The effect of HMB-FA supplementation on hormonal balance during a two-match soccer microcycle

Document Type : original article


1 Department of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Khwarazmi University, Tehran, Iran


Background and Purpose: Intensive training such as soccer activities cause significant changes in hormone circulation and also induce microscopic muscle damages and acute inflammatory reactions that can influence the performance of athletes in 24 to 72 hours after soccer and prolong the recovery time. Nutritional strategies are among the popular and accessible methods to facilitate the recovery of function and physiological disorders after certain sports as well as soccer. Therefore, the present study was a two-way clinical trial that investigated the effect of beta hydroxy beta methyl butyrate supplement in the form of free acid (HMB-FA) on the levels of hormonal markers during the recovery period during a weekly soccer cycle.
Materials and Methods: This research was semi-experimental, with a pre-test-post-test and double-blind design. Twenty-four male soccer players (mean age 23 ± 3 years, mass index of 22.8 ± 2, mean height 172.6 ± 5.5 cm and average weight 74.3 ± 5.4 kg) were voluntarily selected as the statistical sample of this study and were divided into two groups of 12 people. In this study, subjects participated in a weekly soccer microcycle with two matches. Subjects in the supplement-training group consumed three grams of HMB-FA daily during a weekly soccer cycle. Blood samples were taken in seven stages (before supplementation, before the first match, immediately after the first match, 24 hours after the first match, before the second match, immediately after the second match, 24 hours after the second match). Plasma concentrations of cortisol and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) were measured by ELISA method. Data analysis was performed using Friedman, Wilcoxon, Kruskal-Wallis and U Mann-Whitney tests with a significance level of P≥ 0.05.  
Results: The results showed that after intaking HMB-FA supplement, there was a significant decrease in plasma cortisol levels (before the first match, after the first match and 24 hours after the second match) (for all, P < 0.05) and there was also a significant increase for IGF-1 (before the first match, after the first match and immediately after the second match) (for all,P < 0.05).
Conclusion: HMB-FA supplementation has increased the levels of IGF-1 hormone and decreased cortisol, which indicates an increase in anabolic state and a decrease in catabolic state in the body, which is used for muscle reconstruction and recovery from injuries caused by exercise and racing is essential during a race microcycle. In addition, taking HMB supplements may have other effects, including reducing neuromuscular fatigue, reducing the inflammatory response, and rapid skeletal muscle regeneration, which requires further study.


