ZMA is a supplement that contains zinc, magnesium, and aspartate. Its exact ingredients are zinc monomethionine, magnesium aspartate, and Vitamin B6. This formula of three essential vitamins and nutrients provides a wide array of benefits, including enhanced athletic performance, increased muscle mass, more controlled blood sugar levels, and a boosted immune system.
ZMA is still being researched today, especially as it pertains to fitness performance and muscle growth, as this supplement has gained a lot of traction in the fitness realm. Although there are not many side effects reported with this supplement, it contains three different vitamins and minerals that each may have their own complications or may behave a certain way in your body. We’ll take a more thorough look at ZMA supplements, their benefits, and our choices for the best ZMA supplements.
Different Types Of ZMA Supplements
ZMA typically comes in capsule form; however, it is also available in powder form. The popular dosage is typically 10-11 mg of Vitamin B6 as pyridoxine, 450 mg of magnesium aspartate, and 30 mg of zinc monomethionine.
It’s important to note that some manufacturers and certain products are marketed as ZMA specifically, whereas others may market their products as just magnesium or zinc with the addition of Vitamin B6 and magnesium/zinc. ZMA supplements typically contain this specific ratio and dosage for the product.
ZMA Supplement Benefits
ZMA supplements have several associated benefits, especially within the fitness world. The following are some associated benefits:
- Increase in muscle mass
- Increased athletic performance
- Improved sleep
- May help control blood sugar levels
- May aid in weight loss
- May boost immunity
- May help elevate mood
- Helps induce feelings of calmness and overall relaxation
Many of these benefits are a result of either zinc, magnesium, Vitamin B6, or a combination. For example, improved sleep is a result of magnesium and zinc, whereas magnesium and Vitamin B6 help to elevate your mood. The great thing about ZMA supplements is that you are able to get many different benefits from one supplement, which helps to reduce cost and boost your overall health.
Should I Take ZMA Supplements?
ZMA supplements can be a great addition to your diet and lifestyle as they provide a wide range of benefits. However, it’s important to note that because you’re working with three different nutrients and vitamins here, you might experience certain side effects based on your health conditions. The following are some associated side effects:
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea (zinc and magnesium)
- Dizziness, copper deficiency, headaches (zinc)
- Nerve damage (magnesium)
- Gastrointestinal distress (magnesium)
- Numbness in the hands and feet (magnesium)
Also important to note is that ZMA supplements (specifically zinc and magnesium) may affect the absorption of other medications and antibiotics. Vitamin B6, on the other hand, may cause more intense side effects from certain drugs and medications.
If you’re looking to improve your sleep, immune system, and overall mood, ZMA supplements can be a great option. They can also be a great option if you are looking to enhance exercise performance; however, the efficacy of this benefit is largely under proven.
Do ZMA Supplements Work?
In terms of immune function and improved sleep, ZMA seems to be effective as researchers know how these supplements behave on their own. However, some of the benefits, like improved athletic performance, are under-researched. Some of the benefits include increased speed and stamina, but there is very little evidence that supports this.
Some researchers found that ZMA increases testosterone levels, which may be the reason some of these benefits or side effects may be occurring. If testosterone levels are being increased by this supplement, it’s important to be cautious of that as hormonal changes can affect your entire body. Also important to note is that ZMA supplements have separate dosages for men and women.
Best ZMA Supplements
Optimum Nutrition ZMA Capsules
This product comes very highly rated and is an affordable option. It comes in capsule form and contains 450 mg of magnesium, 30 mg of zinc, and 10.5 mg of Vitamin B6.
Now Sports ZMA Sports Recovery
This product contains 90 ZMA capsules. This product is specifically aimed at sports recovery and muscle strength. The company claims this product offers enhanced absorption, and it is more affordable than other ZMA products.
This product probably offers the most affordable ZMA supplement option. It contains 10.5 mg of Vitamin B6, 30 mg of zinc, and 450 mg of magnesium. It comes in capsule form, and the company claims it supports healthy muscle contractions. It should be noted that this product contains gelatin in its capsule, so it is not vegan.
ZMA Supplement Alternatives
ZMA supplements are fairly inexpensive, so it’s a great option for individuals looking to incorporate any or all of these nutrients in supplement form. However, you can also just take one of the supplements instead to decrease certain side effects and maybe get a higher, more beneficial dosage. Zinc or a magnesium supplement, such as EASE Magnesium, on their own are definitely great for your immune system and sleep. Vitamin B6 or a Vitamin B complex are great supplements to implement if you are looking for an energy boost. It’s important to note though that there are certain dietary sources of these vitamins that you can also implement into your diet:
- Zinc: whole grains, milk, oysters, cashews, almonds, chickpeas
- Vitamin B6: eggs, soybeans, pork, fish, bread, wholegrain cereals
- Magnesium: spinach, kale, figs, avocado, peas, broccoli, salmon, tuna
ZMA Supplements And Your Health
ZMA supplements can offer a great and more affordable alternative to singular Vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium supplements. These ZMA supplements are still under-researched; however, most scientists deem them effective as they know how individual nutrients behave and benefit the body in supplement form.
Be cautious of potential side effects, though, especially as some have reported an increase in testosterone levels from continued use. Do your research first and consult a doctor before use, as ZMA products may interact with other drugs and medications.