HMB (not for everyone)

Last night I was on the phone with Mitochondria (remember him flash) and he was pointing out why HMB has some benefit for speed athletes or those with huge eccentric loads placed on them. He is out of the Miami area and works with some rather big names and here is what he told me.

“HMB seems to work with athletes that wish to maintain the cytoskeleton of their muscle fibers but will not help with growth unless the other factors are taken care of. When we tested it in the lab we found that 9 out of 10 were non-responders but some seem to do great with it. After a five year gap we went back and found that HMB can only help during postworkout periods and constant feedings on and off. If an athlete is consuming ethanol (alcohol) the response will be nothing. I consider it a luxury supplement because it is not very effective and there responses vary. Like creatine HMB may not work too well for some athletes but it looks like it may play and important role in the recovery process. It’s not “protein” so don’t expect 23 inch arms because you are taking grams of it. I don’t suggest that athletes purchase it unless they are doing the basics first. Unlike ribose HMB is real but don’t expect huge changes. I feel that the more advanced the athlete the more important HMB will be.”

I thought HMB was a waste of $$$…thoughts.

I recently got into a conversation about HMB with the guys at BSL and he told me that HMB was an OK supp but it is not very cost effective. He said an athlete needs to use about 6-8 grams a day to see any results, which can get very expensive at that dosage. He mentioned that an athlete would be better off taking BCAA’s about(20grams pre and during a workout) and see the same results.

I agree…but it all depends on the workout design…so many pathways and needs to be supported. I like HMB to be used twice a day in the morning and at night with coconut milk and casein. Then use a galactose/electrolyte/bcaa blend for during training.

Do you think the dosage needs to be that high though? 6-8 grams?

I think 10-12g on training days and 6-8 on non training days is probably more accurate. I am currently experimenting with a custom blend from Black Star labs it contains 30% HMB, 20% Taurine, 20% Creatine, 10% Betaine, 10% Inositol 6. Just started a week ago. I take it 3x a day and it gives me 3 g of HMB per serving. I am currently doing a high volume of pyo’s, accentuated eccentric.

Which is probalby when something like HMB might have utility, when there is heavy muscule damage occurring. A friend, Bryan Haycock, noted that the studies which found HMB to be effective used untrained inviduals, who tend to get a lot of muscular damage from heavy loading. Also noted that most gym trainees who used HMB (reporting nothing) were not doing a lot of heavy lifting. I believe Poliquin has made similar comments, HMB may have use (albeit still not very cost effectively) during periods of heavy eccentric loading.


I remeber reading that a study was done to see which supplements were effective and the only supplements that worked were HMB and Creatine. I wish I remeber where I read that or had a reference but I don’t.

More likely a review paper.

I think I know the one you’re talking about, also concluded that overfeeding wasn’t a good way to get LBM gains. Yeah, right.

Thing is, HMB has crapped out in the real world (except, as mentioned, at high doses in folks doing heavy-ass training with a lot of eccentrics). That the guy holding the patent to it (Nissen) made it work in the lab is therefore fairly irrelevant.

Considering the cost of the stuff, HMB have to work a lot better than it does to be worth investing in.

Creatine is cheap, works in the lab and works in the real world for most people.


I was at a lecture by Richard Krieder (sp?) from baylor and he cited some refrences that said about three grams a day did show increases in FFM, i belive most were untrained subjects however

here is a link to the slide show:

and one to the web page with all his presentations:

ive used hmb from bsl-didnt seem to factor much into recovery.
money is better spent on other supps.

Funny thing is that when supplements are brought up in discussion in class here at Iowa State, they still claim HMB and creatine are the ONLY supplements that have benefits, and amino acid supplementation is a waste. Even when you provide them studies that prove them wrong, or you tell them the real world results, they tend to ignore the fact they could be potentially wrong, especially with something they helped bring to the forefront of the industry. Typical of egotistical professors/researchers.

This obviously was not me as I have a different take on the matter. It all depends upon your training. At that amount you will spend the same amount. During new or very intense training protocols that create some great damage, HMB is one of the best anticatabolic I know of. I always recommend stacking this with some form of creatine.

Check out the articles about this topic. These pretty much tell the entire story.

Hydroxy Methyl Butyrate: Overpriced or Overlooked? Part I -

Hydroxy Methyl Butyrate: Overhyped or Overlooked? Part II -

Hydroxy Methyl Butyrate: Overhyped or Overlooked? Part III -

Good point Lyle. Response is in reflection to the amount of muscle damage you are creating. During low caloric intake or maximum volume or intensity training (without drugs) this product can be very valuable. We have another form of the product by the way.

May be of interest also

HMB gave me the worst case of hives that I have ever had - it barely touched my tongue and my face exploded - it was a bit scary really.

Many allergies exist with kids now…Zep any idea about responses to the BSL product lines?

I tried HMB back when it first came out in 95/96 and didn’t see much of an effect. However, my training was structured very differently then. In terms of marginal benefits from HMB, ask yourself what else you could do with that money. You might get a greater marginal benefit from spending it on massage, whole food, or (Heaven forbid) justy saving it.

I don’t find that HMB does very much when used for speed/strength work outs, but it seems to have a big impact on recovery from lactic work outs … any thoughts?

Perhaps the myofibrils were better maintained, allowing for better contractions later but max strength and max speed days had bigger rest periods…hard to day but each athlete will have individual requirements…

Well we have tons of things to offer. Alergic to dairy, try a combo of soy and wheat, for example.

Other than that, I am not sure what exactly you are asking?