“If your body is sore, you did something right. But, if you took care of that soreness, you did something better.” ~Abby Campbell
What is ZMA?
ZMA is a supplement that includes zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. It is primarily used by athletes, bodybuilders, and gymnasts as a recovery aid. Studies have shown that ZMA can help your body achieve deeper levels of REM sleep. Additionally, a study completed by the Western Washington University, ZMA also raises strength levels and may enhance hormonal profiles.
According to the university study, zinc and magnesium may enhance levels of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). Zinc, in particular, may also contribute to elevated serum testosterone. Both IGF-I and testosterone are anabolic factors that enhance muscle function and physical performance. Vitamin B-6 helps absorb zinc and magnesium, as well as help with protein metabolism.
In the Western Washington University study, football players were used to determine the benefits of ZMA. The results of the study showed a 30 percent increase in testosterone levels and a five percent increase in IGF-1 in athletes who took ZMA every night before bedtime for the 8-week trial. Those who took a placebo had a 10 percent decrease in testosterone and a 20 percent decrease in IGF-1.
It’s critical that you take ZMA on an empty stomach as certain foods can interfere with its absorption – such as foods rich in calcium like dairy.
Studies have found that specific dosages produce positive effects in hormone and strength levels of athletes:
- Men – Zinc 30 mg. / Magnesium 450 mg. / Vitamin B6 10-11 mg.
- Women – Zinc 20 mg. / Magnesium 300 mg. / Vitamin B6 6-7 mg.
Side Effects of ZMA
For most adults, ZMA is safe. However, too much zinc and/or magnesium can cause nausea, diarrhea, and cramping. Zinc and magnesium may also make it more difficult for your body to absorb certain prescription medications such as antibiotics.
Additionally, vitamin B6 may intensify side effects of prescription medications. If you’re unsure about taking ZMA, talk with your physician or pharmacist. As with all supplementation, you may want to consult with your physician before taking. If you are on prescription medication or have any major illnesses, please check with your doctor first.