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HMB-FA (HMB Free Acid)

If you’ve browsed the web for nutritional/supplemental substances that might help those on their weight training journey along the way, inevitably you come up with hits on HMB.

Some of you may know this already (I just found out recently), but the old embattled substance, HMB, is sort of back in the news. This time, its about a more efficient way to get HMB into and stored in the body. The current delivery is via HMB bonded to Calcium. The same claims of reduced muscle damage, etc are still made with HMB-FA. The theory is that if you can get HMB quicker and more efficiently into the muscles (the FA form is more efficient than the Calcium bonded form), you will reap the muscle damage blunting effect better.

Most information on it were done by the manufacturer or boasted by supplement companies trying to sell the product. This time there seems to be some 3rd party independent study on the nutrient that seems interesting.

Ergo-log has interesting but opinionated (and reaching) analysis on upcoming nutriceuticals and this is where I read about HMB-FA. A patent is referenced in their article as well as supporting study links.

It’s funny…just like training routines/ideas/etc, on the nutritional side, what was old is now new.

By the way, HMB never did diddly squat for me no matter how much I took. I personally doubt HMB-FA would be significantly different for me. However, I am one who would definitely at least try it.

The HMB-FA appears faster absorbed, but from these results it doesn’t clearly, if at all, appear that a greater proportion of the HMB itself is absorbed:

The doses were 1 g of Ca-HMB vs 1 g of HMB. At first glance that might sound equal, but actually one gram of Ca-HMB contains only 756 mg of HMB. So the amounts of HMB provided per dose were not equal.

If we wanted to compare how much HMB is delivered into the body, or how efficiently it is delivered, the most-nearly-equal comparison would be 1 g of Ca-HMB vs 756 mg of HMB, or if desired, 1.32 g of Ca-HMB vs 1 g of HMB.

Basically, by providing HMB as the free acid, per gram of material there is 32% more HMB.

The way that they did it, more actual HMB was being supplied in one way versus the other. So it takes no greater efficiency for the area under the curve to be greater with the dosage that contained more HMB: that would be expected.

By eyeball, it doesn’t appear that the the area under the curve, which represents the total amount delivered, is necessarily to statistical significance any more for the HMB-FA compared to the the Ca-HMB than is accounted for by there being 32% more HMB in the dose.

Btw, as you know, there was a big backlash against HMB back in the late 90s as a result of it being massively hyped and clearly not delivering much for trained lifters and definitely not being worth the money. I never assumed it didn’t work at all, though, and thought it likely it probably did have some modest or at least slight value, though personally like you I couldn’t tell the difference. What has happened now is that the raw materials cost of HMB is now far lower than in the past, even being included in products for geriatrics, so it’s drawn new interest. It’s possible that it’s worth the now-much-lower cost; it certainly wasn’t worth what it used to cost, but that’s no longer an issue.

The study ( http://www.jissn.com/content/10/1/6 ) states: "However, research with HMB-FA is in its infancy, and there is not enough research to support whether one form is superior. " I would add to that sentence, “particularly if equal amounts of HMB are supplied, which was not the case in the present study.”

EDIT: The absorption data above is, rather than measured by these authors themselves which they absolutely don’t state that they did, cited from a publication authored by this group ( http://mettechinc.com/ ) which clearly has financial interest. That is not to say that the data is wrong, but only that it should be noted, as at first glance I had mistakenly thought that this was independent data.

I believe Bill Phillips once said that HMB felt like he was on Deca.

He did. That was at the very introduction of HMB to the market.

Bill, leave it to you to lay out a very thoughtful analysis of the study. Most excellent, as usual. Thanks for taking the time to look into it!

The most HMB I took “back in the day” (expensive and all) was 9 grams/day. That is 3 times the suggested dosage of 3 grams/day, and I experienced absolutely nothing from the intake. This is not to say however that everyone wouldn’t experience maybe some benefit…the studies indicating HMB can reduce muscle damage for some is intriguing none the less. This intake was done without steroids at the time to make sure I wasn’t “mixing” ergo-compounds that would make it difficult to assess what could be doing what.

