If you work out often, you might have heard of ZMA supplements and their many benefits. To some people, they remain mythical as far as their uses, benefits, and side effects are concerned.
ZMA supplements are among the very best accompaniments for your exercise routine and sleep cycle.
What are ZMA supplements?
ZMA supplements have high amounts of zinc, vitamin B6 and magnesium aspartate. They derive their name from the combination of zinc and magnesium which are the main components of the supplements.
Although this group of supplements is relatively new to the market, it has quickly grown in popularity especially among athletes and others on a consistent exercise regime.
- Those with sleep disorders also find them quite useful owing to their positive effects on sleep.
- For athletes, one of the most difficult stages of their exercise routines is recovery.
- Normally, the body takes a while to recover and be ready for the next exercise routine.
- ZMA supplements help in reducing the time taken to recover so that one is ready for the next stage of their routine.
When the first batch of ZMA supplements came out, they had a specific formula as far as the amounts and combinations of the primary ingredients goes. Today, however, manufacturers vary the ingredients to match with the specific exercise regime of each athlete, sleep disorder or other issue.
Besides that, some manufacturers add other ingredients for other reasons such as increasing the absorption rate or making the supplements generally better at their work.
Does ZMA work?
The fast rising popularity of this type of supplements is in itself a sign that, indeed, they work as stated by the manufacturers. Even with that, everything needs to be proven by research. To this end, ZMA supplements have proven their worth and usefulness.
The three major ingredients in the supplements in question (zinc, vitamin B6 and magnesium aspartate) were combined to provide the best results as far as recovery from an exercise session is concerned. The same combination works well for sleep deprivation and other issues in the body.
The formula works in this way:
The first major component of a ZMA supplement is zinc. The body requires zinc for most processes including metabolism and regulation of the work and amount of hormones.
For exercise, zinc is instrumental in the building of muscles.
When you work out, a lot of minerals are lost through being used up and in sweating. Zinc being one of them, you will feel fatigued when you have pushed yourself to the limit. When you take supplements with enough zinc, you will be able to quickly build muscles.
2. Vitamin B6
Also called pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is the other major component in the ZMA formula. Vitamin B6 works by:
- Maintaining the correct mass of tissues
- Keeping the muscles lean
- Repairing the body
When you work out, there are small tears in the muscles. When you take enough of vitamin B6, you will recover faster as it helps in repairing the tears in the muscles.
When you are also fatigued from stress or work, vitamin B6 will help you prevent adding weight and increase the ease with which you fall as sleep.
3. Magnesium aspartate
The work of magnesium in the body is a major one in several ways. First of all, it helps in keeping the working of the muscles at their best levels. That entails all types of muscles including the heart. As you work out, you will push the heart to the limit and that is where magnesium comes in.
Being one of the main minerals tasked with the working of the muscles, magnesium provides you with the best form of endurance. Like zinc, magnesium is lost through being broken down and in sweat. You thus need it after your work out to steady the working of the muscles of the body.
With its work on the muscles, magnesium has a calming effect on the body. Besides shortening your recovery time after a workout, it also helps people sleep peacefully.
4. Other ingredients
The addition of other ingredients in the supplements makes the formula more effective in whatever task you have at hand. Other common ingredients added to the formula include:
Melatonin is a hormone that is also secreted by the body. Melatonin has many roles including solving issues such as:
- Sleep disorders in the blind
- Delayed sleep phase syndrome
- Sleep-wake cycle disturbances
- Insomnia from beta-blocker drugs
- High blood pressure
- Insomnia (primary and secondary insomnia)
- Jet lag
- Temporomandibular disorder (jaw pain)
- Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelets and many others.
Vitamin D and its various variants are manufactured by the body when exposed to the sun. Due to its role in the body, it may be needed in supplements. The roles of this family of vitamins include:
- Maintaining the health of the teeth and bones
- Regulation of insulin levels hence management of diabetes
- Aids in the working of the nervous system, brain and immune system
- A major determinant in the gene expression in the development of cancer
- Support for cardiovascular health and the function of the lungs
What comes out of the addition of the two ingredients to the ZMA supplements is that you will recover faster after a workout. If you have sleep disorders, you have more ingredients working to help you in doing away with the condition.
