HMB for cutting
Beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl-butyrate, also known as HMB, is often supplemented to take away your body’s dependence on the essential amino acid leucine. Although HMB is naturally produced in the body as a by-product of leucine, the amino acid is essential, as it can’t be produced in the body -meaning that HMB production could be limited.
Instead, some gym goers use HMB supplements to ensure that their bodies have sufficient levels of HMB. When following a calorie-deficit diet, your body is exposed to a catabolic environment, which could lead to a loss of muscle tissue through protein breakdown. Here, we look at how HMB could support the cutting process:
What is cutting?
When your aim is to lose body fat, you might decide to have a ‘cutting’ phase. A cutting phase usually entails cutting back on your calories and following a calorie-deficit diet meaning you consume less calories than your body ideally needs. This helps encourage your body to breakdown body fat for the energy that it is missing out on in your diet.
Protein should be one of your main macronutrients in your diet because it is key in helping maintain muscle tissue when your body is at a calorie-deficit. Cutting your calories can expose your body to a catabolic environment whereby your body tries to breakdown muscle for energy – however, even when cutting, you want to maintain muscle.
How can HMB help?
To maintain or gain muscle tissue, protein synthesis must either equal or exceed protein breakdown. However, on a calorie-deficit diet, your body might breakdown muscle tissue to fulfil its energy cravings. This causes muscle loss; instead, your aim is for your body to breakdown body fat as energy. If muscle can be maintained, your body has the opportunity to make the most of your recovery process and potentially burn your body fat as fuel.
HMB production can be limited in the body because it relies on leucine being available. The more protein available, the more HMB is likely to be produced. Protein plays a key role in protein synthesis which helps muscle growth. However, supplementing HMB helps to maintain HMB levels without depending on the branched-chain amino acid, leucine.