But to be quite frank, it was the introduction of HMB and the utter letdown it was for me that convinced me once and for all (back then) that all supplements were scams and that real pharmaceutical anabolics were the only legit way of looking and feeling boosted.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
The HMB-FA appears faster absorbed, but from these results it doesn’t clearly, if at all, appear that a greater proportion of the HMB itself is absorbed:

The doses were 1 g of Ca-HMB vs 1 g of HMB. At first glance that might sound equal, but actually one gram of Ca-HMB contains only 756 mg of HMB. So the amounts of HMB provided per dose were not equal.

If we wanted to compare how much HMB is delivered into the body, or how efficiently it is delivered, the most-nearly-equal comparison would be 1 g of Ca-HMB vs 756 mg of HMB, or if desired, 1.32 g of Ca-HMB vs 1 g of HMB.

Basically, by providing HMB as the free acid, per gram of material there is 32% more HMB.

The way that they did it, more actual HMB was being supplied in one way versus the other. So it takes no greater efficiency for the area under the curve to be greater with the dosage that contained more HMB: that would be expected.

By eyeball, it doesn’t appear that the the area under the curve, which represents the total amount delivered, is necessarily to statistical significance any more for the HMB-FA compared to the the Ca-HMB than is accounted for by there being 32% more HMB in the dose.

Btw, as you know, there was a big backlash against HMB back in the late 90s as a result of it being massively hyped and clearly not delivering much for trained lifters and definitely not being worth the money. I never assumed it didn’t work at all, though, and thought it likely it probably did have some modest or at least slight value, though personally like you I couldn’t tell the difference. What has happened now is that the raw materials cost of HMB is now far lower than in the past, even being included in products for geriatrics, so it’s drawn new interest. It’s possible that it’s worth the now-much-lower cost; it certainly wasn’t worth what it used to cost, but that’s no longer an issue.

The study ( http://www.jissn.com/content/10/1/6 ) states: "However, research with HMB-FA is in its infancy, and there is not enough research to support whether one form is superior. " I would add to that sentence, “particularly if equal amounts of HMB are supplied, which was not the case in the present study.”

EDIT: The absorption data above is, rather than measured by these authors themselves which they absolutely don’t state that they did, cited from a publication authored by this group ( http://mettechinc.com/ ) which clearly has financial interest. That is not to say that the data is wrong, but only that it should be noted, as at first glance I had mistakenly thought that this was independent data.[/quote]

You can read before that graphic(http://www.jissn.com/content/10/1/6): “there would be no difference in digestion kinetics between HMB-Ca and HMB-FA [31]. However, this is not the case as comparison of 0.8 g of HMB-FA to 1.0 g HMB-Ca (equivalent amounts of HMB) resulted in a doubling of peak plasma levels in one-fourth the time (30 vs. 120 minutes) in the HMB-FA compared with the HMB-Ca [30] (Figure 2)” Maybe there is a mistake with that 1gr of HMB-FA on the graphic.

is this about the research Dr. Jake Wilson did something like 3-12 months ago?

This study looks interesting:

http://www.biolayne.com/news/co-author-on-new-university-of-tampa-hmb-research-paper-in-the-british-journal-of-nutrition/

I have to say that I have used this stuff and it is terrible, doesn’t seem to do anything and is getting pretty crappy reviews everywhere to. Has to make you wonder if the study was a total fraud or what?

[quote]fightnews wrote:
I have to say that I have used this stuff and it is terrible, doesn’t seem to do anything and is getting pretty crappy reviews everywhere to. Has to make you wonder if the study was a total fraud or what?[/quote]

Orly? Here’s my start and 12 weeks later with HMB-FA + Micro-PA in the post after this one:


After 12 weeks with HMB-FA + Micro-PA:

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:
After 12 weeks with HMB-FA + Micro-PA:

[/quote]

So what was the results by the numbers?

