its potential effects on muscle metabolism. Researchers began exploring its role in muscle protein synthesis and breakdown, leading to a growing interest in its use as a dietary supplement.

HMB is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine and is believed to help reduce muscle breakdown during intense exercise. It is sometimes used to support muscle recovery and promote muscle growth. HMB supplementation has been found to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and promote recovery by lowering markers of muscle damage and inflammation. It’s typically taken in a daily dose of 3 grams, either regularly for at least two weeks or just before exercise. [PMC9925108]

In the body, HMB works by influencing muscle protein turnover. It reduces the breakdown of muscle proteins and promotes protein synthesis, the process by which cells build new proteins. This dual action helps maintain muscle mass and strength. HMB achieves these effects through several mechanisms. It activates the mTOR pathway, a key regulator of cell growth and protein synthesis, and decreases the activity of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, which is involved in protein degradation.

HMB is produced in small amounts in the body, with approximately 5% of dietary leucine converted into HMB. This conversion occurs primarily in the liver and is then released into the bloodstream to exert its effects on muscle tissue.

Over the years, HMB has been extensively studied in various populations, including athletes and older adults. Its role in muscle metabolism has made it a popular supplement for those looking to enhance muscle mass and performance.

What Are the Benefits of HMB?

  • Muscle Health Maintenance: HMB is effective in reducing muscle breakdown, which helps in maintaining muscle mass during aging, illness, or periods of reduced activity. PMID: 30348016
  • Enhanced Muscle Growth: By stimulating protein synthesis, HMB supports the increase in muscle size and strength, making it popular among athletes and bodybuilders. PMC5566641
  • Faster Recovery: HMB reduces muscle damage and soreness after intense physical activity, facilitating quicker recovery and enabling more consistent training. PMID: 23286834
  • Increased Strength: Regular supplementation with HMB can enhance overall strength and improve performance in various strength-dependent activities. PMC4019830
  • Muscle Preservation during Weight Loss: HMB aids in preserving lean muscle mass during weight loss or dieting phases, improving body composition and metabolic health. [PMID: 38149561]
  • Support for Older Adults: HMB can help counteract age-related muscle loss, enhancing strength and mobility in older adults. PMID: 30697623 Regular use of HMB supplements can help reduce the risk of sarcopenia, a condition characterized by significant muscle loss in older adults. [PMID: 33709969]
  • Improved Endurance: HMB may enhance aerobic performance by improving oxygen utilization and endurance capacity, making it beneficial for endurance athletes. PMID: 38090973
  • Reduced Muscle Fatigue: By decreasing muscle breakdown, HMB can help reduce muscle fatigue during prolonged or intense exercise sessions. PMID: 22075640 PMID: 26418369
  • Animal Research:
    • Bone Health Support: Animal studies suggest that HMB may have a positive effect on bone density. [PMC8002460]
    • Improved Cognitive Function: There is emerging evidence in animal models that HMB could have positive effects on cognitive health. [PMC8912805]

Is HMB Safe?

HMB is a safe supplement for most people when taken in recommended doses. Extensive research has shown that HMB is well-tolerated, with minimal side effects. It has been used by athletes, bodybuilders, and older adults to support muscle health without significant adverse effects. Studies have consistently found that even at higher doses, HMB does not cause harm to the liver, kidneys, or overall metabolic function. Its safety profile makes it a reliable option for those looking to enhance muscle maintenance, growth, and recovery. 

Medication Interactions with HMB

  • Anticoagulants (e.g., Warfarin): HMB may affect blood clotting, which could enhance the effects of anticoagulants and increasing the risk of bleeding.
  • Antiplatelet Drugs (e.g., Aspirin, Clopidogrel): Similar to anticoagulants, HMB may enhance the blood-thinning effects, increasing the risk of bleeding.
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., Ibuprofen, Naproxen): HMB might increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding when taken with NSAIDs.
  • Diuretics (e.g., Furosemide, Hydrochlorothiazide): HMB may alter electrolyte balance, which may affect the effectiveness of diuretics.
  • Corticosteroids (e.g., Prednisone): HMB may counteract the muscle-wasting effects of corticosteroids, possibly affecting overall treatment outcomes.
  • Antihypertensive Medications (e.g., ACE Inhibitors, Beta-Blockers): There is potential for HMB to influence blood pressure control, requiring monitoring and possible adjustment of antihypertensive medication.
  • Insulin and Oral Hypoglycemics (e.g., Metformin): HMB may affect blood sugar levels, necessitating close monitoring of glucose levels and possible adjustments in diabetes medications.

