It’s well known that weight training stimulates the immune system to release factors (i.e., cytokines) that regulate inflammation and muscle breakdown. As such, several studies suggest that cytokines play fundamental roles in muscle damage and repair associated with weight training. After several weeks of training the body adapts by altering the cytokine response, creating a better environment for muscle growth and recovery.
β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyric acid (A.K.A. HMB) is found in muscle fibers and is an active anabolic metabolite of the essential branched chain amino acid leucine. Research has shown that leucine and its metabolites can augment protein synthesis and alter the immune system. HMB supplementation has been shown to increase strength and lean mass gains in resistance-trained humans.
In a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition scientists have shown for the first time that an HMB containing amino acid supplement favorably alters the immune response to heavy resistance training in young men. They concluded that 12-weeks of heavy resistance training with an HMB supplement augments the muscle cytokine environment in favor of growth and repair better than placebo. These findings provide a viable mechanism by which HMB increases strength and lean mass with weight training.
Action Point: If you want to reap the immunomodulatory benefits by adding HMB to your supplement regimen, we recommend taking 2 to 3 grams of HMB with a protein shake, 2 to 3 times per day. Make sure one dose is taken 30 minutes preworkout.