ZMA stands for Zinc monomethionine aspartate and Magnesium Aspartate. In simpler terms, it’s a supplement that contains a combination of both zinc and magnesium and sometimes vitamin B6. Zinc is one necessary component of testosterone production, and thus an important part of any bodybuilder’s diet. While studies show that most people get enough zinc in their diets, they don’t get enough magnesium, which plays an equally important role in muscle function.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, magnesium aids the transport of potassium and calcium across cell membranes, which in turn conducts nerve impulses and muscle contraction. However, the primary goal of ZMA supplements is to raise testosterone levels and thereby increase muscle mass.
Does ZMA Work?
ZMA has been tested, but results are inconclusive. Some studies have shown no increase in strength and testosterone while others tout increases in both areas. ZMA is a relatively new supplement, so there isn’t any long-term data to legitimize either camps’ claims.
Benefits of ZMA
Zinc has antioxidant properties, can aid in healing, and helps prevent premature skin aging. Magnesium is also a very important nutrient that plays many roles within the body. Both zinc and magnesium are beneficial to your health and muscle function, but there’s little evidence to suggest that the large doses found in supplements like ZMA have any significant effects on the body.
If you’re worried about getting sufficient amounts of zinc and magnesium, just take a high quality multivitamin. They’re cheaper than ZMA and you can be sure that your getting the recommended amounts of both zinc and magnesium.
ZMA Side Effects
When I took ZMA, I noticed I slept a bit more soundly. This is actually a known side effect of ZMA. There isn’t much else in the realm of side effects; it’s largely considered a safe supplement. Generally, there are no serious risks associated with ingesting large doses of vitamins.
My ZMA Review
I used Optimum Nutrition’s ZMA supplement for two months. During that time, I didn’t notice any difference in my overall strength or well-being other than the slight improvement to my sleeping patterns. My advice — invest your money elsewhere. Why spread your money out over a laundry list of supplements that may or may not work when you could just purchase those that have been proven effective? Check my Bodybuilding Supplement Guide to find out which supplements are worth your money.
Optimum Nutrition ZMA
If you’re going to spend the money to try ZMA, I recommend Optimum Nutrition’s ZMA. As always, Optimum offers a high-quality supplement at an affordable price.