You can’t build big, strong muscles without a properly functioning immune system. Period. It’s well-known that weight training stimulates the immune system to release factors, including proteins called cytokines, that regulate inflammation and muscle breakdown. Several studies suggest that cytokines play fundamental roles in muscle damage and repair associated with working out. After several weeks of training, the body adapts by altering the cytokine response, creating a better environment for muscle growth and recovery. 

That brings us to β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyric acid (HMB for short), which 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. Hence, HMB supplementation has been shown to increase strength and lean mass gains in resistance-trained humans (i.e., you). 

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, scientists showed 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 such training with an HMB supplement augments the muscle cytokine environment in favor of growth and repair better than a placebo.

Action Point: If you want to reap the benefits of adding HMB to your supplement regimen, we recommend taking 2 to 3 grams of HMB with a protein shake two to three times per day. Make sure one dose is taken about 30 minutes before your workout.