Supplement Interactions with HMB

  • Creatine: HMB may enhance the muscle-building effects of creatine, leading to increased muscle mass and strength when used together.
  • Beta-Alanine: Combining HMB with beta-alanine may improve endurance and reduce muscle fatigue more effectively than either supplement alone.
  • Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): Since HMB is derived from leucine, taking BCAAs with HMB could amplify muscle protein synthesis and recovery.
  • Whey Protein: HMB may enhance the muscle protein synthesis effects of whey protein, leading to improved muscle growth and recovery.
  • Glutamine: When taken with HMB, glutamine might further support muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness after intense exercise.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Combining HMB with omega-3s could enhance anti-inflammatory effects and support muscle health.
  • Vitamin D: HMB may work synergistically with vitamin D to improve muscle function and strength, especially in older adults.
  • Caffeine: The combination of HMB and caffeine may boost exercise performance and endurance more effectively than either supplement alone.
  • L-Arginine: HMB combined with L-arginine may improve blood flow and muscle recovery, enhancing overall exercise performance.
  • Zinc and Magnesium: These minerals, when taken with HMB, may support muscle recovery and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage.

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Muscle Protect with HMB by Douglas Labs

Supports healthy muscle mass and muscle function‡

Provides anabolic muscle-building support‡
Attenuates muscle protein breakdown and preserves lean muscle mass in both young and older adults*.

Muscle Protect™ with HMB® provides a great-tasting, leucine-rich blend of essential amino acids combined with HMB®, vitamin D3, and glutamine for muscle maintenance. Leucine, a branched-chain amino acid, has an anabolic role in muscle protein synthesis and may specifically benefit aging adults by preserving healthy muscle mass and function. β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a metabolite of leucine that supports lean muscle mass through two unique mechanisms: decreased muscle degradation and increased protein synthesis. Vitamin D and glutamine provide additional support for muscle health.*
As a dietary supplement, adults take 1 scoop, 1-2 times daily dissolved in 8-10 oz of water or other beverage, or as directed by a health professional.

Amount Per 1 scoop (9.15g) Serving

Vitamin D3 … 12.5mcg (500IU) (as cholecalciferol)
Calcium … 210mg
L-Glutamine … 2g
myHMB® Calcium β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate-monohydrate … 1.5g (HMB)
Amino 9™ Amino Blend … 3.35g
L-Leucine, L-Lysine, L-Threonine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Methionine, L-Histidine, L-Tryptophan

KLEAN ESSENTIAL AMINOS +HMB by Klean Athlete

Athletes have a unique state of mind – driven, goal oriented, and unrelenting. Day, week, and year-in and -out athletes push their bodies to perform at high levels. As athletes age, a greater effort is needed to support anabolic muscle mass. Continuing to perform at peak levels, not only requires proper training, but also demands proper fueling to build and maintain muscles. No matter if you’re in your 30’s or 70’s, Klean Essential Aminos + HMB is designed with a leucine-rich blend of essential amino acids combined with HMB®, vitamin D3 and glutamine to support building lean muscle mass and function for all adult athletes.‡

Amount Per 1 Scoop (9.15g) Serving

Vitamin D3 … 12.5mcg (500IU) (as cholecalciferol)

Calcium … 210mg

myHMB® Calcium β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate Monohydrate … 1.5g (HMB)

Amino9 Amino Blend … 3.35g

L-Histidine … 109mg

L-Isoleucine … 280mg

L-Leucine … 1271mg

L-Lysine … 487mg

L-Methionine … 129mg

L-Phenylalanine … 181mg

L-Threonine … 342mg

L-Valine … 264mg

L-Tryptophan … 18mg

L-Glutamine … 2g

Other Ingredients: Natural orange flavor, natural vanilla and other natural flavors, citric acid, stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract (Siraitia grosvenorii), turmeric (for color)

Amino9™ is a registered trademark of Compound Solutions Inc.

myHMB® Nutritional uses of Calcium β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate Monohydrate (HMB) and Vitamin D are licensed to Klean Athlete under U.S. Patent # 8,815,280, # 9,259,430, #9,539,224 and #9,707,241

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

HMB supplements offer a range of health benefits that support muscle and overall health. They help reduce muscle breakdown, enhance muscle growth, and improve recovery after exercise. HMB can also increase strength, assist in weight management by preserving lean muscle mass, and provide valuable support for older adults facing age-related muscle loss. By incorporating HMB into a balanced routine, people can experience improved muscle function, better endurance, and enhanced physical performance.


This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.


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