ZMA, Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, is a common supplement taken by athletes to ensure optimum post-workout recovery in the body. The supplement is made up of zinc, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6.1
What are the Benefits of ZMA?
This supplement is most often taken to help to regulate sleep, decrease the recovery period post-workout, and increase muscle strength and stamina and to increase testosterone levels.2
Zinc- Zinc is very crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system, and plays an important role in protein synthesis. By boosting the immune system, the mineral works to reduce the chance of pathogens attacking the body and helps to heal wounds quickly.3 A deficiency in this mineral can decrease appetite, and cause unwanted weight loss. A deficiency, or a decrease in protein synthesis, causes a decrease in the rate of synthesis of proteins retained in the liver.4 Though, with the supplementation, zinc can increase the rate of the synthesis of proteins retained in the liver, helping cells to build their specific proteins.5
Magnesium- Magnesium helps to support healthy growth and strong bones in the body, as well as healthy function of nerves and muscles in the body.6 This important mineral also helps to increase energy, calm the nerves, regulate sleep, relieve muscle soreness and spasms, and help to prevent osteoporosis.7 When working together with zinc, the two minerals combined help to maintain strong muscles and bones, provide energy, and increase protein synthesis, and aid in sleep (by encouraging muscle relaxation, increasing sleepiness).8
Vitamin B-6- Our B-Vitamins are what we need to gain energy. They play a crucial role in ATP synthesis (releasing energy from food). Vitamin B-6, in particular, is important for its ability to form haemoglobin, which transfer oxygen around the body.9 Moreover, it allows the body to store and eventually utilise the energy from proteins and carbohydrates consumed.9
ZMA and its Anabolic Effect
By increasing the extent to which the muscles relax and improving sleep, muscles can have a better chance of repairing during sleep, decreasing the amount of time needed for muscle recovery. This can be extremely beneficial for athletes, allowing the athlete to be able to perform more intense workouts closer together in time.
When to take ZMA
For optimum utilisation, ZMA should be taken on an empty stomach approximately 30-60 minutes before bedtime. This will help for a restful sleep and for muscle maintenance and recovery.8
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