This page may contain affiliate links and we may earn a small amount of money from any products bought. Our reviews, however, remain independent and impartial.
You may have heard of HMB or Hydroxymethylbutyrate to give it its full name. HMB supplements have been touted as ‘better than steroids’ for building muscle by some fitness enthusiasts, but does it live up to its reputation? What benefits does HMB really offer?
The good news is that HMB is a proven supplement. And it does a lot more than you may think, especially when stacked with other beneficial supplements. It can preserve muscle, aid muscle recovery, enhance endurance, increase strength, and is ideal for fasted exercise.
After reviewing dozens of supplements, we believe that Burn Lab Pro is the best HMB supplement currently available on the market.
Or read on to learn why we chose this product as our #1 HMB supplement recommendation.
What is HMB?
HMB occurs naturally as a by-product of leucine breakdown. Leucine, of course, is recognised as the most useful BCAA – Branched Chain Amino Acid – for building muscle.
Leucine, along with isoleucine and valine, makes up more than a third of the protein in your muscles, hence it plays a significant role in muscle synthesis or the creation of more muscle. Leucine also helps with exercise recovery.
Note that while you can get HMB from supplementing with leucine, only 5% of the leucine is converted into HMB on average, meaning it’s an ineffective process. Studies also show that HMB is more potent than its parent anyway, so it’s worth supplementing with HMB direct.
HMB acts similarly to leucine in the body with one significant difference: while leucine is better at encouraging protein synthesis and muscle growth, HMB is better at preventing protein breakdown and muscle loss (anti-catabolic). Meaning you won’t lose the muscles you already worked hard for, important if you’re dieting, cutting, or limiting calories, for instance, or struggle to retain muscle. Let’s examine that a bit more…
Benefits of HMB Supplementation
Preventing Muscle Loss
As we said above, the beauty of HMB is that it’s ideal for preventing muscle breakdown, effectively preserving lean muscle mass. It is an anti-catabolism agent, as opposed to a straight anabolic one (muscle-building). Particularly useful when you’re cutting, fasting, or exercising on a strict calorie-controlled diet.
Preserving lean muscle mass is important for a few reasons:
- You don’t want to lose all the muscle that you worked so hard to build up.
- Having more lean muscle helps to increase your basal metabolic rate – the rate at which your body burns off calories while at rest. So if you maintain your muscle mass, you can naturally use up more calories anyway even while doing nothing!
- Maintaining muscle mass helps to increase your strength and resilience, helps with future exercise, and reduces the chance of injury.
HMB is Ideal for Fasted Training
Fasted dieting – such as intermittent fasting — is an increasingly popular way to lose weight, and anyone working out while on a fasting diet is likely to be doing so without any calories behind them.
Not only does this mean that you’re operating on little fuel and won’t be able to work out or lift as hard because your energy is low, but you’re also at risk of muscle breakdown if you don’t take a supplement like Burn Lab Pro to prevent it.
Less fuel = less energy = less of a workout = less chance to add muscle.
PLUS, more muscle breakdown and deterioration = muscle shrinkage.
You really should be using a supplement with an effective anti-catabolic agent to prevent muscle loss if you’re training in a fasted state.
Consider this: exercising in a fasted state means you have little glucose circulating in your system. This means less energy and endurance, but it does have a positive: a lack of glucose as fuel pushes your body to use your fat stores for energy instead. Hence fat loss. However, that same search for alternate fuel sources also means that your body will turn to muscle and break down your muscle mass for fuel/ energy too. Not what you want.
Take HMB instead. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition demonstrates that HMB is an ideal supplement for anyone following intermittent fasting. Following studies on a group of men and women during a 24-hour fast, HMB supplementation was shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol by 32% (fasting puts a lot of stress on the body), and increase testosterone by 162% in men, providing an ideal environment for muscle growth and preservation.
HMB Encourages Muscle Protein Synthesis and Muscle Gain
HMB is known to work in a similar way to leucine by activating the mTOR signalling pathway that stimulates protein synthesis, helping to build lean muscle mass. Granted, this isn’t HMB’s primary focus, but it still gives an added benefit and can be pretty effective when combined with its strong ability to prevent muscle protein breakdown as well.
HMB Reduces Exercise-Related Muscle Damage
HMB has been shown to reduce key markers of muscle damage after exercise and speed up the recovery process. Meaning you can get back into the gym quicker.
HMB Boosts Endurance and Strength
It stands to reason that any supplement that can both encourage muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscle protein breakdown – such as HMB – leads to greater strength. As does HMB’s ability to speed recovery after exercise, ensuring you can keep to your training regimen.
More lean muscle mass gains = more strength and better endurance. This study, for instance, shows that HMB contributes to increased upper body strength.
HMB has also been shown to boost VO2 max and enhance endurance by delaying the lactic acid build-up that can cause muscle fatigue.
HMB Supplementation May Be Useful for Older Adults Too
Studies have shown that HMB supplementation can have a positive impact on muscle mass, muscle functionality, and exercise / rehabilitation recovery following surgery or illness. It may also reduce the detrimental results of age-related loss of strength. Promising studies also show potential benefits for bone density, abdominal obesity, and cognitive function, all of which may make HMB supplementation beneficial to older adults too.
