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At the ISSN Conference this past weekend Dr. Jacob Wilson and his colleagues revealed new research on the effects of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate Free Acid (HMB-FA). HMB-FA is a new and improved delivery form of HMB and is more readily available to tissues when taken orally than the currently available powdered form, Calcium HMB (CaHMB). The results from a previously reported study comparing HMB clearance from plasma showed quicker and higher plasma levels of HMB with improved utilization by the tissues when using HMB-FA compared to CaHMB.
In the first study, Dr. Wilson’s group examined 20 resistance trained male athletes for 12 weeks to determine the effects of HMB-FA on muscle mass, strength, and power. To study these effects, all athletes were assigned to consume 3g per day of HMB-FA or a placebo. A diet consisting of equal total calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat was consumed by the subjects. The subjects then partook in full body workouts centered around the squat, bench press, and deadlift, and auxiliary training that consisted of pull-ups, military presses, bent over rows, barbells curls, and extensions. The HMB-FA group saw an increase of 18.3% in total strength while the placebo group only increased by 6.6%. When measuring the Wingate peak power, the HMB-FA group saw an increase of 21.9% and the placebo group had a 16.2% increase. Lastly, muscle thickness was increased to a greater extent in those athletes taking HMB-FA (14.5%) compared to the placebo group (4.7%). Dr. Wilson and colleagues concluded that HMB-FA can help enhance strength, power, and hypertrophy.
The researchers aim in the second study was to determine if supplementing with HMB-FA would have an effect on muscle damage. In this study, 20 trained males followed a very strict, controlled diet and participated in a high volume resistance training session. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive 3 g per day of HMB-FA or a placebo. Prior to exercise and 48 hours post workout, serum creatine kinase (CK), testosterone, cortisol, and perceived recovery scale (PRS) measurements were taken. Results showed that there was a greater increase in CK in the placebo group than the HMB-FA group. There were significant time effects for PRS. These decreased to a greater extent in the placebo group than the HMB-FA. These data demonstrate that HMB-FA can lessen muscle damage and prevent declines in readiness to train following an intense training session.
In the last reported study, Dr. Wilson and colleagues investigated the effects of HMB-FA supplementation on muscle damage, hormonal status, and performance following a high volume 2-week overtraining cycle. Twenty resistance trained males were recruited for this study and randomly assigned to consume 3 g per day of HMB-FA or a placebo. All subjects were placed on the same nutrition plan and participated in a 2-week high-volume resistance-training cycle. Subjects were tested on their measures of CK, cortisol, Wingate power and strength on the squat, bench press, and deadlift. This study showed that the placebo group’s CK baseline values increased at weeks one and two while the HMB-FA were similar. Strength levels in the squat, bench press, and deadlift also decreased in the placebo group at weeks one and two, but not in the HMB-FA group. Finally, cortisol increased during the 2-week overtraining cycle in the placebo group and remained unaffected in the HMB-FA group. In conclusion, these data suggests that HMB-FA given over a two-week high volume, low recovery training program does help prevent overtraining.
Abstracts will be made available soon.