[quote]Myosin wrote:

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:
After 12 weeks with HMB-FA + Micro-PA:

[/quote]

So what was the results by the numbers?[/quote]

12-14 lbs scale weight increase. A bit softer now as you can tell in the photo, but relative to the amount of size and weight I’ve gained, pretty negligible fat gain.

Strength-wise, I’ve only really tested my db flat bench throughout. Gained 40 lbs on that lift (20 lbs each side), went from a newly acquired 80 lbs training max to 100 lbs training max (hit that one last week). Last time I went for 3RM squats, I did 315, I’ve been training @ 225 + 60 lbs of chains for squats the past few weeks, reps have been going up on those with the last session hitting 1x10 followed by 3x8 on those. Going to test my squat next week along with my deadlift. IMHO, both those lift most definitely went up quite a bit, I just haven’t tested to see by how much.

So this is with a combination of using HMB-FA with the Micro-PA. Micro-PA I had been using for 2 bottles straight prior to starting the HMB-FA. Micro-PA alone got me 3 lbs of scale weight pretty quick on the first bottle (my guess is a jump in glycogen and intracellular water retention).

I did put in a lot of work though, HMB-FA isn’t really an anabolic so it’s not going to put muscle on you, but it’s really effective as an anti-catabolic as it directly inhibits protein breakdown. Layman’s terms, you have a higher capacity to train (train more) as well as having a much better protein breakdown to protein sythesis ratio.

@kissdadookie: Where are you getting your HMB from?

[quote]money24 wrote:
@kissdadookie: Where are you getting your HMB from?[/quote]

Only one company has the FA currently. I’m obviously not going to promote other stuff on T-Nation :wink:

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:

[quote]money24 wrote:
@kissdadookie: Where are you getting your HMB from?[/quote]

Only one company has the FA currently. I’m obviously not going to promote other stuff on T-Nation ;)[/quote]

Oh yeah wasn’t asking you to haha. They obviously just don’t have it here, otherwise I’d totally grab it here as I use all their other stuff.

12-14lbs sounds a bit much. The study claims 16lbs in 12 weeks and I find that hard to believe. Do you change anything else other than your supplementation? This sounds/looks like newbie gains.

[quote]Myosin wrote:
12-14lbs sounds a bit much. The study claims 16lbs in 12 weeks and I find that hard to believe. Do you change anything else other than your supplementation? This sounds/looks like newbie gains.[/quote]

I’ve mentioned my lifting numbers earlier when you asked. You can decide for yourself if going from a newly achieved 80 lbs db flat bench working max to a 100 lbs db flat bench working max in 12 weeks time is noob gains or not.

You can also look at my before and after photos. 12-14 lbs scale weight gain, very obvious that I also softened up a bit but for that amount of scale weight gain, the fat gain is negligible if you go by the photos.

I also did not use the training protocol from the HMB-FA study. I adhered to my own training which I have been using for the past 6+ months. Only thing different with the training when running the HMB-FA was that I tossed in a 2 training week back to back with no rest day (I don’t really have rest days anyway TBH, my non-lift day is basically forearms/grip accessory work + HIIT/conditioning, 5 days lift, 1 day forearms/grip + HIIT/conditioning) at the start of the HMB-FA run and a second one towards weeks 7 and 8 of the HMB-FA run. I would have done another 10 day training cycle for weeks 11 and 12 if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m trying to keep my joints together long enough to around November in which I plan on tapering for a week or two. My training is also a daily undulating periodized model.

Diet was on a surplus of around 500 calories. I did adjust calories depending on how much I bloated or if I noticed getting a little too tubby too quickly.

Supplementation-wise, HMB-FA was the only change. After 4 weeks or so into the HMB-FA run, I actually took out two of the supplements I was using for months straight prior because I ran out of those two things and didn’t bother to restock, so if anything, I ended up taking less stuff. I also switched to Spike tablets halfway through the HMB-FA run, which again means taking way less stuff supplementation-wise because the Spike took the place of the preworkouts I typically use.

