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Leucine Metabolite HMB May Help Improve Aerobic Capacity in Athletes

HMB is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine. A recent study suggests that daily supplements containing HMB may reduce fat mass and improve aerobic capacity in athletes who are training for endurance sports.


Participants in the study included 16 elite male rowers with an average age of 20. They were given either three grams of HMB or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Following that there was a two-week washout period, after which the participants switched interventions.


The researchers found that HMB supplementation was associated with increases in maximum oxygen uptake, while the participants who took the placebo actually showed decreases. Additionally, the supplements were associated with increased ventilatory threshold, which reflects the beginning of lactate buildup and anaerobiosis.


HMB supplementation was also associated with an average 2 lb. weight loss over the 12-week period. The placebo, on the other hand, was associated with an average 1.7 lb. weight gain during the same time period.


Researchers from the Poznan University of Life Sciences and the Polish Wrestling Federation conducted the study. It was published on July 30, 2015, in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.


Leucine is an essential amino acid that stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis, which begins the muscle building process. In addition to building muscle, leucine also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Foods rich in leucine include soybeans, lentils, beef, peanuts, salmon, eggs and milk.

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