Category: Muscle Building, Recovery, Sports Performance Due to improper diet and lack of supplementation the magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle cramps and spasms, weakness, and neuromuscular disorders. Studies have shown that zinc is linked to the training process and its additional intake helps delay fatigue during exercise, regulates the lactic acid, retains higher levels of testosterone, decreases the estrogen levels, and positively influences the blood density during exercise.
Dose: as per product label
Forms to use: chelated
Time Taken: on an empty stomach, 30-60 minutes before bedtime
Zinc And Magnesium Supplementation In Sports
Zinc and magnesium are some of the most popular minerals used not only for health but also for sporting purposes.
An important factor for their necessity is their easy loss from the body during exercise and sweating.
Tests on the levels of the both minerals after exercise have found that their levels are drastically reduced.
Besides the increased demand because of exercise, the deficiency of any of the two minerals can affect the strength, endurance, and recovery.
It has been found that the magnesium levels in the plasma are decreased dramatically in severe and prolonged workouts, and the body fills the gap of their quantities in the muscles, bone, and soft tissue.
Due to improper diet and lack of supplementation the magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle cramps and spasms, weakness, and neuromuscular disorders.
Various studies on the effect of magnesium on the training process have found that an adequate intake of magnesium in individuals suffering from that deficiency improves the pulse and the processing of oxygen.
Magnesium also regulates the neuromuscular agitation, the levels of lactate dehydrogenase (the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of lactic acid), and creatine kinase.
It has been found that acute deficiency of the mineral can lead to increased oxidative stress, inflammation, immunosuppression and modification of the potassium levels, which can lead to cardiac arrhythmia.
Various tests on athletes with normal magnesium levels have indicated a decrease of creatine kinase after exercise, which optimizes the recovery, increases the aerobic endurance and reduces the serum ammonia, which optimizes the use of carbohydrates for energy.
Most of the positive results have been noted in people who suffer from deficiency or do not get enough magnesium from their diets.
Zinc, as another important cofactor, also has a role in the sports supplementation.
Similarly to magnesium, zinc is influenced by the prolonged workouts that reduce the cholesterol levels in the plasma.
This may result in muscle weakness, increased inflammation, and a decrease in the immune system because of the additional stress which training cause.
Studies have shown that zinc is linked to the training process and its additional intake helps delay fatigue during exercise, regulates the lactic acid, retains higher levels of testosterone, decreases the estrogen levels, and positively influences the blood density during exercise.
What Is ZMA?
ZMA is a patented formula developed by Victor Balko, and the trademark is owned by the company SNAC Systems.
As a complex ZMA is an abbreviation, indicating the two main elements in it - Zinc and Magnesium Aspartate but the formula includes a wider range of items.
ZMA consists of a specific chelated (organic) compounds of zinc and magnesium, in this case, zinc monometionin, zinc aspartate, and magnesium aspartate.
Vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride is added to it.
A part of the brand is the ratio of the elements, at a dose of three capsules contains 450 mg of magnesium, 30 mg of zinc and 10-15 mg of pyridoxine hydrochloride.
ZMA is designed for sports enthusiasts, and professional athletes as the patent owner claim that the formula increases the testosterone and boosts the strength and muscle mass.
Is ZMA Better Than The Other Forms Of Zinc And Magnesium?
Despite all the benefits of zinc and magnesium, the question remains: Is ZMA better than the other forms and is it a more qualitative product?
The forms of zinc in ZMA are two - a compound of zinc with methionine and with aspartic acid.
Both forms are chelated, and there are studies demonstrating their advantageous properties and digestibility.
Tests have shown higher bioactivity and retention period in the body of zinc monometionin compared to zinc oxide and zinc sulfate.
Zinc aspartate demonstrates better results than one of the most absorbable forms - zinc glycinate.
Given the extremely high potency of monomethionine and aspartate, we can assume that zinc in ZMA is among the most potent forms.
Magnesium aspartate is a compound of magnesium and aspartic acid, which is completely superior to the inorganic forms such as magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.
Laboratory studies have shown better absorption of the chelated forms of magnesium as citrate, gluconate, aspartate, lactate, and glycine, as the individual studies note some discrepancies in the comparisons of some of the chelated forms.
Aspartate ranks among the first places in absorption, bioavailability, and retention in the body, but in some of the studies, it gives its place up to the forms gluconate and citrate. Pyridoxine is not the most potent form of vitamin B6, but its absorption rate is high enough.
A more bioactive form of vitamin B6 is pyridoxal-5-phosphate, but its use in complex formulations is costly and unnecessary.
Apart from the beneficial properties of each component, one of the biggest advantages of ZMA is the combination of three elements.
The minerals zinc and magnesium act as potent synergists.
Each of them is a cofactor involved in numerous enzymatic reactions important for the functioning of the nervous system and the muscles, and they have an impact on some of the sexual hormones.
The addition of vitamin B6, which affects the metabolism of zinc and magnesium, is extremely valuable.
Vitamin B6 helps prevent the magnesium deficiency, and with its help, the transport of magnesium in the cells is enhanced.
It also increases the concentration of the mineral.
There is a relation between the vitamin B6 deficiency and the low zinc levels, as Pyridoxine improves the absorption and transportation of zinc in the body.
Proven And Potential Benefits
As a formula and composition ZMA has great potential in sports supplementation, but the lack of large-scale independent studies is a drawback of the benefits of the product.
