Is Hmb a Steroid

Is Hmb a Steroid? Is HMB Better Than Steroids?

Suppose you are a gym enthusiast passionate about strong and attractive muscles. In that case, you are probably familiar with HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate).

However, not everyone understands what HMB is, whether it is a steroid, and whether it is more effective than steroids.

This article will explore and compare HMB and steroids, examine the controversies surrounding them, and help you get the most comprehensive view and make suitable choices for your workout regimen.


Key Takeaways

  • HMB is not a steroid.
  • HMB is a metabolite of leucine, an essential amino acid.
  • Steroids are synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of the hormone testosterone.
  • HMB can help increase muscle mass and reduce fat without the severe side effects of steroids.
  • Choosing between HMB and steroids depends on personal goals and the acceptance of associated risks.

Is HMB a Steroid?

First, to clarify, HMB and steroids are two different things. In other words, HMB is not a steroid and has distinct characteristics compared to steroids.

Specifically, HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate) is a metabolite of leucine. This essential amino acid is important in protein synthesis and muscle maintenance.

HMB has been shown to help increase muscle mass and reduce muscle protein breakdown, especially during intense training periods like those experienced by athletes​​ [1].

Explore the benefits of HMB for muscle growth in this article:

Benefits Of HMB for Muscle Growth And Preventing Muscle Loss

In recent years, HMB has gradually become widely used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts to build muscle. The primary way to supplement HMB is through various supplement forms.

This video will explore the comprehensive HMB benefits and how to use:

What is Steroid?

Steroids, specifically anabolic steroids, are synthetic compounds that have a structure similar to the hormone testosterone. They enhance protein synthesis, promote muscle growth, and improve strength​​ [2].

In reality, the use of steroids is much more common than HMB. Perhaps because both substances have beneficial effects on muscles, people often confuse them as the same.

However, these two products are entirely different, and using steroids can cause several severe side effects, including hormonal imbalances, liver damage, and cardiovascular risks, which have been documented in the past.

Is HMB Better Than Steroids?

To help you understand these two products better, let's compare them on various criteria to determine which one is truly superior:





Effective in increasing muscle mass and strength, especially in beginners or those recovering from injuries.

Capable of rapidly increasing muscle mass and strength.


Safe with minimal side effects. Some may experience mild digestive issues initially, but these symptoms typically subside over time​​.

Can cause many dangerous side effects, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, liver damage, psychological disorders, hormonal issues, and potential addiction​​.

Performance Enhancement

HMB can help improve workout performance by enhancing endurance and reducing muscle protein breakdown during intense training [3]​​.

Steroids can provide more noticeable and rapid performance enhancement than HMB, especially in sports requiring strength and endurance​​ [4].


HMB is generally affordable and easily available at supplement stores and online without a prescription.

Steroids are often more expensive and require a prescription to purchase legally. Additionally, the cost of medical supervision and treating side effects can be high.

Compare Steroid and HMB

Based on these detailed analyses, you might have a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each product.

To understand better, let's review the controversies surrounding HMB and steroids.

What is the Controversy Around HMB vs Steroids?

Controversy Around HMB vs Steroids

There remains a hot topic among those interested in fitness and health in general and HMB or steroids in particular.

Those who do not support HMB argue that it does not show significant differences in nutrition, BMI, or resistance improvement.

In a study based on rowing athletes, HMB did not bring noticeable differences in nutrition or resistance after a period of use.

However, it showed significant changes in the athletes' testosterone levels, increasing by up to 63.6% [5]​​.

Thus, while HMB may provide slower results, it does not mean it is ineffective. On the other hand, the side effects of steroids are almost indisputable.

Notably, the fact that steroids are banned in professional competitions is a significant disadvantage compared to HMB.

Read more: What Are the Benefits of HMB for Bodybuilding?

Why Should You Choose HMB or Steroids?

Answering this question will vary for each individual. To help you determine more easily, start with the following considerations:

  • Consider Your Goals: If you aim to increase muscle mass and strength quickly and accept the associated risks, steroids might be an option. However, HMB is a better choice if you want to build muscle safely and sustainably.
  • Health and Safety: HMB is a safer option with fewer side effects and does not pose long-term health risks. Conversely, steroids can cause many serious health issues and should be used under strict medical supervision.
  • Legal and Ethical Aspects: If you are a bodybuilder or part of any sports team, avoid steroids, as they can disqualify you from winning championships!


In conclusion, HMB and steroids can help increase muscle mass and improve workout performance.

However, they differ in how they work, their safety levels, and the associated risks. HMB is not a steroid and is a safe, effective option for those looking to build muscle without experiencing severe side effects.

However, choosing between HMB and steroids still depends on your personal goals and risk tolerance concerning your passion for fitness and health.

Therefore, be a smart user!


[1] Nissen, Steven L., and Naji N. Abumrad. "Nutritional Role of the Leucine Metabolite Β-hydroxy Β-methyl butyrate (HMB)." The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, vol. 8, no. 6, June 1997, pp. 300–11.
[2] Mottram, David R., and Alan J. George. "Anabolic Steroids." BaillièRe's Best Practice and Research in Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism/Baillière's Best Practice & Research. Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, vol. 14, no. 1, Mar. 2000, pp. 55–69.
[3] Zanchi, Nelo Eidy, et al. "HMB Supplementation: Clinical and Athletic Performance-related Effects and Mechanisms of Action." Amino Acids, vol. 40, no. 4, July 2010, pp. 1015–25.
[4] Wenbo, Zhang, and Zhang Yan. "The Uses of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Among Athletes; Its Positive and Negative Aspects- a Literature Review." Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, vol. Volume 16, Dec. 2023, pp. 4293–305.
[5] Jakubowski, Josephine S., et al. “Supplementation With the Leucine Metabolite Β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) Does Not Improve Resistance Exercise-Induced Changes in Body Composition or Strength in Young Subjects: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Nutrients, vol. 12, no. 5, May 2020, p. 1523.
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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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