Beta-hydroxy-beta-Methylbutyrate and its use in athletics

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2005 Aug;4(4):220-3. doi: 10.1097/01.csmr.0000306211.02681.d3.


Nutritional supplements are widely used by patients and athletes around the world for many different reasons. Many companies are thriving on this billion-dollar industry with little proof that these substances do what they are reported or suggested to do. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a relatively new supplement on the ergogenic landscape. Studies of HMB supplementation have shown minimal gains in strength and lean body mass in specific populations, mainly untrained athletes and patients with wasting syndromes. HMB use in those athletes involved in regular high-intensity exercise has not been proven to be beneficial when multiple variables are evaluated. Unlike other ergogenics, with HMB no adverse events have been reported in association with short-term use. Despite these findings, HMB cannot be recommended as an ergogenic until further studies in larger groups reproduce early data. This review summarizes current literature on HMB, and provides the reader with information to better educate and treat patients and athletes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Sports*
  • Valerates / metabolism
  • Valerates / pharmacology*
  • Wasting Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Weight Lifting


  • Valerates
  • beta-hydroxyisovaleric acid