ZMA stands for zinc magnesium aspartate, and it’s a supplement often marketed towards folks in the fitness realm. Typically, ZMA is made up of a combination of magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6 (with the A standing for aspartate). Zinc and magnesium play important roles in a number of bodily functions, helping regulate metabolism, digestion, and energy creation. This supplement is often used by athletes aiming to enhance their workout recovery through getting a better night’s sleep.
More research is needed to make any definitive claims about ZMA’s effectiveness. However, some evidence suggests that zinc and magnesium supplementation may help you get a higher quality of sleep. Although many turn to it in hopes of improving their workouts, there’s really not much credible, independent evidence that proves its ability to improve athletic performance. But don’t sleep on the potential benefits for athletes of getting more…well, sleep. We took a look at some of the best ZMA supplements and rated them.
Our Top Picks of the Best ZMA Supplements of 2024
- Best ZMA Supplement Overall: Transparent Labs ZMO
- Best ZMA Supplement for Testosterone: TestoFuel
- Best Budget ZMA Supplement: Optimum Nutrition ZMA Capsules
- Best ZMA Supplement on Amazon: NOW Sports ZMA Sports Recovery
- Best ZMA Supplement for Sleep: Swolverine ZMT
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine.
How We Tested and Chose the Best ZMA
When we build our best lists, there are several different factors we consider before making our picks. For ZMA supplements, we considered the supplement type, pricing, and research behind the products we tried to provide options for a wide variety of customers. More on that below.
Unlike creatine or pre-workout supps, ZMA supplements mainly come in capsule form, not powder. But different companies add different ingredients to their product, as you’ll see below. Some are formulated for testosterone support, while others prioritize sleep and recovery. We included a variety of ZMA types on this list so you can find the product that best suits your needs and fitness goals.
Depending on what supplement type and brand you choose, prices can vary. We understand supplements can get pretty expensive, so we’ve provided a wide price range on our list, including a budget pick for those looking to give their wallet some peace.
Just because you’re getting a certain supplement or ingredient, doesn’t mean it’s in an effective dosage size. Ultimately, that means you probably won’t reap the benefits of the product (at least not as much as you’d like). We’ve only included picks on this list that contain proper dosage for their ingredients, based on the recommended daily value and other research we’ve evaluated.
Best ZMA Supplement Overall: Transparent Labs ZMO
Using exact forms of zinc picolinate, magnesium bisglycinate, and oyster meat powder, this product is free from artificial colorings, sweeteners, and GMOs. Each serving packs 10 milligrams of zinc.
- Key Ingredients: 114mg magnesium, 11mg zinc, 500mg oyster meat powder
- Capsules per Serving: Two
- Price per Serving: $0.97
- This product contains high levels of zinc and magnesium to help improve your recovery.
- There are no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or colorings.
- The oyster meat powder delivers extra zinc (more below).
- This product does not contain vitamin B6, which others do.
- Other products provide more magnesium.
Many companies pack their products with fillers and artificial ingredients, but we love Transparent Labs for its, well, transparent supplements. This ZMO supplement has only three ingredients: 144 milligrams of magnesium, 11 milligrams of zinc, and 500 milligrams of oyster meat powder.
The zinc is definitely the star of this product, as you get 100 percent of your daily recommended value. And for recovery purposes, that’s a big win. An essential mineral, zinc helps keep your immune system strong and is crucial for your body’s healing process, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Helping your body heal damaged tissue and build proteins, zinc also helps promote better recovery for your fitness goals, whether that’s increased strength or endurance (or anywhere in between).
You also get 500mg of oyster meat powder in this product. This may sound a bit out of place, but Transparent Labs includes this ingredient because oysters are naturally high in zinc and magnesium. Actually, oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
As with some omega-3 supps, you may get a little whiff of the fish, according to our testers. “I get a slight seafood/fishy taste and smell when taking these. It’s ignorable, but present.” So, you may want to take these pills with some juice or other flavored drink.
As with most TL products, this one is totally free of artificial coloring, sweeteners, or preservatives, which customers love. “Amazing products and clean ingredients,” one five-star reviewer writes. “No fillers and easy-to-read labels.” Thanks to the high levels of zinc in this product, accompanied by magnesium and oyster meat powder, Transparent Labs ZMO is a hard one to match.
Best ZMA Supplement for Testosterone: TestoFuel
Testofuel uses an up-to-date formula with large doses of each included ingredient to help optimize your muscle growth. All-natural ingredients such as d-aspartic acid, vitamin D, and oyster extract help to support your body’s natural production of testosterone and muscle, making this product a great choice for those looking to pack on some gains.
