benefits of hmb

What is HMB? What Are Its Benefits and Side Effects?

Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, commonly called HMB, has gained significant popularity due to its reported benefits. HMB offers substantial benefits regarding muscle growth promotion and reduction of muscle breakdown. Moreover, HMB is increasingly recognized for its potential anti-aging properties and ability to enhance exercise adaptations.

This comprehensive guide will explore HMB in-depth, focusing on its benefits, recommended dosage, possible side effects, and proper usage guidelines. By delving into HMB's intricacies, this article aims to comprehensively understand the benefits of HMB in maintaining a healthy and vibrant lifestyle.


Key Takeaway:

HMB is not just a one-trick pony but rather a multifaceted supplement with a myriad of benefits:

  • HMB aids in muscle growth and reduces muscle breakdown, which benefits athletes and individuals leading an active lifestyle.
  • It has potential anti-aging properties, potentially contributing to older adults' better physical and cognitive health.
  • Enhances exercise adaptations, making your workout regimen more effective.
  • When combined with vitamin D3, HMB can help improve muscle strength and bodily functions, particularly beneficial for older adults.

A unique benefit of HMB is its ability to reduce stress when combined with creatine, as evidenced by decreased cortisol levels.

What Does HMB Mean?

HMB, scientifically known as β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate, is a significant metabolite derived from the essential amino acid leucine. Under normal conditions, approximately 5% of leucine is converted into HMB.

Our liver can produce HMB internally, typically generating around 0.2 - 0.4 g per day, depending on the leucine content in our daily diet. This metabolite has gained considerable attention in health and fitness due to its numerous benefits.

HMB powder

What are the Benefits of HMB?

Benefits for Muscle Growth

HMB supplementation offers notable advantages, particularly in promoting muscle growth. This is achieved by inhibiting protein breakdown in muscles, a crucial process for muscle development and maintenance.

But how does exactly HMB benefit for muscles, this video will answer this question:

A study involving over 15 elderly men asserts that combining HMB with Arginine and Glutamine improves muscle function for men undergoing ADT for prostate cancer without causing significant side effects. [11]

In a trial involving 41 male volunteers, those supplemented with HMB experienced a rapid and sustained increase in muscle mass [5]. The muscle-enhancing effects of HMB can be attributed to its ability to stimulate the mTOR signaling pathway and growth hormones [3, 6].

Therefore, incorporating HMB into your nutrition regimen can benefit individuals seeking to enhance muscle mass and improve overall physical performance.

Reduce Muscle Breakdown

HMB helps to reduce muscle breakdown

HMB has demonstrated a significant impact on reducing muscle breakdown. In a clinical trial involving 15 cancer patients, HMB showed a marked reduction in muscle atrophy by inhibiting the ubiquitin-proteasome system. This protein degradation process is directly linked to muscle wasting [6].

The effect of HMB on muscle atrophy caused by cancer is also supported. In a study conducted on mice with breast cancer, HMB was observed to reduce inflammatory signals in cancer cells, reduce muscle atrophy, and provide protection against weakness [12].

This protective effect of HMB provides a valuable resource for individuals at risk of muscle wasting due to various conditions, including aging, prolonged bed rest, or certain diseases.

By supplementing with HMB, it may be possible to slow down muscle degradation, thereby maintaining muscle health and physical function.

Improve Exercise Adaptations

During the initial phase of high-intensity training, the supplementation of HMB can enhance the body's adaptive response.

According to a study, untrained individuals who took HMB as a supplement significantly enhanced their ability to adapt to intense exercise [9].

Nevertheless, it is essential to highlight that this effect diminishes after approximately six weeks of training. This suggests that the influence of HMB on exercise adaptation is most significant during the initial phases of a new training program.

Incorporating HMB into the diet can accelerate and enhance adapting to increased physical demands for those starting or intensifying their fitness journey.

HMB improves exercise adaptations

Physical Exercise in Older Adults

Physical exercise helps improve the health and well-being of older adults, serving as a crucial component in maintaining their overall vitality and quality of life.

Although HMB is widely known for its involvement in muscle development, its primary benefit extends beyond enhancing muscle growth in this age group.

Research suggests that when combined with physical exercise, HMB supplementation may have a minimal effect on muscle mass in older adults compared to exercise alone [2, 9].

On the contrary, this group's primary advantages of HMB supplementation lie in its potential cognitive benefits. Studies indicate that when combined with regular physical exercise, HMB supplementation can significantly assist in preventing cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease among older adults [2].

Seniors should consider incorporating additional HMB intake, not only to maintain muscle but also for the significant cognitive health benefits it provides.

HMB helps with preventing Alzheimer's disease

May Combating Aging

As people grow older, an inherent decrease in muscle strength occurs, which causes a loss of independence and the development of frailty among older adults.

By promoting muscle development and preventing muscle atrophy, HMB has the potential to support physical function and independence in this specific population [7].

