Beta-methylbutyrate, more commonly known as HMB, is a metabolite of leucine. Leucine is an anabolic amino acid which synthesises muscle protein. In addition to helping to synthesise more muscle tissue, HMB is known to help prevent muscle breakdown, which makes it a very popular sports, bodybuilding and athletic supplement.
HMB is also thought to help lower cholesterol, and to maintain the correct nitrogen balance within the body. A positive nitrogen balance is essential for building muscle and for faster recovery following exercise.
HMB supplements are commonly available as either powder or capsules. The typical daily dose is usually split into two or three doses, and it's recommended that one dose be taken one hour before exercise, to allow time for its full effects to kick in and support the muscles.
Studies have shown that HMB is both safe and effective for athletes and sportspeople. Clinical research has shown no noticeable side effects from supplementation with HMB. Some athletes like to stack HMB with either alanine or creatine supplements, as these supplements will work with one another to enhance the other's effects.