- Key Ingredients: 4000IU vitamin D3, 18mcg vitamin K2, 70mg Magnesium, 10mg Zinc, 2000mg D-Aspartic Acid
- Capsules per Serving: Four
- Price per Serving: $2
- This formula contains 2000mg D-aspartic acid, aimed to help increase your testosterone levels (more below).
- You get 10mg of zinc and 70mg of magnesium for better recovery.
- The capsules are vegetarian-friendly.
- You have to take 4 capsules per serving.
- This product doesn’t contain any vitamin B6.
- It’s a little on the pricey side at $2 per serving.
Unlike most other ZMA supplements, TestoFuel is geared towards increasing your natural testosterone levels, while still providing ZMA ingredients, including 10 milligrams of zinc and 70 milligrams of magnesium.
The unique ingredient in this formula is definitely the D-aspartic acid or D-AA. This is an amino acid that may help boost testosterone levels. Although more conclusive research is needed, D-AA helps release testosterone in your body and therefore may be able to help increase your levels. (2) Again, though, more trials are definitely needed to confirm these claims.
This formula also packs 4,000 IU of vitamin D, which is about 500 percent of your daily recommended value. We can go on and on about why vitamin D is so important. But for fitness specifically, vitamin D has been associated with improved muscle function and strength. (3) And after taking TestoFuel, customers have definitely noticed strength gains. “My abs look better than ever and I feel more motivated, I have more energy and I have bigger lifts,” one customer testimonial says. “I have been taking TestoFuel for about three months and I’m about to place my next order.”
A testosterone-focused supplement, TestoFuel provides high levels of zinc and magnesium, alongside a handful of additional recovery- and strength-geared ingredients. Although this ingredient is a bit pricey ($59.99 per bottle), it does pack a serious punch. However, if you’re looking solely for a ZMA supplement, you can find cheaper alternatives on this list.
Best Budget ZMA Supplement: Optimum Nutrition ZMA Capsules
Optimum Nutrition's ZMA capsules have a simple formula, containing only zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. At only $0.65 per serving, this is one of the most affordable options out there.
- Key Ingredients: 450mg magnesium, 30mg zinc, 10.5mg vitamin B6
- Capsules per Serving: Three
- Price per Serving: $0.71
- At only $0.71 per serving, this is one of the cheapest options.
- You get high levels of all the ZMA ingredients: vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc.
- You only have to take three capsules per serving.
- The capsules are not vegan- or vegetarian-friendly.
- Other formulas are more robust with some beneficial ingredients.
For those shopping on a budget, Optimum Nutrition has you covered. At about $0.64 per serving ($42.99 per bottle), this is definitely one of the cheapest options on the market — but that doesn’t detract from the quality.
This ZMA supplement is simple and packs all the right ingredients in high doses. One serving of Optimum Nutrition’s ZMA gives you 10.5mg of vitamin B6 (618 percent of your RDV), 450mg of magnesium (107 percent of your RDV), and 30mg of zinc (273 percent of your RDV). When it comes to dosage, though, women need to take two capsules and men are recommended to take three in order to get enough of each ingredient.
Although it’s not totally necessary, it’s recommended to take these pills before bed. Magnesium may help you fall asleep faster and improve your overall sleep quality, according to the Cleveland Clinic. “I’ve been taking magnesium in some form almost every night for a few years, and it always helps me sleep better,” our personal tester says. “I didn’t notice any kind of regression switching to ON brand, so I assume it works great.”
At less than a dollar per serving, ON’s ZMA supplement is definitely one of the most budget-friendly on this list. And thanks to its simple formula with highly-dosed ingredients, you’re certainly getting your money’s worth.
Best ZMA Supplement for Sleep: Swolverine ZMT
Swolverine ZMT Testosterone Booster is made with the intention of promoting high-quality sleep and boosting testosterone levels during that sleep. It's made up of ingredients like magnesium, ashwagandha, and melatonin with your best nights rest in mind.
- Key Ingredients: 25mg vitamin B6, 422mg magnesium, 50mg zinc, 1000mg l-taurine, 500mg l-theanine, 500mg l-tryptophan, 3mg melatonin
- Capsules per Serving: Six
- Price per Serving: $2.16
- This formula adds sleep-focused ingredients like l-theanine and melatonin.
- You get 25mg of vitamin B6, 422mg of magnesium, and 50mg of zinc.