Best HMB Supplement in the UK in 2021
Burn Lab Pro
We believe Burn Lab Pro is the best HMB supplement to buy in the UK in 2021. It’s classified as a fat burner, which means that it should be taken alongside a diet and exercise regime and can help you burn more calories during exercise than you would without it. As the product is stimulant-free, you don’t need to worry about any negative side effects of caffeine or any other stimulants.
Burn Lab Pro contains 1,500mg of HMB and is designed to help you shift your body composition from ‘sedentary fat to active muscle’ in a healthy, safe and sustainable way. It does this by providing fat burning and muscle building support.
Burn Lab Pro has been shown to:
- Encourage fat breakdown.
- Enhance the calories burned during exercise.
- Help to lose fat and limit fat storage.
- Preserve and retain muscle during fasted and non-fasted training.
- Boost your energy during exercise.
- Act as an appetite suppressant and regulate appetite.
- Balance blood sugar.
It achieves the above via a clever mix of ingredients alongside HMB. Creating a highly effective fat burning and muscle-saving stack.
Muscle building, muscle sparing, and muscle recovery. A great supplement! A solid dose of pure HMB too, significantly more than you’d be getting if you opted for BCAAs alone, given the 5% bioavailability rate.
Coleus forskohlii, 375mg
Coleus forskohlii is an Ayurvedic herb used to mobilise fat stores and boost metabolic activity. It increases the signalling hormone cAMP, which boosts metabolism via thermogenesis, increases muscle protein synthesis, and encourages the optimal performance of hormones such as the thyroid and testosterone. This Australian study shows that Coleus forskohlii supplementation helps to reduce risk factors of metabolic syndrome – the combination of high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity — in overweight people.
Capsimax, Cayenne Pepper Extract, 75mg
A traditional –and highly effective –thermogenesis agent, cayenne pepper extract raises body temperature, increasing the calories you burn. It’s also effective as an appetite suppressant, useful in a fat burner, and helps to encourage hormone-led fat burning.
BELLY FAT STACK: Note that the combination of cayenne pepper extract and Coleus Forskohlii is thought to be an excellent belly fat stack. The pro-cAMP activity of Coleus Forskohlii, combined with the pro-hormone activity of cayenne pepper, is believed to encourage the fat burning of visceral fat tissue, such as that around the stomach. While no product can and should claim to be able to target specific areas of fat, this combination’s ability to impact visceral fat increases the chance of it helping to tackle the deeper levels of fat within the abdominal cavity.
BioPerine, Black Pepper Extract, 3.75mg
BioPerine is a classy ingredient in Burn Lab Pro. It acts as a thermogenic agent in its own right, but also serves to increase the absorption and effectiveness of all other ingredients. Simply put, it makes the Burn Lab Pro formula more effective and faster to work.
NutriGenesis GTF Chromium, 90mcg.
GTF chromium has been linked to reductions in bodyweight and is believed to encourage a lean body composition. It optimises insulin action, helping with fat storage; maintains blood sugar to regulate appetite, and promotes the effective metabolism of proteins, fat, and dietary sugars. The NutriGenesis version included in Burn Lab Pro is cultivated with natural co-factors for enhanced bioavailability.
The Burn Lab Pro HMB stack is impressive: all ingredients work well together, they are carefully chosen, natural, and effective in their own right. Put them together, and you have a powerful fat burning, muscle-saving, muscle-growing and appetite suppressant stack that is ideal for fasted and non-fasted training.
PLUS… Extra Bonus!
Burn Lab Pro is all-natural, eco-friendly and the cleanest fat burner that we know of on the market today. It is:
- Vegan friendly
- Free of soy, gluten, and other allergens
- Free from synthetic additives
- Regularly tested for banned substances
- Uses vegan-friendly plant-based prebiotic capsules to ease digestion and delivery.
STACK HMB WITH OTHERS FOR EXTRA BENEFITS
TESTO LAB PRO
Testo Lab Pro is another of the Lab Pro product range, alongside the excellent nootropic Mind Lab Pro. For men only, Testo Lab Pro helps to increase testosterone production naturally and safely, helping to enhance muscle growth and encourage virility.
HMB + Creatine
The combo of HMB and creatine – both of which contribute and enhance muscle strength and size – is a powerful one. Researchers examined the effects of HMB, creatine, and a combination of HMB and creatine, on participants doing progressive resistance training. While all groups saw an increase in size and strength, the combined HMB-creatine group experienced greater increases in muscle size and strength, PLUS a greater fall in body fat. The two complement each other perfectly.
You can find creatine in Performance Lab’s SPORT Pre (pre-workout) and Post (post-workout) products. Performance Lab products are made by the same manufacturer as Burn Lab Pro, and it is safe to take the products together.
OR, STACK BURN LAB PRO WITH…
PERFORMANCE LAB STIM
For those days when you need a bit more of a kick, there’s Performance Lab Stim, a crash-free caffeine pill. With 50mg of natural caffeine per capsule, you can tailor your dosage to match your needs. Stim supplies a gentle, safe boost to your energy and cognition, as well as your fat burning potential. Caffeine is another thermogenic agent, helping to raise your temperature to burn more calories.