HMB study points to supplementation’s role in reducing muscle soreness

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

HMB study points to supplementation’s role in reducing muscle soreness

Related tags Hmb DOMS Sports nutrition

Short-term supplementation of an essential amino acid metabolite could reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in football players, a study suggests.

The findings suggest that footballers can supplement with beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate free acid (HMB-FA) before training and competitions to accelerate recovery and improve performance.

“High plasma activity of serum creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzymes is commonly used as indicators of muscle tissue damage,”​ the study authors wrote.

“It has been demonstrated that these muscle enzymes enter the bloodstream when muscle cells are damaged.”

“The results of this study showed that HMB-FA supplementation reduced muscle injury indices, but this didn’t result in a significant change to the aerobic fitness index (VO2max) in the short term.”

Study protocol

The study enrolled 24 professional football players, who were divided into two groups: supplement-sport (n=12) and placebo-sport (n=12). 

Both groups then performed the simulated soccer protocol after receiving one gram of HMB-FA given as a capsule to players.

Here, the participants took the supplement with three meals (12 nights, 6 am, and 30 minutes before the soccer protocol).

The placebo contained amounts of corn syrup with oranges and sweeteners, each serving containing one gram in capsules overnight and one day in three servings (12 nights, 6 am, and 30 minutes before the protocol).

Blood samples were taken to measure serum CK and LDH levels before the supplementation and immediately after the protocol.

Data were analysed with intergroup comparison of data indicating that CK and LDH levels decreased significantly in the supplement group than in the placebo group.

Examination of intra-group changes of the CK index showed a significant difference between the mean before and after in both groups.

However, in the LDH index there was only a significant difference between the mean before and after in placebo-exercise.

The results of this study showed that acute use of HMB-FA supplementation reduces CK and LDH as indices of muscle injury in professional soccer players.

Mechs of action

“One possible mechanism of effect of HMB-FA supplementation on the reduction of muscle damage indices is increasing the proliferation and differentiation of satellite cells in fast-twitch fibers, thereby increasing the hypertrophy and altering the muscle function,” ​the research team put forward.

“Other possible mechanisms include increased mTOR pathway activation as well as increased IGF-1 expression.”

“Additionally, HMB may have the ability to reduce protein breakdown by blocking the ubiquitin proteosome pathway.”

The team also highlighted HMB supplementation’s effectiveness and compatibility in people who have not practiced compared to people who have practiced. For this reason, in trained people, its effectiveness and usefulness are in long periods.

The researchers also acknowledge that so far no such finding has been reported on the perceived recovery status of soccer players in a simulated soccer protocol.

“This finding shows that recovery depends not only on the psychological aspects of the athlete, but also on the metabolic and physiological condition at the beginning of the training session,”the team writes.  

“One of the advantages of daily knowledge of the athlete’s recovery condition is that one can be well aware of the effect of the principle of overload on physical condition as one of the main principles of exercise science.

“This is because an imbalance between this principle and the time period for recovery can lead to overtraining syndrome.”

Source: PNR

Published online: doi:10.47750/pnr.2022.13.01.013

“Response of Muscle Damage Indices to short-term supplementation of HMB-FA in professional soccer players”

Authors: Rezaeimanesh D

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