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ZMA supplements consist of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts mostly use them to help with muscle building, but they can also reduce sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.

Athletes, bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and gymnasts take ZMA supplements to help with muscle building and strength. Also, manufacturers claim that taking these supplements can help with recovery, improving endurance and athletic performance. However, before you consume the supplements for your fitness, how about finding out what they are, the components, benefits, and the potential side effects associated with their consumption?

What is ZMA

ZMA (zinc magnesium aspartate) is a nutritional supplement with a combination of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6.  The manufacturers claim the supplement helps with muscle growth and strength, increasing testosterone levels, recovery, improving endurance. These benefits, therefore, make it a go-to option for bodybuilders, athletes, or anyone in love with fitness. Nonetheless, there are claims that ZMA supplements can help improve the quality of one’s sleep.

All three nutrients play a role in the body; zinc as a trace mineral supports muscles, digestion, and the immune system, magnesium helps with muscle health, creation of energy, metabolism, and functioning of the nerve. On the other hand, vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps neurotransmission and nutrient metabolism.

You can purchase ZMA supplements in the form of powder or capsules online or in supplement stores. Therefore, it is not surprising to see bodybuilders, athletes, gymnasts, and other fitness enthusiasts take ZMA supplements. However, as much as manufacturers have so many claims regarding the supplements, there are cases when more research is still necessary.

The Benefits

The following are some of the potential benefits of taking ZMA supplements;

Help Enhance Athletic Performance

This is one of the claimed benefits of using ZMA supplements. Theoretically, they help enhance athletic performance in individuals deficient in the key nutrients of zinc and magnesium, which are present in the supplements.

Therefore, taking ZMA will increase their testosterone hormone levels, which in turn affects muscle mass. However, the available evidence on this is limited since few studies show results of the supplements in athletic performance. More research is, therefore, still necessary.

May Boost Immunity

The three components of ZMA supplements, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, are important for healthy immunity. Zinc will help in the development and proper functioning of immune cells and help reduce the risks of infections.

Magnesium helps reduce inflammation, while vitamin B6 is necessary for the body to combat infections. Therefore, a deficiency in these nutrients means an unhealthy immunity.

May Improve Quality of Sleep

Getting a quality night’s sleep can be a hassle. However, you can achieve this when you supplement with magnesium and zinc. According to research, magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps calm and relaxes the body. Both animal and human studies on zinc’s effects on sleep quality also show positive results.

May Enhance Your Mood

ZMA supplements contain magnesium and vitamin B6, which may help enhance your mood. According to a study, increased magnesium intake reduces developing depression. What’s more, the two can help reduce the symptoms of depression.

May Help Control Blood Sugar

If you have diabetes, zinc and magnesium can help control blood sugar levels. Magnesium can help by improving how the body utilizes insulin, the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from the blood into the cells. On the other hand, Zinc helps lower HbA1c in a similar way to how metformin, a diabetes drug, does.

Therefore, supplementing with zinc and magnesium can be a good idea if you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it.

May Aid in Weight Loss

The minerals in ZMA supplements can help people struggling with weight loss. A study conducted on obese individuals showed that daily intake of 30mg of zinc helps increase weight loss. This can be attributed to zinc’s ability to suppress appetite.

Other research shows that people with obesity have low levels of zinc; hence, supplementing on the nutrient can help them with weight loss. However, there are no studies that show how the components of ZMA can help an individual lose weight, particularly when dealing with body fat. This, therefore, means that the ZMA supplements are not the most effective way of losing weight.

The Side Effects

There are no major side effects associated with taking ZMA supplements. However, too much consumption from what the manufacturer recommends may bring health concerns. Remember, the amount of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 in ZMA may be moderate to high levels. Therefore, the nutrients might bring certain side effects when taken in high doses.

The following are some of the side effects of taking too much zinc;

  • Nausea
  • vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Copper deficiency
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Stomach cramps

Additionally, too much consumption of zinc might lower immunity over time. It might even reduce the levels of “good” cholesterol.

Excessive consumption of magnesium, on the other hand, can cause;

  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

When you overdose on vitamin B6, you can experience the following side effects;

  • Damaged nerves
  • Painful hands and feet
  • Numb limbs

When you keep to the right dosage, you don’t have to worry about these side effects. Therefore, check the labels properly and stick to the instructions. Also, it is important to note that you can experience interactions with the medication you might already be under. For instance, zinc and magnesium interact with antibiotics, medicine for blood pressure, and diuretics.

Furthermore, it is recommended you first talk to your healthcare provider to find out if it is okay to use the ZMA supplements or not, especially when you are already under certain medication. What’s more, it is best for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to stay away from the supplements.


ZMA supplements are common among bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and gymnastics because there are claims they help with muscle growth, strength, and recovery. They contain zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, which all have a role in the body. Remember that the available evidence on ZMA helping with exercise performance is still mixed. In cases like weight loss, there is no concrete evidence. The good thing is, each of the individual components has benefits, from sugar control, enhancing moods, improving sleep quality, to helping with healthy immunity. Importantly, ensure you do not overdose, so you avoid the potential side effects.

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For the past years, Tatyana has worked as a sex blogger and a relationship advisor. She has been featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue. Vice, Tatler, Vanity Fair, and many others. Since 2016, Tatyana has focused on sexology, attended various training courses, participated in international conferences and congresses. “I wish people would address sexual issues in a timely manner! Forget shyness, prejudice and feel free to see a sex doctor for help or advice!” Tanya enjoys pursuing her flare for creativity through modelling, graffiti art, astronomy, and technology.

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