A study presented at the Experimental Biology '98 conference held in San Francisco revealed that beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate (HMB), a supplement popular with strength athletes, may also offer significant benefits to endurance athletes. In this study, runners who added 3 grams of supplemental HMB to their daily nutrition program experienced 50% less muscle damage than athletes who used a placebo. HMB-supplemented runners showed an average increase of only 145 units per liter of blood of a muscle damage "by-product" called creatine phosphokinase (CPK). The placebo group had an average increase of 230 units of CPK per liter 24 hours following a 20-kilometer race. The greater elevation of CPK in the non-HMB-supplemented subjects shows scientists that an enhanced degree of muscle damage occurred. The HMB supplemented runners also maintained or improved leg strength, whereas the placebo group lost leg strength. HMB may be important in reducing the amount of muscle damage associated with almost any type of strenuous physical activity-be it weight training, running, or virtually any other type of strenuous physical activity that results in soreness and/or muscle damage.
Sharp, R. Less pain, more gain for distance runners on HMB. Presented at the national meeting of Experimental Biology, San Francisco, CA.