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. 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 folks looking 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. 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. However, some evidence suggests that zinc and magnesium supplementation may help some folks get a higher quality of sleep. We took a look at some of the best ZMA supplements and rated them.
NOW Sports Nutrition ZMA Sports Recovery
- NOW Sports suggests a three capsule serving for men and a two capsule serving size for women.
- Each three capsule serving contains 450mg magnesium aspartate, 30mg zinc (from Zinc Mono-L-methionine and Zinc aspartate), and 15mg of Vitamin B6.
- Made with non-GMO products.
- Tested for banned substances by a well-known anti-doping organization.
- Capsules contain gelatin, meaning this is not a vegan friendly product.
Made with non-GMO ingredients in a Good Manufacturing Practices facility, NOW Sports ZMA is a solid option for folks looking for a reliable ZMA. This supplement is available at a competitive price point.
Optimum Nutrition ZMA Muscle Recovery
- Each three capsule serving of Optimum Nutrition’s ZMA includes 450mg magnesium aspartate, 30mg zinc, and 10.5mg of Vitamin B6.
- On a cost per serving basis, this is a reasonably priced product.
- Available in 90 or 180 count bottles.
- Gelatin is used in these capsules, meaning it is not vegan-friendly.
Utilizing zinc monomethionine, magnesium aspartate and Vitamin B6, Optimum Nutrition puts out a quality ZMA supplement at a reasonable price.
Best for Vegans:
- VitaDirect recommends three capsules per serving for men and two for women.
- Each three capsule serving contains 450mg magnesium aspartate, 30mg zinc (as l-monomethionine and aspartate) and Vitamin B6.
- Made with a vegan-friendly capsule.
- On a cost per serving basis, VitaDirect ZMA capsules are more expensive than many of the non-vegan options on the market.
VitaDirect offers a ZMA supplement that complies with the most strict vegan diets. Featuring the same breakdown of magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin B6 as most other brands, this is a great option for folks looking to avoid gelatin.
MET-Rx ZMA Supplement
- Each three capsule serving contains 450mg magnesium (as oxide and citrate), 30mg zinc (as aspartate and l-monomethionine) and 10.5mg of Vitamin B6.
- On a cost per serving basis, this is one of the most affordably priced ZMA supplements on the market.
- MET-Rx utilizes magnesium oxide and citrate, two forms of magnesium that are generally considered to be cheaper and less bioavailable than other forms.
Available at one of the most competitive price points on the market, MET-Rx ZMA Supplement offers a quality option.
ZMA is a very common supplement that has seen a spike in popularity in the past few decades. As a result, many brands are pushing out their own ZMA options. Before selecting one in particular, take a look at some key features to consider.
Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B6 Ratio
The most common blend of these three main ingredients is 450mg of magnesium, 30mg of zinc, and between 10 and 11mg of Vitamin B6. If a brand is selling something in a different combination, it may be a red flag.
When shopping for any supplement, it’s important to know what’s inside the capsule. While independent third party testing for ZMA is not readily available, some brands will tout their own testing done prior to manufacture.
The Food and Nutrition Board has an Upper Limit of 350mg of magnesium through supplementation for adults. Some believe that the most intense athletes may benefit from more than that amount, as some magnesium may be lost during exercise. Consult a medical professional.
Many ZMA capsules are made using gelatin, an ingredient produced from bovine tissue. If following a strictly vegan diet is important, you may have to pay a bit extra for a vegan-friendly recipe.
Take a peek at the total cost of the item and compare it to the amount of servings in a bottle. Note that many ZMA supplements suggest three capsules for men and two for women, so serving size, and thus cost per serving, will vary.
What is ZMA good for?
ZMA is a supplement made up of primarily zinc and magnesium. These two nutrients may aid in 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. One of the original creators of ZMA became embroiled in North American doping scandals, and may have been pushing ZMA as a legal alternative to the illegal anabolic steroids he allegedly gave his clients.
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.
- It’s wise to consult a medical professional before adding any supplements to a health regimen.
- If ZMA ends up being the right option for you, try to take it at the same time every night. It’s harder to know if a supplement is having the desired effect if it’s not taken regularly.
ZMA supplements may help some athletes with intense training regimens recover a bit more effectively. Consult a medical professional before adding this to your daily regimen.