ZMA a.k.a Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate plus Magnesium Aspartate, I know it is a mouth full. And do not even get me started on the jokes – Zero Mercury Added, Zavod Malomitrazhnykh Avtomobiley (Russian small-car maker), Zone Multicast Access just to name a few.
ZMA Supplement Facts are:
Zinc: 30(mg) – 200% DV
Magnesium: 450(mg) – 113% DV
Vitamin B6: 10.5(mg) – 525% DV
ZMA claims often go something like this. ZMA increases testosterone levels, muscle mass, strength, and improves sleep. Scientific, double blind, randomized studies have found significant increase in testosterone levels and muscle strength in athletes supplemented with ZMA.
It almost makes it sound as if supplementing with ZMA as effective as injecting testosterone and Deca-Durabolin. So are any of these claims true?
Magnesium is useful for muscular relaxation, which assists in recovery from physical stress. It positively affects muscle metabolism and muscle function, which often leads to enhance performance. It is also known to promptly induce sleep when taken at bedtime, and have a number of other sleep related benefits, like deeper sleep and vivid dream patterns. From my personal experience, I confirm sleep related benefits.
Testosterone, which is responsible for lean muscle decreases with age. Marginal deficiency of zinc could result in further lowering of serum testosterone. Zinc supplementation has been shown to raise testosterone. For a number of reasons, up to 70 percent Zinc deficiency could occur in self-selected diets.
For example, Zinc competes with calcium, iron and copper for uptake. Active individuals generally have diets that are low in magnesium. Magnesium loss occurs through sweat and urine.
Ones absorption rate could also be affected by fiber rich foods. Zinc excretion rate (as much as 50 percent) could be accelerated by exercise, magnesium and other minerals could be affected as well, which brings us to the most cited ZMA study.
Brilla and Conte, MSSE, vol 31, No 5, 1999 was a study conducted on twenty-seven football players at Western Washington University. The study compared twelve players supplementing with ZMA and fifteen players taking a placebo.
The ZMA group demonstrated statistically significant increases in the following areas:
The placebo groups had the following results:
Nutrients: 4-9% decrease
Testosterone: 10% decrease
IGF-1 (a growth factor) – 21% decrease
It is also worth mentioning that some, but not all quadriceps strength measurements indicated that ZMA group had a beneficial effect on muscle strength.
As I already mentioned, an exercise can increase body’s need for zinc, magnesium and other minerals, because of their excretion during an exercise. Notably this was exactly what ZMA study found – starting zinc and magnesium levels of these football players were almost borderline deficient.
Many other studies support the notion that dietary intake and blood levels of zinc and magnesium are often well below optimal levels in individuals exercising regularly.
There is no scientific evidence that ZMA formula provides more benefit than taking equivalent amounts of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 in other forms – diet or multivitamin; although most multivitamins do not contain the same amounts of these minerals. In addition, ZMA formulated with amino acids (methionine and aspartate), which improve gastrointestinal tolerance and facilitate a superior rate of absorption.
Personally, I supplement with ZMA regularly. At around six cents per serving, it is a bargain. It gives me a better sleep and a peace of mind. I do not have to worry about my zinc and magnesium levels, and proven benefits of maintaining an optimum level of zinc and magnesium.
What is your ZMA experience? I would love to hear from you.
- Dwayne Johnson: Workout and Diet
- Magnesium Miracle: The Miracle of Magnesium
- Best Diet for Acne: Low Glycemic Diet and Acne