Top 10 ZMA supplements (with Reviews)
On the list of ten of the best ZMA supplements are some common names that employ the ingredients stated above. They include:
ZMA-5 by SNAC aims at being your all-in-one solution to workout recovery, building muscles, sleep issues, building strong bones and other issues in the body. It does that by packing all the major ingredients including:
- Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride)
- Magnesium (as Aspartate)
- Vitamin B9 (as Folic Acid)
- Zinc (as Monomethionine and Aspartate)
- Bioperine Black Pepper Extract
- Vegetarian capsule
The presence of these ingredients makes this supplement one of the best you can get on the market. It can also be used by people of all kinds including vegetarians and the elderly.
- Can be used by vegetarians
- Promotes muscle growth and strength
- Promotes quality sleep
- Makes it easier to recover from a workout
- Promotes the healthy growth of bones
- Supports the nervous system
- It may take a while to have the right results
This is the ZMA supplement that has found the widest audience given that it combines all the ingredients that make a good supplement for fast recovery from a gym session or sleep disorders.
Universal Nutrition created the ZMA Pro supplement to support testosterone in the body. With zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6, this supplement will provide the optimal conditions for the recovery of the body, the building of stamina and quality of sleep.
Besides the three major ingredients in the original formula, ZMA Pro has Gelatin and magnesium stearate which will promote the building of muscles, joints, immune system among many other roles.
- Helps in quick recovery from a gym session
- Builds muscles and strength
- Promotes quality sleep
- Testosterone support
- Has magnesium stearate which is a saturated fat that may negatively affect the body
- Not good for vegetarians
the Z-JYM supplement works in a similar manner to the other types of supplements by providing the right minerals to accelerate the rate of recovery following a tough session at your sport or gym.
Due to the optimum amounts of zinc, magnesium and other ingredients, you will get a boost in various areas such as better sleep and faster workout recovery.
- Promotes quick recover following intensive physical exertion
- Also promotes better sleep
- Boosts testosterone for strength
- Easy to absorb hence fast action
- Not suitable for vegetarians
- Requires to be taken regularly to work well
4. Optimum Nutrition – ZMA
Optimum Nutrition has made this a very effective supplement for those aiming for quick recovery after intensive sessions in the gym. You also benefit from taking this supplement by gaining muscle growth and building more endurance in your physical exertion.
- Improves workout endurance
- Promotes restful sleep
- Leads to fast recovery and muscle growth
- Improves on the anabolic hormone levels
- May lead to the loss of appetite
- Not great for vegetarians
- Has magnesium stearate
This supplement by PrimaForce is one of the simplest ZMA supplements on the market. However, it is just as effective as the others in providing quick recovery after an exercise.
This supplement is also created without additives that may affect some users such as corn, wheat, sugar, dairy, gluten and others. It thus provides for deep sleep and easy workout recovery.
- Improves the quality of sleep
- Increases the strength of the muscles
- Suitable for all users including vegetarians
- Simple, effective and reliable
- Has magnesium stearate which may affect some users
- The pill is often too large for some users’ liking
These capsules are widely used in the reduction of the time take to recover from an intense workout.
The capsules are added with melatonin to provide great sleep while your body recovers from the workout.
The resulting supplement provides the best environment for the repair of tissues in the body. This way, one can perform at their best without much strain to the body.
- Quickly provides repair for tissues and general recovery
- Improves the quality of sleep due to having melatonin
- Increases the performance levels
- Balances testosterone in the body for better sexual health
- It may cause nightmares and vivid dreams
- Not friendly to vegetarians
- Works better when combined with another supplement
- Effects wear off quickly compared to other supplements in the same category. You may thus require to increase the dose against the doctor’s advice.
The use of this supplement has helped many people quickly recover after workouts no matter how heavy the workout was. It has also proven to be very reliable especially for a tough workout routine.
The advantage this supplement has over others is the fact that it is suitable for vegetarians as it has no fish or dairy products, no wheat, soy or gluten.
- Approved by the GMP hence of the highest standards
- Improves the quality of sleep
- Regulates the growth of cells
- Maintains the electrolyte balance
- The presence of magnesium stearate may not be conducive for everyone
- May cause heartburns
- Some vegetarians have still reported of issues when using the supplement
- It may cause some issues with the digestive system
MET-Rx is fronted as focusing on building strength above anything else. The primary ingredients of magnesium, zinc and vitamin B6 are all present in this supplement besides vegetable magnesium stearate and gelatin.
Your workout sessions will thus be followed with quick recovery to prepare you for the next workout in a short while.
With the ingredients above, you also get a high quality sleep as your body repairs the muscles and tissues of the body. In general, you get more from your time in the gym when you use this supplement.