Furthermore, recent studies indicate that HMB has the potential to promote cognitive well-being in older individuals, potentially mitigating cognitive decline and the onset of Alzheimer's disease [2].

Supplementing with HMB can play a dual role in preserving physical fitness and cognitive function as we age.

Other Benefits

Emerging studies have begun to reveal less commonly known benefits of HMB that extend beyond its well-established muscle-promoting effects.

  • Research suggests that HMB supplementation may significantly aid in reducing inflammation and facilitating muscle recovery post-injury [1]. This is beneficial for athletes or individuals undergoing rehabilitation from musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Another intriguing area of HMB research is its potential role in weight management and obesity prevention. Evidence suggests that HMB could positively impact the body's antioxidant system and contribute to weight loss [1]. This attribute of HMB could pave the way for new strategies in managing obesity and related health issues.
  • HMB shows promise in cardiovascular health, as studies indicate it can minimize the risk of cardiovascular diseases [1].

Despite these promising findings, it is essential to note that further research is required to validate and understand these benefits fully.

What are the Side Effects of HMB?

While HMB's benefits are substantial, it's essential to consider potential side effects and safety precautions.

In a 91-day mouse model test, no adverse effects were observed. Extensive experiments involving individuals of various ages and genders have consistently demonstrated the safety of HMB, with no significant negative impacts on the human body [9].

Nevertheless, some individuals have reported minor side effects, including skin, mouth, and limb discomfort after HMB supplementation.

However, these effects are typically rare and minimal. As with any supplement, it's essential to remember that reactions can vary from person to person.

How Much HMB Should You Take to be Safe?

It's crucial to understand the correct dosage to experience its effects optimally.

Various studies have tested different groups using HMB doses ranging from 1.5g to 6g per day, exploring the threshold at which HMB's effects are maximized. The consensus among researchers is that a daily dosage of 3g HMB is as effective as 6g.

The optimal daily intake of 3g of HMB maximizes its effects for most individuals.

How to Take HMB to Maximum Effectiveness

HMB can be consumed in two primary forms: capsules or powder.

  • Those choosing HMB capsules can be ingested directly, ideally with a glass of filtered water, to facilitate easier swallowing.
  • If you prefer HMB in powder form, it can be mixed with sufficient filtered water or a sports drink.

The optimal time for HMB intake varies among individuals, but many users have reported the best results when consuming HMB within an hour before exercise.

Regardless of the method of ingestion, it is essential to carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding quantity and timing to achieve the maximum benefits of HMB supplementation.

Who Should and Shouldn't Take HMB?

HMB is highly beneficial for people involved in high-intensity workouts or those who want to improve their muscle strength and endurance.

It is beneficial for older adults, as it maintains muscle mass and contributes significantly to cognitive health, potentially preventing cognitive decline and the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

HMB is also suitable for individuals experiencing excessive muscle fatigue, patients with conditions related to muscle atrophy, and those looking to prevent weight-related health issues like obesity and heart disease.

HMB is generally perceived as having no significant side effects, making it suitable for almost anyone.

Despite being generally safe with minimal side effects, individuals with specific allergies or underlying health conditions should get advice from a healthcare provider before starting HMB supplementation.

Mixing HMB With Other Supplements

HMB doesn't have to be taken alone; it's possible to combine it with other supplements to enhance its effects, for example, potentially:

  • The combination of HMB with vitamin D3 has increased muscle strength and physical functions in older adults, even without an exercise program [7].
  • Another interesting combination is HMB with creatine. A study suggests that combining HMB and creatine has the potential to reduce cortisol levels more effectively than using these two nutrients separately. This will help individuals decrease stress when taking this combination [4].

However, getting advice from a healthcare provider before starting any new nutrient supplementation is crucial, especially if it involves mixing various supplements. This ensures the combination is safe and suitable for your health needs.


How Long Does It Take For HMB To Work?

HMB significantly impacts individuals without prior training, yielding noticeable results within 2-4 weeks. However, for those already engaged in activity, the timeframe for optimal effectiveness may extend to at least six weeks [9].

Can Women Take HMB?

Currently, there is an absence of adverse research findings or negative opinions concerning the usage of HMB by women. HMB is recognized as a safe supplement suitable for individuals of varying ages and genders [9].

Is HMB Safe For Diabetics?

According to user feedback, HMB supplementation does not affect glucose control in individuals with diabetes.

How Long Does HMB Stay In Your System?

Limited information exists regarding the duration of HMB in the human system. One study, among the few available, determined that HMB has an elimination half-life of approximately 2.5 hours and is fully metabolized within 9 hours of absorption [8].

Can HMB Cause Cancer?

Cancer patients who have lower muscle mass are at a higher risk of experiencing toxicity during treatment. On the other hand, HMB, renowned for its positive effects on muscle development and strength, is considered advantageous for cancer patients.

