What is HMB and Will it Help Me Keep Muscle While I Lose Weight?
HMB, aka β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate is not a new social media acronym. SMH.
It’s a metabolite of the branched-chain amino acid (BCAA), leucine.
What’s it do? Something anyone who is losing weight should want: it helps preserve and build lean muscle mass.
See– the weight you lose matters.
When you lose weight, you may be losing fat and muscle.
Muscle burns three times more calories than fat.
You want to keep and build the muscle and get rid of excess fat. So, how do you do that?
If you said HMB, I’m not SMH, I’m LOL, smarty pants.
Your Body Feasts on Muscle During Weight Loss
A goal while losing body fat should be to preserve muscle. When working out, you reduce your body’s caloric totals. Whether through reduced intake or through an offset through activity, or a combination of both, the body compensates for the diminished calories by feasting on itself.
Ok, that’s a weird way to describe it, but it is a catabolic response to decreased energy.
Studies show during weight loss muscle protein break down increases and loss of muscle mass results. As such the perks of losing pounds can bring the misery of losing muscle.
It breaks down proteins in muscle tissues to produce glucose for energy. It also breaks down fats in adipose tissues as well.
To reduce the catabolic effect of your body’s muscle munching taking BCAAs can help.
That’s why BCAAs are great for the body. BCAAs aren’t broken down in the liver like other aminos–they go straight to muscle tissues to provide the body with nutrients to use for gluconeogenesis. This gives your body something else to use for producing glucose than your protein in muscle tissue.
And leucine is a BCAA.
HMB is a metabolite of leucine.
You see where we’re going here?
Yeah you do.
Let’s get there.
HMB Prevents Muscle Breakdown and Increases Lean Mass
HMB lowers muscle proteolysis following resistance training, and increases lean body mass and strength. Like we described above, proteolysis is the breakdown of proteins into smaller polypeptides or amino acids. But in order to get HMB, it must be metabolized from its father, Leucine—if you don’t supplement with it.
To understand why you’d want to supplement with HMB, let’s talk about what its father does.
Leucine Promotes Protein Synthesis
Leucine’s anti-catabolic properties are well documented.
Leucine plays an essential role in protein metabolism, glucose homeostasis, insulin response and training recovery. It promotes protein synthesis, which is the building and repairing of those muscles you want to keep.
It does so through cholesterol. Yes, cholesterol is necessary to maintaining health.
Cholesterol plays a big role in repairing cell membranes. And recall, when we exercise, we cause damage to our muscle cells. That’s why they repair and build through protein synthesis. But cholesterol repairs cell membranes—an important part of our muscle cells. A cell with a damaged cell membrane is like a mansion in a high crime area without doors.
There’s no control.
And, the more we workout, the more damage we do to our muscles but the more they repair and rebuild. If we have more damage to repair, we need more of the stuff that repairs it: namely cholesterol.
What does this have to do with HMB?
HMB Increases Good Cholesterol and Lowers Bad Cholesterol
HMB lowers bad cholesterol while providing a source for good cholesterol synthesis in the body.
In one study, bad cholesterol was reduced by seven percent and lean mass gains increased by 50 percent to 200 percent. It concluded increased cholesterol production allowed for maximal cell growth.
In another study subjects took 0, 1.5 grams or 3 grams daily dose of HMB. Results showed reduced muscle damage, protein degradation with increases increases in lean body mass.
HMB decreased body fat by more than twice the rate of non supplemented people in studies with an additional 55 percent increase in bench press performance.
Talking about strength increases, strength was increased more than triple-fold in one study.
There are tons of studies out there supporting HMB. All you gotta do is use that big ol’ buff brain of yours and Google it.
In summary, HMB:
- Increases lean body mass.
- Is anti-catabolic.
- Is anabolic.
- Increases lipolysis.
- Decreases bad cholesterol.
- Increases good cholesterol.
- Increases aerobic capacity of muscles.
So, why not just take Leucine to get these benefits?
Get this, only five percent of leucine is metabolized into HMB.
As such, 60 grams of leucine would be needed to get the benefits from the recommended dosage of 3 grams of HMB. So, by taking HMB, you don’t have to eat a bizillion scoops of leucine.
So, there you have it. What HMB does, why it works and how much to take. As always, talk to your doc about whether supplementing is right for you.
If you want to up your BCAA intake, do it here.
If you’re trying to get rid of some fluff, or ward off winter weight, get a scientifically backed natural supplement with this very ingredient in it. It attacks multiple reasons for weight gain, and helps you burn calories, block carbs and burn fat. Get it here.
Now that your brain gained some weight in IQ, go get rid of some weight in the gym. Boom.