Main Subjects

  1. Stølen T, Chamari K, Castagna C, Wisløff U. Physiology of soccer: an update. Sports medicine. 2005;35:501-36.
  2. Bandara DD, Joniton S. Anthropometrice and physiological characteristics of sri lankan national level female soccer players. Asian Exercise and Sport Science Journal. 2021;4;5(2):21-7.
  3. Dolci F, Hart NH, Kilding AE, Chivers P, Piggott B, Spiteri T. Physical and energetic demand of soccer: a brief review. Strength & Conditioning Journal. 2020;1;42(3):70-7.
  4. Redkva PE, Paes MR, Fernandez R, da-Silva SG. Correlation between match performance and field tests in professional soccer players. Journal of human kinetics. 2018;62:213.
  5. Clemente FM, González-Fernández FT, Ceylan HI, Silva R, Younesi S, Chen YS, Badicu G, Wolański P, Murawska-Ciałowicz E. Blood biomarkers variations across the pre-season and interactions with training load: A study in professional soccer players. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2021;10(23):5576.
  6. Silva JR, Ascensão A, Marques F, Seabra A, Rebelo A, Magalhães J. Neuromuscular function, hormonal and redox status and muscle damage of professional soccer players after a high-level competitive match. European journal of applied physiology. 2013;113:2193-201.
  7. Piskin E, Bayraktaroglu T, Yamaner F, Gumus M, Tamer K. Growth and pubertal development in adolescent male wrestlers. InEndocrine Abstracts 2013;(Vol. 32). Bioscientifica.
  8. Andrzejewski M, Podgórski T, Kryściak J, Chmura P, Konefał M, Chmura J, Marynowicz J, Adrian J, Pluta B. Anabolic–catabolic hormonal responses in youth soccer players during a half-season. Research in Sports Medicine. 2021;29(2):141-54.
  9. Anderson LJ, Tamayose JM, Garcia JM. Use of growth hormone, IGF-I, and insulin for anabolic purpose: Pharmacological basis, methods of detection, and adverse effects. Molecular and cellular endocrinology. 2018;464:65-74.
  10. Sato T, Ito Y, Nagasawa T. Regulation of skeletal muscle protein degradation and synthesis by oral administration of lysine in rats. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology. 2013;59(5):412-9.
  11. Knowles OE, Aisbett B, Main LC, Drinkwater EJ, Orellana L, Lamon S. Resistance training and skeletal muscle protein metabolism in eumenorrheic females: implications for researchers and practitioners. Sports Medicine. 2019;49:1637-50.
  12. Nassib S, Moalla W, Hammoudi-Nassib S, Chtara M, Hachana Y, Tabka Z, Chamari K, Elloumi M. The IGF-I/cortisol ratio as a useful marker for monitoring training in young boxers. Biology of sport. 2016;33(1):15-22.
  13. Holeček M. Beta‐hydroxy‐beta‐methylbutyrate supplementation and skeletal muscle in healthy and muscle‐wasting conditions. Journal of cachexia, sarcopenia and muscle. 2017;8(4):529-41.
  14. Wilson JM, Fitschen PJ, Campbell B, Wilson GJ, Zanchi N, Taylor L, Wilborn C, Kalman DS, Stout JR, Hoffman JR, Ziegenfuss TN. International society of sports nutrition position stand: beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB). Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2013;10(1):6.
  15. Wilson JM, Lowery RP, Joy JM, Walters JA, Baier SM, Fuller JC, Stout JR, Norton LE, Sikorski EM, Wilson SM, Duncan NM. β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free acid reduces markers of exercise-induced muscle damage and improves recovery in resistance-trained men. British Journal of Nutrition. 2013;110(3):538-44.
  16. Zhao L, Mohammad M. Testosterone and cortisol responses to ß‐hydroxy ß‐methylbutryate consumption and exercise: A meta‐ Food Science & Nutrition. 2022;10(9):2815-24.
  17. Silva VR, Belozo FL, Micheletti TO, Conrado M, Stout JR, Pimentel GD, Gonzalez AM. β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free acid supplementation may improve recovery and muscle adaptations after resistance training: A systematic review. Nutrition research. 2017 1;45:1-9.
  18. Mousavi SM, Nourshahi M, Ghara Khanlou R, Hedayati M, Akbarnejad A. The Acute Effect of HMB-FA Supplement and Sport Activity on Some Factors that Influence Hypertrophy and Muscle Damage in Inactive Men. Journal of Sport Biosciences. 2021;13(3):285-300. (In Persian)
  19. Tartibian B, Rezaei B. Effect of HMB-FA Supplementation on Muscle damage indices in a Simulated Wrestling Protocols in elite wrestlers. Sport Physiology. 2021;13(50):137-62.( In Persian)
  20. Bompa T, Buzzichelli C. Periodization training for sports, 3e. Human kinetics; 2015.
  21. Correia AL, de Lima FD, Bottaro M, Vieira A, da Fonseca AC, Lima RM. Pre-exercise β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free-acid supplementation improves work capacity recovery: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2018;43(7):691-6.
  22. . Tinsley GM, Givan AH, Graybeal AJ, Villarreal MI, Cross AG. β-Hydroxy β-methylbutyrate free acid alters cortisol responses, but not myofibrillar proteolysis, during a 24-h fast. British Journal of Nutrition. 2018;119(5):517-26.
  23.  Eryılmaz SK, Aslankeser Z, Özdemir Ç, Özgünen K, Kurdak S. The effect of 30-m repeated sprint exercise on muscle damage indicators, serum insulin-like growth factor-Iand cortisol. Biomedical Human Kinetics. 2019;11(1):151-7.
  24. Yoshida T, Delafontaine P. Mechanisms of IGF-1-mediated regulation of skeletal muscle hypertrophy and atrophy. Cells. 2020;26;9(9):1970.
  25. Perrini S, Laviola L, Carreira MC, Cignarelli A, Natalicchio A, Giorgino F. The GH/IGF1 axis and signaling pathways in the muscle and bone: mechanisms underlying age-related skeletal muscle wasting and osteoporosis. J Endocrinol. 2010;205(3):201-10.
  26. Hammarqvist F, Wennström I, Wernerman J. Effects of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 on postoperative muscle and substrate metabolism. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2010;2010.
  27. Barclay RD, Burd NA, Tyler C, Tillin NA, Mackenzie RW. The role of the IGF-1 signaling cascade in muscle protein synthesis and anabolic resistance in aging skeletal muscle. Frontiers in nutrition. 2019;6:146.
  28. Yadegari M, Ravasi AA, Choobineh S. The Responses of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Cortisol Hormone to a Session of High Intensity Interval Training and the Relationship between Their Serum Levels. Journal of sport biosciences. 2019;10(4):393-406. (In Persian)
  29. Braun TP, Marks DL. The regulation of muscle mass by endogenous glucocorticoids. Frontiers in physiology. 2015 Feb 3;6:12.
  30. Michailidis Y. Stress hormonal analysis in elite soccer players during a season. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 2014;3(4):279-83.
  31. Asadi A, Arazi H, Suzuki K. Effects of 𝛽-Hydroxy-𝛽-methylbutyrate-free Acid Supplementation on Strength, Power and Hormonal Adaptations Following Resistance Training. Nutrients. 2017;9(12):1316. (In Persian).
  32. Lowery RP, Joy JM, Rathmacher JA, Baier SM, Fuller JC, Shelley MC, Jäger R, Purpura M, Wilson S, Wilson JM. Interaction of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate free acid and adenosine triphosphate on muscle mass, strength, and power in resistance trained individuals. Journal of strength and conditioning research. 2016;30(7):1843-54.
  33. Townsend JR, Hoffman JR, Gonzalez AM, Jajtner AR, Boone CH, Robinson EH, Mangine GT, Wells AJ, Fragala MS, Fukuda DH, Stout JR. Effects of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free acid ingestion and resistance exercise on the acute endocrine response. International journal of endocrinology. 2015;2015.
  34. Lima-Soares F, Cabido CE, Pessôa KA, Cholewa JM, Amorim CE, Zanchi NE. HMB Supplementation: Clinical and Performance-Related Effects and Mechanisms of Action. InSustained Energy for Enhanced Human Functions and Activity 2017 (pp. 363-381). Academic Press.
  35. Hulton AT, Malone JJ, Clarke ND, MacLaren DP. Energy requirements and nutritional strategies for male soccer players: A review and suggestions for practice. Nutrients. 2022;14(3):657.
  • Receive Date: 29 May 2022
  • Revise Date: 26 October 2022
  • Accept Date: 10 December 2022
  • First Publish Date: 21 February 2023
  • Publish Date: 21 March 2023