- The BioPerin may improve the bioavailability of ingredients (see above).
- You have to take six capsules per serving, which isn’t always convenient.
- This is a pricer product at $64.99 per bottle ($2.16 per serving).
While Swolverine’s ZMT supplement provides all the must-have ZMA products (and at high doses), you also get some added sleep-focused ingredients to help you better recover from long, grueling sessions at the gym or stressful days at the office.
This product has 422mg of magnesium (that’s 100 percent of your RDV) and 500mg of l-theanine, both of which help promote more restful sleep. Plus, you get 3mg of melatonin, which is a natural hormone that signals to your body that it’s time to go to sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic. And customers definitely feel the effects before they hit the hay. “Not only do I wake up feeling great, I was surprised at how much this mix puts me down to sleep,” one five-star review says. “I can’t keep my eyes open more than 15 minutes after taking.”
Swolverine ZMT also has 300mg of ashwagandha, an herb that helps ease stress and anxiety, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This ingredient is also beneficial for recovery, as it can help reduce inflammation and normalize your cortisol levels (also ideal before bed).
Although this is one of the more expensive picks on our list ($64.99 per bottle), you definitely get some sleep-specific ingredients. And while some say muscles are built in the gym, they’re really grown while you’re asleep. Maybe an investment in your recovery is exactly what you need.
Best ZMA Supplement on Amazon: NOW Sports ZMA Sports Recovery
NOW Sports' ZMA Supplement has a simple formula with no added fillers or ingredients. Plus, it's on Amazon Prime, so you can get it at your doorstep within just a few days.
- Key Ingredients: 15mg vitamin B6, 450mg magnesium, 30mg zinc
- Capsules per Serving: 3 for men, 2 for women
- Price per Serving: $0.40
- It’s available on Amazon Prime and can arrive at your doorstep in a few days.
- It’s only about $0.40 per serving.
- You get all the vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc in high doses.
- This formula has no added ingredients, just the three listed above.
No one loves to spend weeks waiting for a product they ordered online. Enter Amazon Prime. These NOW Sports ZMA Sports Recovery supplement is available on Prime, so if you order now, you can have it at your door in just a day or two.
This formula is super simple, including 15 milligrams of vitamin B6, 450 milligrams of magnesium, and 30 milligrams of Zinc — that’s more than 100 percent of your daily recommended value for all of these vitamins and minerals. However, be aware that the serving size is different for men and women (three capsules for women, three for men), so adjust accordingly.
This formula has no artificial colors, flavors, or unlabeled ingredients, so you’re getting exactly what the label says. That’s why so many customers absolutely love NOW Sports’ product. “This product is absolutely amazing, to say the least,” one five-star reviewer writes. “I have purchased a few things from Amazon but this has to be the best. The reason being, the fast recovery, the deep sleep, and the dreams. I am a bodybuilder and just happened across this and was blown away.”
At only $23.94 per bottle ($0.40 per serving), this is definitely one of the most price-friendly options on our list. And considering it arrives at your home quickly, it’s a win-win. This no-nonsense formula is ideal for those who want a simple ZMA supplement that gets the job done. And although you have to take a few capsules per serving, our personal testers say they are a perfectly average size and not difficult to swallow.
What is ZMA?
ZMA stands for zinc, magnesium, aspartate and is a supplement that contains zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. ZMA supplements are developed for athletes with the intention of improving physical performance.
Currently, there isn’t a ton of research on ZMA supplementation and the products’ effects on athletics but these micronutrients, individually, are crucial to your health. For one, zinc helps keep your immune system and metabolism functioning properly, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s also a component your body uses during the healing process.
Magnesium promotes proper muscle and nerve function and helps your body produce energy, a key part of physical performance, per the Mayo Clinic. Magnesium also helps promote good sleep.
Finally, vitamin B6 encourages normal brain development and helps keep your nervous system and immune system healthy. Vitamin B6 may even help lessen PMS symptoms and reduce the severity of morning sickness, according to the Mayo Clinic.
So, although research hasn’t developed a firm link between ZMA supplementation and performance in athletes, it probably won’t hurt and may even help fill some gaps in your day-to-day diet. (4)
What to Look for in ZMA Supplements
While some ZMA supplements are pretty simple, different companies produce different formulas. Dosage, ingredients, and price can all vary from one company to the next, so you want to keep a close eye on the details before you buy.
