Supplementation with the Leucine Metabolite β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) does not Improve Resistance Exercise-Induced Changes in Body Composition or Strength in Young Subjects: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Journal Articles uri icon

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  • β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a leucine metabolite that is purported to increase fat-free mass (FFM) gain and performance in response to resistance exercise training (RET). The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the efficacy of HMB supplementation in augmenting FFM and strength gains during RET in young adults. Outcomes investigated were: total body mass (TBM), FFM, fat mass (FM), total single repetition maximum (1RM), bench press (BP) 1RM, and lower body (LwB) 1RM. Databases consulted were: Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (Medline), Excerpta Medica database (Embase), The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and SportDiscus. Fourteen studies fit the inclusion criteria; however, 11 were analyzed after data extraction and funnel plot analysis exclusion. A total of 302 participants (18–45 y) were included in body mass and composition analysis, and 248 were included in the strength analysis. A significant effect was found on TBM. However, there were no significant effects for FFM, FM, or strength outcomes. We conclude that HMB produces a small effect on TBM gain, but this effect does not translate into significantly greater increases in FFM, strength or decreases in FM during periods of RET. Our findings do not support the use of HMB aiming at improvement of body composition or strength with RET.


  • Jakubowski, Josephine S
  • Nunes, Everson A
  • Teixeira, Filipe J
  • Vescio, Victoria
  • Morton, Robert W
  • Banfield, Laura
  • Phillips, Stuart

publication date

  • May 23, 2020