Endurance

In addition to the studies supporting the use of HMB supplementation during resistance training, there is evidence to suggest that HMB can improve endurance as well. In a study by Vukovich and Dreifort,5 competitive cyclists were randomly assigned in a double-blinded manner to one of three different supplementation periods (placebo, 3 g of HMB/day, or 3 g of leucine/day). Each cyclist completed each 2-week supplementation period with a 2-week washout period in-between periods. Maximal oxygen consumption and onset of blood lactate were measured prior to and after the 2 weeks of supplementation for each treatment. The cyclists maintained their current training volume throughout the study period. The results showed that HMB supplementation (3 g/day) resulted in a 3.6% increase in the time to reach VO2 peak, while time to reach VO2 peak decreased by -3.6% and -1.2% for the placebo and leucine treatments, respectively (p < 0.05). The onset of blood lactate accumulation was also delayed with HMB supplementation. At 2 mM blood lactate, VO2 was significantly increased by 9.1% with HMB supplementation (p < 0.05), compared with 2.1% and 0.75% nonsignificant increases during the leucine and placebo supplementations, respectively. These findings suggest that HMB supplementation may improve the ability to exercise at a greater intensity for a longer duration. Similarly, O'Connor and Crowe50 investigated the effects of HMB supplementation on the aerobic capacity of elite male rugby players. Although not significantly different, HMB supplementation resulted in a 2.3 ml/kg/min increase in aerobic power, while the control group experienced no change in aerobic power.50 The results from this study need to be cautiously interpreted because the highly trained and motivated subjects were not blinded to the treatments.

Although not showing a significant effect on the indicators of endurance performance (VO2 max/peak), studies by Knitter et al.6 and Byrd et al.51 reported that HMB supplementation can decrease the muscle damage and soreness associated with either prolonged or downhill running. In conclusion, HMB is one of the few, if not only, nutritional supplements shown to improve indicators of endurance performance.

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