Most ZMA supplements contain zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. So, at the very least, you probably want a product that contains these three ingredients. Beyond that, though, you want to get at least 100 percent of your daily recommended value in order to reap the benefits of the product you purchase.
As you may have noticed with our different picks above, ZMA supplement formulas can vary from one product to the next. While some bottles contain purely zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, others may add some additional ingredients.
To find the best product for you, it comes down to personal preference. Do you want a supplement that helps promote better rest? In that case, a sleep-focused formula with ingredients like melatonin and l-theanine may be ideal. Or, if you want to improve your testosterone levels, look for a product with a hormone-specific formula.
Our ZMA supplement picks vary quite a bit in price, ranging from $0.40 per serving to more than $2. With a higher price, you usually get added ingredients and benefits. But if you’re looking for a pure ZMA product, you probably don’t need to be breaking the bank.
ZMA Supplement Benefits
Here are some of the pros of adding a ZMA supplement to your stack.
Immune System Support
As mentioned above, zinc is an essential mineral that helps keep your immune system healthy, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Zinc also helps your body heal and repair. Considering this mineral is so important for your body’s daily functioning, deficiency can be a problem. Not getting enough can negatively affect your ability to fight disease and your digestive, reproductive, and central nervous systems.
Although zinc needs vary from person to person, men should generally shoot to get at least 11 milligrams daily, while women only need about eight milligrams per day. Research doesn’t currently offer recommendations for nonbinary people or people of any gender undergoing medical transition.
Magnesium is another essential mineral that helps your body perform daily functions and is crucial for your energy levels, according to University Hospitals. Not getting enough magnesium can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, or weakness, which isn’t ideal, especially if you want to perform at your best in the gym.
Generally, adult men should aim to get at least 400 to 420 milligrams per day, while women need about 310 to 320 milligrams daily.
Brain Health Support
The third element of ZMA supplements, vitamin B6, plays a big role in supporting your cognitive health and function, according to the NIH. Although vitamin B6 deficiency isn’t too common, it can weaken your immune system, making it way more difficult to stay healthy and push your body in your day-to-day gym sessions.
Adults should aim to get at least 100 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily.
Potential Physical Benefits
As mentioned above, research on ZMA and physical fitness is pretty limited. After giving athletic adult men ZMA supplements, researchers of a small study found no significant advantage in the athletes’ hormone levels, anaerobic capacity, one-rep max bench press, leg press results, or muscular endurance compared to athletes who took no supps. (4)
With that said, ZMA supplements may be able to benefit your overall health if you’re missing some of these essential vitamins and nutrients in your daily diet.
ZMA Supplement Side Effects
According to the above-mentioned study, there are no major side effects of taking ZMA supplements. However, if you’re taking any medications or have any pre-existing conditions or health concerns, it’s always best to consult your doctor. Make sure you read the instructions on the supplement bottle you buy to take appropriate, safe dosage levels.
What does ZMA do?
ZMA is a supplement made up of primarily zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. These contribute to a number of bodily functions, including supporting the immune system and helping some folks get rest.
Is ZMA a good testosterone booster?
There’s no credible evidence to support ZMA as a testosterone booster.
Should you take ZMA on an empty stomach?
Most manufacturers note that ZMA should be taken on an empty stomach before bed. Importantly, it should also be taken on a regular schedule, if possible.
When to take ZMA?
You should read the instructions on the supplement bottle you buy. But for the most part, companies encourage you take ZMA supplements before bed.
Does ZMA work?
There’s not a ton of firm research that suggests ZMA supplements can actually benefit your physical performance. With that said, this supplement contains essential vitamins and nutrients that can help fill gaps in your daily diet.
- Fernández-Lázaro, D., Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Córdova Martínez, A., & Seco-Calvo, J. (2020). Iron and physical activity: Bioavailability enhancers, properties of Black Pepper (bioperine®) and potential applications. Nutrients, 12(6), 1886. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061886
- Roshanzamir, F., & Safavi, S. M. (2017). The putative effects of D-aspartic acid on blood testosterone levels: A systematic review. International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine, 15(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.29252/ijrm.15.1.1
- Montenegro, K. R., Cruzat, V., Carlessi, R., & Newsholme, P. (2019). Mechanisms of vitamin D action in skeletal muscle. Nutrition Research Reviews, 32(2), 192–204. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0954422419000064
- Wilborn, Colin D, et al. “Effects of zinc magnesium aspartate (ZMA) supplementation on training adaptations and markers of Anabolism and catabolism.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, vol. 1, no. 2, 2004, https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-12.