Does HMB Spike Insulin?

Based on anecdotal feedback, HMB has been shown to lower insulin levels in the bloodstream effectively. Always get advice from a healthcare provider before starting any new dietary supplementation.

Does HMB Raise Blood Pressure?

According to a study, the supplementation of HMB has been found to impact reducing blood pressure [8].

Should You Take HMB Everyday?

According to most studies, the optimal effectiveness is achieved by supplementing with 3g of HMB daily.

Is Hmb Like A Steroid?

HMB, a metabolite derived from the amino acid leucine, occurs naturally in the human body, setting it apart from steroids. In light of user feedback, HMB is widely acknowledged to be more productive than steroids.

Does Hmb Burn Fat?

In a trial, it was reported that HMB has the potential to burn fat and reduce body fat effectively. However, the effect of HMB in this regard is still a subject of considerable debate, highlighting the need for further research to gain a clearer understanding.

Is Hmb Good For People Over 60?

HMB is significant for individuals over 60, as it is vital in improving strength and preventing age-related muscle loss. Its value lies in enhancing physical performance and maintaining muscle mass as we age.

Is Hmb Safe For The Heart?

HMB has a proven safety record and helps prevent the risk of heart diseases and strokes, as demonstrated by numerous studies [1].


HMB supplementation offers numerous benefits for individuals of all ages, fitness levels, and health conditions. Its potential to enhance muscle strength, prevent muscle atrophy, reduce cortisol levels, and even aid in fat loss makes it a valuable addition to any wellness routine. Additionally, benefits of HMB can be further amplified with other supplements such as vitamin D3 and creatine. You can significantly enhance your health and fitness journey by consistently incorporating HMB into your lifestyle and utilizing it intelligently.


[1] Arazi, H., Taati, B., & Suzuki, K. (2021). HMB Supplementation and Resistance Training: Current Overview on Inflammation, Oxidative Stress and Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Recent Research Advances in Biology Vol. 5, 155–168.
[2] Courel-Ibáñez, Vetrovsky, Dadova, Pallarés, & Steffl. (2019). Health Benefits of β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation in Addition to Physical Exercise in Older Adults: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 11(9), 2082.
[3] Debasis , B., Chandan , K. S., & Sreejayan, N. (2019). Nutrition and Enhanced Sports Performance. Elsevier.
[4] Fernández-Landa, J., Fernández-Lázaro, D., Calleja-González, J., Caballero-García, A., Córdova, A., León-Guereño, P., & Mielgo-Ayuso, J. (2020). Long-Term Effect of Combination of Creatine Monohydrate Plus β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) on Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Anabolic/Catabolic Hormones in Elite Male Endurance Athletes. Biomolecules, 10(1), 140.
[5] Nissen, S. L., & Abumrad, N. N. (1997). Nutritional role of the leucine metabolite β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB). The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 8(6), 300–311.
[6] Prado, C. M., Orsso, C. E., Pereira, S. L., Atherton, P. J., & Deutz, N. E. P. (2022). Effects of β‐hydroxy β‐methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation on muscle mass, function, and other outcomes in patients with cancer: a systematic review. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle.
[7] Rathmacher, J., Pitchford, L., Khoo, P., Angus, H., Lang, J., Lowry, K., Ruby, C., Krajek, A., Fuller, J., & Sharp, R. (2020). Biological Sciences cite as. J Gerontol a Biol Sci Med Sci, 75(11), 2089–2097.
[8] Wilson, G. J., Wilson, J. M., & Manninen, A. H. (2008). Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: A review. Nutrition & Metabolism, 5(1).
[9] Wilson, J. M., Fitschen, P. J., Campbell, B., Wilson, G. J., Zanchi, N., Taylor, L., Wilborn, C., Kalman, D. S., Stout, J. R., Hoffman, J. R., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Lopez, H. L., Kreider, R. B., Smith-Ryan, A. E., & Antonio, J. (2013). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB). Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1).
[10] Zanchi, N. E., Gerlinger-Romero, F., Guimarães-Ferreira, L., de Siqueira Filho, M. A., Felitti, V., Lira, F. S., Seelaender, M., & Lancha, A. H. (2010). HMB supplementation: clinical and athletic performance-related effects and mechanisms of action. Amino Acids, 40(4), 1015–1025.
[11] Effect of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) on muscle strength in older men with prostate cancer (Pca) started on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT): Preliminary results of an open-label, randomized trial. | Journal of Clinical Oncology. (2018). Journal of Clinical Oncology.
[12] Coleman, M. F., Liu, K. A., Pfeil, A. J., Etigunta, S. K., Tang, X., Fabela, S., Lashinger, L. M., Cui, Z., & Hursting, S. D. (2021). β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate Supplementation Promotes Antitumor Immunity in an Obesity Responsive Mouse Model of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma. Cancers, 13(24), 6359–6359.
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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