The first study on ZMA was made in 1998 on American football athletes, who have had years of training experience. The intake has lasted for eight weeks, as a dose of 450 mg of magnesium and 30 mg of zinc has been considered standard. The results have shown higher levels of zinc (29.1%) and magnesium (6.2%) in the plasma, increased free testosterone (32.4%) and IGF-1 (3.6%), as well as increased muscle strength and explosiveness. The survey has been conducted in the laboratory of the creator of ZMA - Victor Balko, which downgrades its authenticity and accuracy;
In 2004 German researchers investigated the effects of ZMA on 42 trained athletes for the period of 8 weeks. Tests have shown an increase in the levels of zinc by 11-17%, but without a significant impact on the active weight, anabolic and catabolic hormones, the maximum force for a bench press and a leg press, muscular endurance of the upper and lower body and aerobic endurance during cycling. The conclusion is that ZMA is not helpful for training adaptation. The results can be confirmed by another recent study from 2009, which has monitored the effects of ZMA on the levels of zinc and the free testosterone in a diet low in zinc. The results have shown a significant increase in the levels of zinc in the plasma, but without influence on the free testosterone.
There is little research on the ZMA complex itself, but there is some that include its components.
The combination of zinc and magnesium leverages insomnia by improving the sleep and quality of sleep. Taking zinc and magnesium will have a positive effect on training periods if there are deviations from sleep. This is the reason why ZMA is recommended before going to bed;
The zinc and magnesium deficiency may lead to neurological disorders and depression. Zinc has proven antidepressant properties due to its effect on an antagonist o the glutamate / N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor. Magnesium improves the mood and the recovery from depression. It reacts with zinc in the synthesis of melatonin;
The zinc and magnesium deficiency can have a direct impact on the physical state of the body. Studies have shown that the low levels of zinc and magnesium increase the fatigue from physical activity, and their reception in the case of the deficit has a positive impact. This is especially important for individuals who have frequent workouts and extremely high loads. The potential benefits are associated with prolonged stress, as in one study the combination of magnesium aspartate and potassium aspartate has increased the capacity by nearly 50%.
The deficiency of magnesium can lead to muscle cramps and stiffness;
The use of magnesium aspartate after exercise demonstrates lowering of the cortisol by 25% and regulation of the cardiac pacemakers by 8%. The intake has included doses of 365 mg within 14 days under a regime of extreme physical activity. The use of magnesium aspartate has indicated a significant decrease in the blood pressure;
Zinc and magnesium are easily lost during intense sweating and high temperature, which makes their intake as a food supplement a suitable way for restoring the lost quantities;
Despite the lack of reliable studies to demonstrate the positive effects of ZMA on hormones, separate studies on zinc and magnesium have suggested some potential benefits. One study has shown that the intake of Vitamin B6 and zinc inhibits the activity of the enzyme 5a-reductase, which is responsible for the converting of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
The zinc and magnesium deficiency can result in calcium deficiency.
The three main ingredients in ZMA are not known with numerous side effects.
On the contrary, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 are completely safe when taken in the recommended doses.
Side effects can be seen in cases of exceeding the recommended doses in very high quantities.
Zinc is safe at doses of up to 200 mg daily, as the usual side effects may include nausea and stomach discomfort.
Doses above 200 mg pose a serious risk of poisoning, symptoms of anemia, high cholesterol, and copper deficiency.
Magnesium also notes no significant side effects when taken in the recommended doses.
Some individuals can suffer stomach discomfort and nausea.
An overdose of magnesium, which exceeds 2,000 mg daily, can lead to toxicity and can exhibit side effects such as vomiting, muscle weakness, changes in the heart rate, and reduction of the tendon reflexes. Studies have shown that the pyridoxine is relatively safe as a substance, as only high doses above 500 mg can lead to side effects such as sensory and peripheral neuropathy.
How To Combine ZMA?
As a product, including basic elements, ZMA has a very wide application, which makes it a suitable supplement for the combination with various other products.
ZMA is a product that is recommended in sports supplementation to increase the strength and muscle mass, which makes its combination with products such as creatine monohydrate, leucine, whey protein, essential amino acids and others, very suitable.
One should not overlook the quality of the product as a nighttime formula that improves falling sleep and the sleep itself, so it is appropriate to be combined with other supplements of the same class as 5-HTP (a similar formula has the patent owned SNAC Systems), melatonin, and GABA. There are also products that are inadvisable to be combined with ZMA, due to the interference of the absorption or action of any of the ingredients.
The minerals zinc and magnesium are adversely affected by other minerals such as calcium, iron, selenium, and copper.
These minerals can be administered as separate products, but also often part of multivitamin complexes.
The zinc absorption is affected by fibers, and therefore one should avoid the concomitant use of ZMA and fibers as a dietary supplement.
Because ZMA has a patent, the doses within a capsule are the same in different manufacturers, most often 150 mg of magnesium and 10 mg of zinc.
The dose of vitamin B6 varies from individual manufacturer between 3.5 mg and 5 mg per capsule.
The recommended daily dose for men is 450 mg of magnesium and 30 mg of zinc, and for women respectively 300 mg of magnesium and 20 mg of zinc.
There are no side effects proven scientifically if the recommended doses are exceeded.
The safe doses of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 in active people repeatedly exceed the mentioned ones on the label.
Although there are no studies, it is suggested that higher doses would not have unpleasant side effects.
The product is recommended to be taken on an empty stomach 30-60 minutes before bedtime with avoiding the consumption of foods rich in calcium.
Where Can We Find ZMA?
ZMA is a patented formula and therefore it is almost always sold as a standalone product that can be found in the sports series of the better known dietary supplements manufacturers.
Very rarely the complex can be included in a formula as a multivitamin, but even with preserved ratio of ingredients, doses are very low.
If ZMA is included in the formula of a product, the label will necessarily indicate the trademark.