ZMA: the whole truth about efficiency

Many athletes who have achieved any results in fitness and bodybuilding, always had 2 goals in front of them. This is to gain quality and dry muscle mass, and reduce the recovery period after exercise.

Among the categories of sports nutrition now there are a lot of additives that are capable (according to sellers and manufacturers) to give such results. They promise you to increase muscle in a short time and shorten the recovery period. And also to increase the production of its own (endogenous) testosterone. One such advertised supplement is ZMA.

In many sports nutrition stores, this supplement falls into the category of “testosterone boosters.” That is, drugs that are able to increase the level of endogenous testosterone, increase endurance and increase strength. These abilities ZMA strongly tested and explored.

Regarding the promises to increase the production of our own testosterone, we will come back. And now we will try to consider the composition in more detail.
Composition ZMA

Standard composition for one portion of the drug ZMA:

  • Magnesium aspartate (approximately 400-450 mg);
  • Zinc monomethionine or aspartate (25-30 mg);
  • Vitamin B6 (about 10 mg).


As we can see from the composition, none of the components are able to accelerate protein synthesis, although magnesium is involved in the synthesis of proteins. Thus, to talk about an impressive set of muscle mass, and even dry, is clearly not worth it. Undoubtedly, the product occupies a significant share in the market of sports nutrition. But we would not attribute it to the category of “testosterone boosters.” Rather, it would fit the category of “microelements”.

Magnesium is involved in the regulation of nervous tissue. Also, this component will protect your cardiovascular system against physical exertion. Magnesium is part of a drug like Panangin, which can be bought at a pharmacy. This drug is prescribed to strengthen the cardiovascular system and in violation of water-salt balance. This phenomenon is very common among athletes.

Vitamin B6

If we talk about the increase in power indicators, then the only component of the three presented, we can distinguish vitamin B6. However, the best result will be given by the injection form of vitamins of this group. Which are widely used by athletes in bodybuilding and powerlifting, approaching their genetic limit.


This trace element is very important for the body. Zinc is part of the structure of insulin, which is tied to carbohydrate metabolism. But its properties are very wide. Starting from the regulator of taste and ending with the process of healing wounds. A dosage of 30 mg per day is quite sufficient for an athlete.
Conclusions on the effectiveness of ZMA

The success of the ZMA product on the market is based on the theory that the lack of elements that make up the drug (zinc and magnesium) may be a prerequisite for a decrease in testosterone levels.

Conflicting conclusions were drawn from various scientific studies. One study showed that the drug gave an increase in power indicators of almost 33%. But another experience has refuted this result. Curiously, the first study was sponsored by manufacturers of ZMA))

However, according to the composition, ZMA still has properties that are not in doubt. The main ones are:

  • Prevent muscle spasms.

Improve recovery during sleep

Analyzing all the above, I can say that the drug is not able to give an increase in muscle mass, but it can improve overall health and sleep. It will be very useful to athletes who train in a hard schedule, on the background of a low-carb diet. Especially the drug is needed during the drying period, since the amount of fluid consumed is limited. It is at this moment that the water-salt balance in the body is disturbed, which can lead to convulsions and problems with the cardiovascular system.

But to help build an impressive lean muscle mass, and to greatly increase the production of testosterone (as stated by the manufacturers), the drug is not capable. Although, despite this, he has a lot of other useful properties.

That is why many advanced athletes do not want to pay an inflated price for the components included in the ZMA complex. They make a trip to the pharmacy and buy each item separately or find similar in composition preparations.

ZMA has no side effects and contraindications. But it is worth noting that a surplus of zinc can complicate the assimilation of other trace elements. As for magnesium, then, most likely, it will be difficult to bring the body to an oversupply, if you train quite often and hard.

About the Author

Scarlett Arnold