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ZMA
 

ZMA (also known as Zinc and Magnesium) is a blend of Zinc, Magnesium & Vitamin B6 & is patented by SNAC System Inc. Research indicates that this blend of nutrients may support & promote healthy testosterone levels. One university study shows a 33.5% rise in testosterone following ZMA supplementation. Increases in muscle strength were also reported as greater in subjects using ZMA than a placebo group. ZMA traditionally is used by athletes wanting to gain lean muscle size & strength, including bodybuilders, rugby players, sprinters and other strength athletes. ZMA is also used widely by endurance athletes, such as runners, cyclists and triathletes, as it may help to prevent the drop in testosterone levels linked with high volumes of training.

The minerals zinc and magnesium have a number of important functions in the body. Zinc has been strongly linked to the production of testosterone, a hormone that plays a vital role in regulating muscle growth. In addition to its effect on testosterone, zinc has also been shown to increase levels of growth hormone and IGF-1. Both are essential for supporting & muscle hypertrophy. Magnesium is also an essential mineral, involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body including the oxidation or burning of body fat. Unfortunately, many of us, especially those involved in power & endurance sports may not get enough of these minerals in our diets.

According to a survey, more than 3 out of 5 people consume less than the RDA for magnesium and zinc. Clinical trials show that animals fed low zinc diets exhibit little muscle growth. If you exercise, this issue  may become more pronounced with one study indicating just one training session can increase magnesium losses by 21%. Studies also show a significant loss of magnesium in sweat. Zinc levels drop the longer you spend in the gym. These deficiencies have led researchers to study mineral supplementation in some depth, with some extremely promising results. Magnesium increased muscular performance far more quickly than in those taking a placebo supplement. Similar findings are reported for zinc. After just 14 days of supplementation, subjects showed an impressive increase in muscular strength and endurance. Even in men just moderately deficient in zinc, 30 milligrams daily was enough to double testosterone levels in only six months. Results have been even more impressive when a zinc and magnesium combination has been used. In one study, conducted at Western Washington University, two groups of American Footballers took part in an 8-week training programme. One group was given ZMA, while the second group used a placebo supplement. None of the footballers knew which was which. ZMA supplementation led to a 33.5% increase in testosterone. In contrast, testosterone levels actually dropped in the control group. IGF-1 (a powerful hormone that plays a vital role in muscle growth) is normally lowered in response to regular exercise. Yet, despite the intensive training programme, ZMA users experienced a 3.6% increase in IGF-1 levels. In non-ZMA users, IGF-1 levels dropped by a 21.5%. These powerful effects on hormone levels also had an impressive effect on muscle strength - ZMA users demonstrated gains in strength that were 252% larger than the control group.

ZMA works well with other supplements designed to support or increase testosterone levels such as Tribulus Terrestris. Because testosterone increases protein synthesis, ZMA may increase your need for protein. Many athletes combine ZMA with a higher protein diet during the mass or strength building phase of their training programme.

ZMA Supplements are commonly presented & sold as Complementary Medicines, Registered Therapeutic Items or Goods and Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods in Australia. ZMA is not a sole source of nutrition and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme. Not suitable for children or pregnant women. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision. Always read the label prior to use.

1. Brilla, L. Effects of zinc-magnesium (ZMA) supplementation on muscle attributes of football players. ACSM journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol.31, No. 5, May 1999.
2. Nielsen FH, Lukaski HC. ‘Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise.’ Magnes Res. 2006 Sep;19(3):180-9.
3. Lukaski HC. ‘Vitamin and mineral status: effects on physical performance.’ Nutrition. 2004 Jul-Aug;20(7-8):632-44.
4. Kilic M, Baltaci AK, Gunay M, Gökbel H, Okudan N, Cicioglu I. ‘The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc.’ Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Feb-Apr;27(1-2):247-52.
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