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ZMA

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ZMA is a single supplement that combines three key nutrients: zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Combining these into a single capsule makes for a convenient supplement to cover all your bases at once.
This supplement has an unusually controversial and colourful history. We’re going to discuss this supplement and its reputation in depth, so you know what it can do for you.

Contents

What is ZMA?
What Does ZMA Do?
Does ZMA Work?
ZMA Benefits
ZMA Dosage
ZMA Timing
The Best ZMA Supplements
Final Thoughts: ZMA Results

What is ZMA?

Zinc, magnesium and B6 are the key ingredients in ZMA. They were first combined in the BALCo supplement line during the 80’s. The idea was to provide an all-in-one athletic supplement to improve strength and muscle recover through sleep.

The combination has been refined and improved in the years since BALCo, and the bad reputation of that company has been overshadowed by just how popular ZMA has become with elite athletes. It’s a synergistic supplement: the ingredients are supposed to make each other more effective.

What Does ZMA Do?

ZMA provides effective doses of three equally-important ingredients: zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. If you’re here for a convenient dose of these ingredients, you need to know you’re fighting deficiency with your single supplement. Supplementing with ZMA is vital because zinc and magnesium are among the most common nutrient deficiencies.

  • Zinc is key to maintaining healthy carb metabolism and hormonal health. Supplementing with zinc is especially important if you’re on a plant-based diet, as its often found in animal products.
  • Magnesium is it’s involved in over 300 processes in the body.
  • Vitamin B6 is a great combination with these two, as it is also central to energy production and transfer in the body.

Combining the ingredients is crucial to get the best effect, as they’re supposed to work together to bring the best results.

Does ZMA Work?

ZMA is a great way of getting zinc, magnesium and vitamin b6 into your diet without having to pay for separate supplements. With supplementary doses of these 3, you can easily protect yourself from the risk of deficiency in these hard-to-get nutrients. This alone is enough to justify using ZMA regularly.

However, if you’re training hard and you want to get the most results, you have to think about nutrient timings. Can you get better results by taking ZMA, rather than splitting your supplements up through the day?

One of the positives of ZMA is that B6 increases the absorption and utilisation of zinc in the body. This is useful as many forms of zinc (aspartate or monomethionine) are poorly absorbed in the body. This is a powerful reason to take your B6 and zinc together – something that’s very easy to do when they’re in the same tablet!

ZMA Benefits

We’ve already mentioned the importance of consuming zinc and B6 together, but what else can you gain from ZMA?

To start with, the zinc is key to keeping your nervous, immune, and digestive system healthy. Deficiency in zinc is a serious problem for health, so keeping your levels optimal and stable have indirect benefits to strength, muscle gain, and general health. We’ve talked about this before, but zinc is a key nutrient – especially if you drink alcohol or have a meat-free diet.

Magnesium is at least as important as zinc, if not more so! Like zinc, it is crucial in the health of the nervous system – specifically in muscle excitation and contraction quality. It’s also key for over 300 reactions in the body, especially those that involve ATP – the body’s key source of energy for exercise.

B6 absorption in ZMA is boosted by the zinc – which improves digestion quality and has a synergistic effect with B6 specifically. This vitamin is key to keeping your energy levels consistent and maintaining good health. It is a common deficiency – as with other B vitamins – so getting it in a bioavailable form by combining it with zinc is a great way to get the most from your supplements.

ZMA Dosage

How much ZMA you should take depends on the amount of each ingredient in the capsules. You want to get around 200-400mg of magnesium, 8-12mg of zinc, and plenty of B6 (since absorption rates are often poor). As long as you’re getting into this range, you’ll see positive results.

ZMA Timing

The timing of ZMA isn’t a huge concern, as the individual ingredients are likely to absorb slowly. Magnesium should also be taken with food where possible, since consuming too much at once – or too rapidly – can lead to some bloating. To play it safe, take your ZMA with lunch or dinner, keeping your intake stable throughout the latter half of the day.

What you need to avoid is taking ZMA with any high-calcium foods or drink. Calcium can reduce the intake of zinc, which is going to be a problem since you struggle to absorb zinc effectively already. Avoid taking ZMA with a dairy protein or milk.

The Best ZMA Supplements

The best ZMA supplements provide a healthy dose of zinc in a form that is absorbed effectively – such as chelate, gluconate, or citrate. A supplement using aspartate or monomethionine is going to be less effective. This is key since zinc is the key ingredient in ZMA and impacts how effective B vitamins are.

The best ZMA supplements may also contain smaller, less well-known compounds. Absorption boosters like piperine are a great way to improve the absorption of zinc, magnesium and B6. Other nutrients can also be useful if they don’t dilute the amount of zinc and magnesium in ZMA – check the label. If you’re getting the same amount of zinc, but additional nutrients, that’s a big plus!

Final Thoughts: ZMA Results

ZMA is a great example of a supplement that is backed by both scientific research for the importance of each ingredient and the experience of thousands of athletes.

Taking an effective ZMA supplement is likely to bring around feelings of improved strength, wellbeing, appetite, and regular hormonal function. Because of the effects of zinc and magnesium being so widespread within the body, you’re probably going to experience a general feeling of wellness that really adds another dimension to the benefits of this product.

Choosing the right ZMA product and using the right dosage is going to be key to gaining these results, so make sure you’re using a top-quality ZMA supplement.

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