Background: β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate-free acid (HMB-FA) has been ingested prior to exercise to reduce muscle damage, however the effects of HMB-FA supplementation on hormonal, strength and power adaptation are unclear.
Methods: Sixteen healthy men were matched and randomized into two groups and performed six-week resistance training while supplementing with either HMB-FA or placebo (3 g per day). The subjects were evaluated for 1 repetition maximum (1RM) bench press and leg press and vertical jump (VJ) prior to and after training intervention. In addition, blood samples were obtained before and after resistance training to evaluate resting growth hormone (GH), insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), testosterone (TEST), cortisol (CORT), and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) responses. The HMB-FA supplementation group showed greater gains compared with the placebo group in peak power (effect size ES = 0.26 vs. 0.01) and 1RM leg press (ES = 1.52 vs. 0.96). In addition, the HMB-FA supplementation group indicated greater decrements in ACTH and CORT responses to training in comparison to the placebo group (p < 0.05). Likewise, in GH (ES = 1.41 vs. 0.12) and IGF-1 (ES = 0.83 vs. 0.41), the HMB-FA indicated greater training effects when compared with the placebo group.
Conclusions: These findings provide further support for the potential anabolic benefits associated with HMB-FA supplementation.
Keywords: HMB free acid; muscle mass; sports nutrition; supplementation.