What is ZMA good for?

If you are a fitness enthusiast, an athlete, or a bodybuilder, then you may have heard about ZMA tablets a lot. These tablets are well-known for improving athletic performance in several ways.

As the name indicates, ZMA tablets contain zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, which play different roles in the body. They are believed to improve athletic performance, boost the immune system, elevate mood, and maintain blood sugar levels.

In this article, we have talked about the main benefits of ZMA capsules to explain why it is good for your health.

What is ZMA?

ZMA stands for zinc magnesium aspartate. It is a popular supplement among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts. It contains zinc monomethionine, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6. Some manufacturers add alternatives to these elements, while others add more vitamins and minerals to the supplement.

Each of these ingredients has its own role in the body and can improve a person’s health in various ways. For instance, zinc is required by 300 plus enzymes that are involved in many metabolic reactions. Magnesium aspartate is important for muscle function and energy production. Similarly, vitamin B6 is significant for nutrient metabolism.

ZMA supplement producers claim that it boosts testosterone production, helps with building muscles, improves sleep quality, elevates mood, and maintains blood sugar levels. Some pieces of research also prove these effects of ZMA tablets. However, more research should be done to identify the effectiveness of ZMA.

What is ZMA good for?

The below points will elaborate on the beneficial effects of ZMA capsules.

Athletic performance

ZMA tablets are popularly used by athletes because it is believed these tablets increase testosterone production, which further helps in improving performance and building muscle mass. However, it is noticed that ZMA has this effect on athletes that have a deficiency of zinc, magnesium, or vitamin B6.

Most athletes follow a strict diet plan that is usually low in magnesium and zinc. If they follow such a diet plan for a longer period, they may develop a deficiency of these minerals. Similarly, athletes also sweat more than common people. These minerals are also lost through sweat which can also contribute to a mineral deficiency. [1]

A deficiency in zinc or magnesium reduces the production of testosterone (a hormone that increases muscle mass) and insulin-like growth factor (a hormone that contributes to cell recovery and growth). [2] Therefore, increasing the levels of magnesium and zinc through ZMA capsules may help an athlete who is deficient in minerals improve his performance and cell recovery.

One study concluded that 27 football players who took a ZMA supplement for 8 weeks noticed an increase in their testosterone levels, muscle power, and overall performance. [3] However, more research should be done to find the effect of ZMA tablets in people who have a normal concentration of zinc and magnesium in their bodies.

Mood levels

The main ingredients of a ZMA supplement, zinc, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6, effectively boost mood. Their deficiency can contribute to the development of depression, anger issues, and mood swings.

In one study, researchers studied the relationship between depression and magnesium levels in 8,900 adults. They found that adults who were deficient in magnesium were at a 22% higher risk of having depression in the near future. [4] In another study, it was discovered that older adults who took 450 mg of magnesium regularly noticed a reduction in their depression symptoms. In fact, it was found to be as effective as an antidepressant is. [5]

Several studies also prove the link between depression, anger issues, and zinc deficiency. [6] Thus, taking ZMA capsules that contain zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 can elevate mood in people who are deficient in these components. It is best to get your doctor’s advice before using these supplements for depression.

Blood sugar levels

Both zinc and magnesium play an important role in maintaining blood sugar levels in diabetic people. During one research, 1,360 participants took zinc supplements regularly. Their post-meal blood sugar levels and fasting blood sugar levels were found to be reduced. [7]

Studies done on the effectiveness of zinc supplements showed that it is as effective as anti-diabetic drugs are. [8] Therefore, people fighting off diabetes may find ZMA supplement helpful in maintaining their blood sugar levels.

Immune system

All of the main components of ZMA capsules are involved in boosting the immune system in several ways. For instance, magnesium deficiency is linked to the development of chronic inflammation, which further leads to diseases like cancer. Taking magnesium can reduce inflammation markers. [9]

Vitamin B6 and zinc are involved in the production and function of immune system cells. They contribute to preventing infections by enhancing the ability of cells to kill microbes. [10, 11] So, taking these elements through ZMA tablets can boost your immune system and help you combat infection.

The bottom line

A ZMA supplement contributes to boosting the immune system, improving athletic performance by increasing testosterone production, managing blood sugar levels, and reducing depression. They are more effective for people deficient in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. If you are planning to take these supplements, then it is advised to first get your doctor’s opinion.


References:

  1. Zinc status in athletes: relation to diet and exercise - PubMed (nih.gov)
  2. ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations - PubMed (nih.gov)
  3. Brilla1ColV2.PDF (asep.org)
  4. Magnesium intake and depression in adults - PubMed (nih.gov)
  5. Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial - PubMed (nih.gov)
  6. Effect of zinc supplementation on mood states in young women: a pilot study - PubMed (nih.gov)
  7. Effects of zinc supplementation on diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis - PubMed (nih.gov)
  8. Effect of intensive blood-glucose control with metformin on complications in overweight patients with type 2 diabetes (UKPDS 34). UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) Group - PubMed (nih.gov)
  9. Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives - PubMed (nih.gov)
  10. Zinc in Wound Healing Modulation - PubMed (nih.gov)
  11. Vitamin B6 supplementation increases immune responses in critically ill patients - PubMed (nih.gov)
Tags: Articles, ZMA

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