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During exercise, your body needs as much energy as possible for optimum performance. Some gym goers opt to use supplements to support their workout, helping to maximise their desired results. Some options include BCAA and HMB supplements – they can be taken together or separately. HMB is a metabolite of leucine, which is a branched-chain amino acid that can’t be naturally produced in the body. Leucine is part of the trio that make BCAAs alongside isoleucine and valine. However, leucine tends to be the main component, which is why it is usually the highest in the ratio of the three.

Clearly, the BCAA leucine needs to be present to produce HMB naturally. But how do the benefits of each supplement differ?

Benefits of BCAA

Branched-chain amino acids are essential amino acids because the body must outsource these externally within food in our diets, such as meat, fish and eggs – or by taking BCAA supplements. Usually supplemented when your body is following a calorie-deficit diet, BCAAs help to support your workouts. Here we look at some of the main benefits:

  • During exercise, your body requires high energy levels – BCAAs are a rapid supplement which are metabolised primarily in skeletal muscle, meaning they skip your liver and directly enter your bloodstream to provide your body with these essential amino acids.
  • BCAAs are the building blocks of protein, your body requires protein for an energy source.
  • Protein synthesis must exceed protein breakdown for muscle growth.

Benefits of HMB

HMB, also known as beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl-butyrate, is a by-product from a portion of the essential amino acid, leucine. It is produced naturally when leucine is present in the body. Whilst it can be produced in the body, some gym goers opt to use HMB supplements to support their workout – here we look at some of the reasons why:

  • Supplementing HMB takes away your bodies reliance of leucine for production meaning HMB levels aren’t limited.
  • Leucine levels must be high for HMB to be produced, and your body requires protein for muscles to repair, and for energy.