HMB is a naturally occurring substance and a metabolite of leucine. Some of the leucine that comes in through your daily diet is ultimately converted by the body into HMB. This amount however, is quite minuscule. As such, we need to supplement with HMB to realize its full potential.
The main benefits of HMB are promoting muscle growth and muscle strength, and preventing muscle breakdown.
To add size and strength, HMB stimulates muscle protein synthesis, the main mechanism that causes your muscles to grow. The higher your levels of MPS, the greater your muscle-building potential. Specifically, HMB has been shown to increase MPS through the activation of the mTOR signaling pathway, which helps coordinate the delivery of fresh nutrients like amino acids and oxygen to your muscles.
To highlight its effectiveness, one study compared the effects of HMB to placebo. After 12 weeks of supplementation, researchers found significantly greater increases in lean muscle mass in participants who ingested HMB vs placebo (7.4 kg vs 2.1 kg respectively). The participants consuming HMB also added 55 more kgs to their squat, bench, and deadlift totals in comparison to subjects who received only a placebo.
To prevent muscle breakdown, HMB prevents the process known as muscle protein breakdown (MPB). In simple terms, less MPB ultimately equates to less recovery time. If an intense workout doesn’t do as much damage to your muscle tissues, it won’t take your body as much time to make repairs. Specifically, HMB alters muscle metabolism, and is shown to decrease the body’s production of enzymes like lactate dehydrogenase, which play a primary role in triggering MPB.
Phosphatidic Acid (PA) (Mediator™ PA)
Phosphatidic acid (PA) is a biomolecule produced naturally within your body. It plays an important part in cell signaling, the process of communication that takes place between your body’s cells in order to coordinate and regulate their actions.
Specifically, phosphatidic acid helps to promote mTOR signaling, which once activated, helps promote muscle protein synthesis and cellular growth. The mTOR signaling pathway actively senses and reacts to environmental stimuli, helping to coordinate the transportation of proteins (along with oxygen and other biochemicals) to muscle cells in need of repair.
To date, most studies have found that compared to resistance training alone, PA supplementation led to significantly greater gains in size and strength.
Over the course of one 8-week resistance training study, participants given phosphatidic acid gained on average 2.4 more kilograms of lean body mass than those given placebo. In another 8-week trial, those given phosphatidic acid added on average almost 20 more kilograms to their 1 rep max on the leg press than those given placebo, +52kg vs +32.5kg respectively.
Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid that produces carnosine, a peptide that acts as an inhibitor to the chemical reactions that occur in your muscles during physically demanding exercise.
As such, the main benefits of beta-alanine are its ability to increase anaerobic endurance, and to help build strength.
When you work out, your muscles are actively taking in glucose, which is your body’s primary fuel source. When glucose is burnt up, it leaves behind lactic acid. As the acidity builds up in your muscles, their capacity to take in more glucose becomes diminished. Without the glucose needed for energy, your muscles become exhausted. That… and you “feel the burn”.
The carnosine that beta-alanine creates though, helps to reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which allows additional glucose to enter into your muscles during high-intensity exercise. In clinical trials, sprinters who consumed beta-alanine were able to sustain greater power outputs for longer durations of time compared to sprinters who did not.
While beta-alanine is most effective for high-intensity exercise, that doesn’t mean that it has no benefit for endurance athletes. In fact, in one study involving elite cyclists, researchers found that supplementing with beta-alanine significantly improves cyclists’ sprinting performances at the end of long bouts of endurance-based exercise.
Finally, studies also show that beta-alanine increases strength. In one such study, researchers found that after 5 weeks of training, those who supplemented with beta-alanine saw significantly greater increases in their power outputs compared to the placebo group.
HICA is another naturally occurring, bioactive, organic compound found in the body that, when provided as a supplement, significantly enhances muscular function and development.
Like HMB, your body naturally produces HICA during the metabolism of leucine. With that said, the muscles and connective tissues use and metabolize leucine via two different biochemical pathways, and of course HMB uses one, and HICA uses the other (the KIC pathway to be specific).
Also like HMB, scientists consider HICA to be anabolic since it enhances muscle protein synthesis. It may do this via a variety of means, but studies indicate that HICA is anabolic because it supports mTOR activation.
HICA has also been shown to have anti-catabolic properties as well, meaning that it helps to prevent the breakdown of muscle proteins found within muscle tissues. As you exercise intensely, your muscles undergo micro-trauma that causes the muscle cells to break down. We all feel the effects of this micro-trauma 24-48 hours after intense exercise in the form of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). HICA significantly decreases this breakdown or catabolism. The result of this is less DOMS, and more lean muscle to build upon.
In recent athlete studies, scientists noted that the athletes who took HICA over a 6-week period gained 2 pounds and noted significantly less muscle soreness. What is even more interesting about the trials though, is that the placebo group actually lost lean muscle mass. This makes HICA a very important supplement for any athlete performing high-intensity exercise.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the original and most extensively studied weightlifting supplements on the market. In fact, there have been thousands of studies spanning multiple decades that show creatine is a top supplement for improving exercise performance.
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that’s found primarily in your muscle cells. The main benefits of creatine are increasing muscle energy, muscle size, and muscle strength.
To provide your muscles with energy, creatine increases the amount of phosphocreatine within your muscle cells. Phosphocreatine is used by your muscles during high-intensity activity to produce ATP, which is an energy source, and also the driving factor behind numerous processes within the human body such as muscle contractions.
Impressively, studies consistently demonstrate that creatine monohydrate can increase phosphocreatine concentrations in the muscles by as much as 40%. This means that there is more available energy in your muscles when exercising, which leads to improvements in both anaerobic and aerobic endurance.
To increase muscle growth, creatine increases intramuscular concentrations of IGF, and increases the number of satellite cells and myonuclei in your muscle fibers. Studies show that both of these factors help add lean muscle mass. The combination of these factors, coupled with an increase in available energy, leads to improvements in muscle strength as well.
Amazingly, both short and long-term studies show creatine monohydrate leads to at least 5-15% greater gains in strength and performance. One study even demonstrated an increase in 1RM (one rep max) of 8%, and an increased bench press of 16-43% when compared to placebo.