Should I Use ZMA?

Q: Is ZMA worth using? Can it really raise testosterone levels, or is it just an expensive way to get some Zinc, B vitamins and Magnesium? Does it really do anything?

A: Personally, I think ZMA is absolutely worth using – and I do use it myself on a highly regular basis. You could easily say it’s a cornerstone of my bodybuilding supplementation. Yes, ZMA is a way to supplement your diet with Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6, but there’s more to it than that. The uptake of these substances seems to be very good, and – albeit mostly from anecdotal evidence – we have reason to believe that taking a ZMA supplement is superior to just taking those substances by themselves. However, do make sure that the ZMA supplements you are using are actually ZMA supplements – and not some cheap rip off (of which there are plenty, unfortunately). A proper ZMA formula should come in capsule form and give you (per capsule) 10 milligrams of Zinc (mono-methionine and aspartate), 150 milligrams of magnesium, and 3,5 milligrams of vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine hydrochloride). It should, in other words, consist of SNAC’s patent pending formula, and nothing else.

So what are the benefits of ZMA supplementation?

Personally, I find that ZMA helps me sleep better. I already sleep pretty well most nights, but ZMA really does seem to make my sleep deeper and more restorative. I may sleep six hours yet feel that I’ve slept for eight. I usually feel rested and rejuvenated in a way that I do not feel when I have not taken this supplement the night before (you should take ZMA on an empty stomach 30 minutes before bed). That alone makes it worthwhile for me.

Furthermore, ZMA may help increase vital hormones such as testosterone and IGF-1. I would think that any increase in testosterone as a result of taking this supplement would be mostly due to a lack of zinc, magnesium and / or vitamin B6 – all of which are important in maintaining optimal testosterone levels (and many people are indeed deficient these nutrients), but any improvement in sleep quality could of course also help increase testosterone levels somewhat.

The man behind this supplement is, of course, Victor Conte, who is probably a whole lot more famous for his, um, pharmaceutical involvement with professional track athletes like Marion Jones back in the Balco Labs days. Conte seems to be a pretty creative, perhaps even brilliant guy, and while you may not support his work in the field of performance enhancing drugs, I do feel that he did a sufficiently good job coming up with this ZMA formula for me to keep taking it as well as recommending it to others. So take your ZMA!