We don’t think too much about ZMA when we talk about muscle-building supplements. Many of us may have heard the name but don’t know much about it.
People say the supplement was made by leading athletes and bodybuilders. They noted a lack of minerals in people who are highly active or push iron a lot. According to them, zinc and magnesium are the two minerals that athletes lack most.
ZMA supplements provide a healthy dose of zinc and magnesium (in aspartate form), along with vitamin B6. Minerals support muscle growth, recovery, and fat loss.
The ZMA combination can also increase strength and improve sleep. In short, there are many benefits of zinc and magnesium.
In this post, we will see how the zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 supplement helps you build muscles and improve recovery. Then we will take a quick look at other benefits of ZMA.
The Role of Zinc and Magnesium
Zinc is an essential mineral for us. We need zinc to stimulate more than 300 enzymes that control metabolism, our immunity, and more. The mineral even facilitates protein synthesis, making muscles grow and recover effectively. Zinc also plays a role in maintaining our overall health.
Magnesium is responsible for helping a number of bodily functions involving muscles and nerves. It also plays a role in the production of energy. It also impacts our metabolic rate and creates stronger bones. The mineral can also boost cardiovascular health and enhance performance.
Vitamin B6 helps build neurotransmitters and aids the metabolism of nutrients.
Now, we will check out how the minerals help you build muscle and strength.
How ZMA Builds Muscles and Aids Recovery
According to Jim Stoppani, Ph.D. in exercise physiology, the combination of the two minerals have significant benefits. The ZMA supplements can-
- Increase muscle mass
- Boost muscle strength
Jim quotes several studies where zinc and magnesium were found to have anabolic properties. One study gave NCAA footballers ZMA for 8-weeks during spring training. Footballers who took the supplement-
- Increased testosterone levels by 30%
- Boosted IGF-1 levels by 5%
We had a detailed discussion on how testosterone builds muscles, endurance, and strength. Let’s recap that in brief to show why healthy levels of testosterone are important. Testosterone can–
- Facilitate protein synthesis
- Boost levels of growth hormone
- Stimulates hypertrophy that makes the muscle grow
- Generate new muscle fibers
- Prevent muscle breakdown
Testosterone also boosts muscle strength and endurance. Many studies note enhanced athletic performance when participants take testosterone supplements. Your muscles also get more oxygen for extra endurance. To know about the studies in detail, you can read our testosterone guide.
IGF-1 is a growth hormone that helps in the development of healthy bones and tissues. The hormone has significant anabolic effects on adults.
Testosterone, along with zinc and magnesium, provides a powerful anabolic environment to make your muscles grow and build strength. Of course, you can’t forget to exercise!
ZMA can help us sleep better. It extends the quality and duration of our deep REM sleeping stage during which our bodies heal. As a result, you can recover better from intense workouts. Zinc even acts as antioxidants and makes post-workout recoveries better.
Jim also describes studies that found a lack of zinc to lead to low muscle endurance. On top of that, most athletes have a deficit in zinc. That means zinc supplements can really increase your muscle endurance.
In one study, the participants taking magnesium increased leg strength by 20%
Summary: ZMA can help muscles grow and increase muscle strength and recovery.
Energy Production and Fat Loss
ZMA plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy metabolism rate. Zinc impacts your calorie-burning capacities and can aid in fat loss.
It influences your thyroid hormone that plays a part in metabolism. Zinc also maintains normal levels of leptin that suppress hunger and boost metabolic rates.
If you are low on zinc, you can have a low metabolic rate. That means you won’t be able to burn calories efficiently. As a result, you will lose less fat and feel less energetic.
ZMA may be your answer if you are always tired of the gym. It can boost your zinc levels, increase your metabolism and energy, and help you lose weight. However, don’t expect ZMA to give you as much energy as you get from pre-workouts or creatine!
Zinc can also directly suppress the secretion of stress hormone cortisol temporarily. Too much cortisol is bad for us and leads to fatigue, weak muscles, and mood changes. Zinc maintains healthy levels of cortisol and keeps you feeling refreshed mentally and physically.
Now, let’s check out the other health benefits of ZMA.
Health Benefits of ZMA
– According to Healthline, we require zinc for the growth and function of many immune cells. Having zinc as a supplement can cut down risks of diseases and enhance wound healing. Zinc also acts as antioxidants and reduces the damage done by free radicals.
– Magnesium, on the other hand, can reduce inflammation and prevent even cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
– Vitamin B6 also plays a role in our immunity. It helps our bodies produce WBC that fight diseases and infections. Vitamin B6 even directly enhances the WBC’s immune capabilities.
ZMA, in a combined form, helps you strengthen immunity and reduce risks of diseases.
Low blood sugar:
If you suffer from diabetes, ZMA may lower your blood sugar levels. Both zinc and magnesium have shown positive effects on blood sugar levels in countless studies, according to Healthline.
ZMA can help you sleep longer and better. Zinc and magnesium improve sleep quality, during which our bodies relax and heal. You can read more about the effects of zinc and magnesium on sleeping here.
We know ZMA normalizes testosterone levels. It also cuts down high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. As a result, taking zinc and magnesium supplement can elevate your mood. Researchers also say magnesium is as effective as antidepressants in treating depressive symptoms.
Additionally, vitamin B6 may have a role in making you feel good.
As we see, ZMA has a lot of benefits. You can fulfill your fitness goals and lead a much better quality of life by taking zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 supplements.
Next, we will cover some basic questions about the wonder supplement.
What Should Be the Ideal ZMA Dose?
According to Jim Stoppani, your supplement should have the nutrients in the following levels to be effective-
|Vitamin B6||10 – 11mg||6 – 7mg|
Also, the zinc and magnesium should be in aspartate form for better absorption.
Is ZMA a Testosterone Booster?
Zinc and magnesium help in maintaining healthy levels of testosterone. However, it’s not a testosterone booster. You can read about the relationship between both by clicking here.
What Precautions Should I Take?
- Don’t consume your supplement with food
- Avoid taking calcium supplements while on ZMA as it hinders absorption
- Taking zinc over 50mg can have adverse effects on muscle growth and immunity
- Taking over 450mg of magnesium can hinder sleep
When Is the Best Time to Take ZMA?
Jim says you should take your supplement 1-hour before hitting the bed. Also, keep a gap of at least 1 – 2-hours after a meal before taking your supplement.
This timing enhances muscle growth, recovery, and sleep.
Most athletes lose out crucial minerals like magnesium and zinc over their training. The minerals leave our body through sweat and urine. Various bodily processes also deplete our zinc and mineral sources. As a result, most athletes and bodybuilders don’t have enough minerals to grow muscles healthily.
If you are highly active, ZMA supplements can help you maximize muscle growth and strength. It can also improve your sleep and help you recover faster. The supplement also enhances mood and keeps you feeling active throughout the day.
People looking to lose fat may also benefit from ZMA if they have low levels of zinc. You can also develop healthy levels of testosterone and feel good and motivated. Give ZMA a try and see how it turns out for you!