1. What is it and where does it come from?
ZMA is a scientifically designed anabolic mineral formula.* It contains Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate plus Magnesium Aspartate and vitamin B-6, and is an all-natural product that clinical testing suggests may significantly increase anabolic hormone levels and muscle strength in trained athletes.*
2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Don’t get me started! There is a large body of scientific evidence supportive of ZMA. Zinc and Magnesium are commonly depleted from your body. Studies suggest that supplementing with 30mg of Zinc and 450mg of Magnesium per day can elevate testosterone levels.*
The most talked about study is the following. Lorrie Brilla, PhD, a sports performance researcher at Western Washington University, recently reported that ZMA significantly increase free testosterone levels and muscle strength in NCAA football players. These ZMA study results were presented by Dr. Brilla on June 2, 1999, at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Seattle, WA, and were published in the official ACSM journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 31, No. 5, May 1999.
Specifically, Brilla reported that “a group of competitive NCAA football players who took ZMA nightly during an eight-week spring training program had 2.5 times greater muscle strength gains than a placebo group. (250% better results!) Pre and post leg strength measurements were made using a Biodex isokinetic dynamometer.” The strength of the ZMA group increased by 11.6% compared to only a 4.6% increase in the placebo group.
Brilla further explained, “The muscle strength increases may have been mediated by the anabolic hormone increases in the ZMA group. The ZMA group had 30% increases in free and total testosterone levels compared to 10 percent decreases in the placebo group… The ZMA group also had a slight increase in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels compared to a 20 percent decrease in the placebo group. This study shows that anabolic hormone and muscle strength increases can be induced in already strength-trained athletes by using a novel zinc-magnesium preparation.”
Many other studies have shown the same results! No wonder bodybuilders around the world are seeing better gains than ever before. No question about it, ZMA has the scientific research and real-world anecdotal evidence to launch it to a level previously held only by creatine. And the NFL has taken notice!
Another benefit is better sleep. ZMA should be taken 30 – 60 minutes before bed. Most people notice they can fall asleep deeper and then sleep more deeply. Don’t be surprised if you start having very vivid dreams while taking ZMA!
3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
Any bodybuilder looking to gain strength, increase athletic performance, and muscle mass should consider taking ZMA. There have been many studies suggesting that most athletes are deficient in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. This is not a good thing for any athlete! The effect of zinc depletion on muscle function was tested on eight male subjects. This study suggested that muscle endurance, or total work capacity, declines rapidly with acute zinc depletion and the degree of the decline is correlated with the reduction in plasma zinc concentration.* Many other studies suggest that after participating in regular intense exercise athletes’ levels of zinc and magnesium decreases deeply.
4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
The dosage and proportion is very important. You can’t just take a multi-vitamin to get these results. Most successful ZMA products have: Vitamin B6: 11mg, Magnesium: 450mg, Zinc: 30mg. This product is all-natural and there are no known side effects. It is safe for men and women.