by Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.
The results of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research show that supplementation with the amino acid metabolite beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) may significantly improve the performance of sprinters and endurance athletes.
Specifically, Drs. Matthew Vukovich and Geri Dreifort from the Human Performance Laboratory at Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, found that cyclists who supplemented with three grams of HMB for only two weeks experienced an average 9 percent increase in their intensity of work effort at lactate threshold. Lactate threshold is the intensity of exercise at which lactic acid begins to accumulate in the body.
Such a dramatic increase, say the researchers, would lend support to the hypothesis that HMB may be an effective ergogenic aid for endurance athletes. It is important to emphasize, though, that this is the first peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled, published university study, which has investigated the effects of HMB on endurance athletes, so further research should be done to verify these findings.