IMHO, the study is legit but you can be darn sure that it was NOT 16 lbs average of muscle mass gain. Dr. Wilson has been pretty clear in no uncertain terms that it was LBM gains which of course includes glycogen and intracellular water retention (remember that there was a 2 week overreach phase followed by a 2 week taper phase in the study, this really pushes for super compensation at the end). HMB also works, you’re just going to be very disappointed if you start using it expecting some sort of very anabolic compound. It’s not very anabolic, it’s only modestly anabolic (it does stimulate mTOR) but is less effective than adequate bolus leucine dosing as well as having no additive anabolic effects when used together with adequate bolus leucine dosing. What the stuff does though, it’s main MOA, is that it directly inhibits protein breakdown via the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolysis dependent pathway. So this directly improves your recovery because you have a more positive protein synthesis to protein breakdown ratio (one of the main reasons Plazma/peri-workout nutrition is so important, we’re trying to improve the protein synthesis to protein breakdown ratio). Layman’s terms is that you have a far greater training capacity but if you don’t take advantage of that capacity by adjusting your training, you’re leaving the benefits of HMB behind.

Ultimately, there’s two scenarios that I honestly feel HMB is going to be excellent for:

  1. If you train like a damn machine/animal (objectively, not subjectively).
  2. If you’re on a caloric deficit and thus being in a state where catabolism is an issue (HMB directly inhibits muscle catabolism, it’s been demonstrated in multiple animal models and has been looked at and found to be positive in populations prone to muscle wasting such as AIDS and cancer patients as well as for NASA astronauts in which being in space makes them prone to muscle wasting).

I’m glad you made progress but I have to say you gained more fat than you think. Remember when you gain fat you gain it all over not just in 1 place. I believe you could of gotten the exact same results with just the PA. Also aren’t you using Plazma to? It’s not just me that thinks clear muscle is a bust, HMB-fa has been getting universally panned all over the place.

But honestly bro If you want to seriously grow you’re going to need more rest days. Working out for 2hrs a day 7 days a week isn’t going to do it. You gotta bring that mass up to match that knowledge,

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:

[quote]Myosin wrote:

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:
After 12 weeks with HMB-FA + Micro-PA:

[/quote]

So what was the results by the numbers?[/quote]

12-14 lbs scale weight increase. A bit softer now as you can tell in the photo, but relative to the amount of size and weight I’ve gained, pretty negligible fat gain.

Strength-wise, I’ve only really tested my db flat bench throughout. Gained 40 lbs on that lift (20 lbs each side), went from a newly acquired 80 lbs training max to 100 lbs training max (hit that one last week). Last time I went for 3RM squats, I did 315, I’ve been training @ 225 + 60 lbs of chains for squats the past few weeks, reps have been going up on those with the last session hitting 1x10 followed by 3x8 on those. Going to test my squat next week along with my deadlift. IMHO, both those lift most definitely went up quite a bit, I just haven’t tested to see by how much.

So this is with a combination of using HMB-FA with the Micro-PA. Micro-PA I had been using for 2 bottles straight prior to starting the HMB-FA. Micro-PA alone got me 3 lbs of scale weight pretty quick on the first bottle (my guess is a jump in glycogen and intracellular water retention).

I did put in a lot of work though, HMB-FA isn’t really an anabolic so it’s not going to put muscle on you, but it’s really effective as an anti-catabolic as it directly inhibits protein breakdown. Layman’s terms, you have a higher capacity to train (train more) as well as having a much better protein breakdown to protein sythesis ratio.[/quote]
Like i said in the other post the fat gain is more then you think, you are biased looking at your own picture. I’m not bringing this up to insult you, you made some progress but the study on hmbfa claims you will lose fat up to 10 lbs lol. And you keep saying anti catabolic, anti catabolic. Going catabolic has everything to do with cortisol and stress hmb-fa does nothing for that.