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HMB stands for beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate. It is a metabolite of leucine, one of the body's essential amino acids, with small amounts found naturally in catfish, grapefruit and alfalfa. It is estimated that about three to five percent of leucine we consume in our protein foods get converted into HMB. HMB is also a natural component found in breast milk.

HMB is largely used by bodybuilders for hypertrophy gains. HMB is also noted to have other ergogenic effects, some being anti-catabolic, lipolytic and anabolic effects. HMB is also safe and even has health benefits like lowering our total cholesterol levels! In short, HMB supplementation makes one more muscular, burn more fat, and preserves more muscles by preventing muscle breakdown!

How it works:
The mechanisms of HMB's actions are still largely unknown. However, it is speculated that HMB increases fat oxidation by sparing or synthesising oxidative organelles such as mitochondria. Some studies have also shown that HMB can improve immune system functions.

It is also suggested that HMB be supplemented with L-carnitine, adequate protein consumption, and creatine monohydrate together in conjunction with training.

Note that as HMB is a metabolite of L-leucine, HMB is not an essential nutrient. Hence, you do not need to worry about deficiencies as long as you are consuming enough protein.

Side Effects:
Studies have been done on the effects of supplementing both humans and animals with HMB. No adverse side effects have been observed in animals consuming HMB in ranges between 8-5000mg per kg of bodyweight daily for a period up to 16 weeks.

It has become very popular amongst athletes in recent years mainly due to the role it plays in the synthesis of muscle tissue. HMB has been subjected to many studies that have reached some interesting conclusions.

One study showed that supplementation with 3 grams of HMB per day increased participants' strength by a factor of three compared with placebo takers. Supplementing with the same amount also saw a reduction in bad cholesterol compared with the placebo group.

Clearly there is significant scientific backing for claims that HMB can speed up muscle growth, strength, endurance and fat loss. There are no known side effects when taken properly in amounts ranging from 3-5 grams each day. It should be taken before training or at bed time for best results.

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