- Promotes strength and size of muscles
- Provides deep sleep
- Eliminates mineral deficiencies in the body
- Not suitable for vegetarians or those on high-calcium diets
- Has magnesium stearate
- Results may take a while to be noticed
The researcher at PEScience focused on making the TruZMA supplement of a high quality by adding only ingredients that are needed by the body in the right amounts and quality for ease of absorption. Besides the primary ingredients of zinc, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6, the TruZMA supplement has been added with others such as:
- Shilajit Fulvic Acid Complex
- Magnesium Stearate
- Silicon Dioxide
- Titanium Dioxide Color
For all these ingredients, you have a supplement that will meet all your needs as far as managing sleep disorders and getting the most out of your workout sessions are concerned.
- Provides fast recovery from a workout session
- Has fast absorption
- Promotes testosterone
- Helps in fast muscle building
- Not suitable for vegetarians, pregnant women or those with health conditions
- Has magnesium stearate as an ingredient
- Meant specifically for body-builders
This is one of the most powerful and widely used of the supplements reliant on the ZMA formula. This supplement is designed to work for all people across the spectrum. It means that top-level athletes and those who work out once in a while will benefit from this supplement.
Besides the support for the growth of muscles and development of strength, this supplement has vitamin D3 which promotes the synthesis of proteins. The presence of vitamin D3 with the other ingredients ensures fast recovery and quicker healing.
The supplement is also added with vitamin B6 which ensures the fast absorption of nutrients into the body. This vitamin also improves on the metabolism of carbohydrates.
- Supports the immune system
- Fast absorption of nutrients and the supplement itself
- Supports the synthesis of proteins
- Provides a fast recovery after a workout
- Provides deep sleep
- You are only given a supply for a single month
- There are cases of users reporting vivid dreams and nightmares
- May not be suitable for vegetarians
- It may cause heartburns
It is quite easy finding these supplements in pharmacies owing to the high demand they have on the market.
When to take ZMA
A majority of supplements for workout sessions are either taken before (pre-workout) or after (post-workout) the gym session. The case is different for ZMA supplements mainly due to the ingredients this new form of supplements has.
While each supplement may have a specific time to take, the general approach is as follows:
- Take them half an hour before going to bed
- Take them on an empty stomach
- Take them once a day
- Do not take them with other supplements
This means that, when you are on a ZMA dosage, you should not be taking any other form of supplements at the same as the results may be undesirable.
The reason you should take these supplements before going to bed is due to the high amount of magnesium in them. Magnesium tends to make people sleepy and if you take it during the day, you will not be at your best. It is also the reason these same supplements are great for sleep disorders.
Unlike other supplements, you are to take ZMA on an empty stomach mainly because the uptake of zinc and magnesium by the body may not be effective with the presence of other minerals such as calcium, iron and copper in the food you would have eaten.
What is the right dosage?
You can find ZMA supplements as powder, tablets or capsules with a typical tablet having 10.5mg of vitamin B6, 450mg of magnesium aspartate and 30mg of zinc. This tablet is to be taken once a day (a single tablet a day) for the best results.
Benefits of ZMA supplements
What you get out of ZMA supplements will depend on the ingredients the specific supplement. Given that most supplements will combine the primary ingredients of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 with other ingredients, the benefits of these supplements include:
- Faster recovery from workouts
- Better sleep
- Increase muscle size
- Increase strength
- Promote healthy loss of weight
- Boost immunity
- Boost testosterone
- Promote the repair of cells and tissues in the body
- Promote development of strong joints
- Help the body process proteins, fats and carbohydrates better
- Support the nervous system
- Formation of hemoglobin
- Promote the work of the digestive system
- Ensure the proper working of the cardiovascular system
- Aid in the production of hormones in the body
Many other benefits exist but these are the main ones.
Possible side effects
Even with the many benefits listed above, the use of ZMA with your workout routine can have some side effects on the body. The side effects can be felt when you either under-dose, overdose, take them at the wrong time, take them with other supplements, or simply when you use them.
- Grogginess, dizziness and fainting
- Reduced HDL cholesterol
- Taste distortion or unpleasant taste
- Cramps in the abdomen
- Reduced immune function
- Poor iron function
- Low copper status
- Muscle paralysis
- Troubled breathing
- Diminished kidney function
- Abnormal cardiac rhythm (arrhythmia)
- Persistent bleeding
- Skin reactions
- Reduced levels of serum folic acid
- Low blood sugar levels
- Vivid dreams
While the list of the side effects may seem like a long one, ZMA supplements are generally considered to be very safe when used correctly. As long as you keep to the dosage you were given, none of these side effects are likely to appear.