When people think of ‘supplements’ and ‘bodybuilding’ in the same train of thought, they usually think along the lines of protein powders, creatine, pre-workouts, and so on.
How often do they think of the “smaller” supplements that could have huge benefits on our results?
We, as testosterone-filled lifters, don’t necessarily think about the benefits of taking a multivitamin, let alone a collagen support supplement. That’s not to say that some of you skimp on the liver support supplements though.
However, today we’re going to discuss a less talked-about supplement that could provide you (as a bodybuilding maniac) some really good benefits — ZMA.
What is ZMA?
ZMA, Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, Magnesium Aspartate and Vitamin B6, is a supplement used by professional sports athletes as a recovery aid. By using ZMA, an athlete is able to achieve a ‘deeper’ sleep, allowing their bodies to recover at an accelerated rate.
The effects of ZMA are that of raising strength levels and enhancing hormone profiles, hence the deeper sleep.
The zinc contained in ZMA has an effect on testosterone production, which explains the increase in strength levels.
An 8-week long study conducted at Western Washington University on NCAA football players showed that the group who supplemented with ZMA each night had increased their strength gains by 2.5 times over the placebo group, as well as a 30-percent increase in testosterone levels.
So, Why Use ZMA?
As seen from the study above, the positive effects of ZMA are quite astonishing. However, that’s not all there is to it. ZMA offers much more than simply increasing your testosterone output and nighttime sleep.
ZMA is often overlooked by the lifting community, and thus its benefits go unnoticed by the hundreds of thousands of bros out there.
So, here are a few more reasons and benefits of supplementing with ZMA.
The 5 Benefits of ZMA
1. Promotes Thyroid Hormone Function
Zinc is a wonderful element that carries more benefits to the human body than I’d care to mention. However, the two main reasons that I’ll mention are the capabilities it has of improving hormonal functions and profiles.
Supplementing with zinc can increase concentrations of testosterone as-well-as that of the thyroid hormone.
A 4-week study conducted on sedentary men had them orally supplement with zinc while putting them on an exercise program consisting of cycling.
After the 4-week study was completed, the research had shown that the men had an increase in testosterone as well as thyroid hormone levels.
Seeing how the thyroid has an effect on the metabolism and the metabolic rate, increasing the production of thyroid-regulating hormones will bring about a positive change in your overall body composition by increasing concentrations of your thyroid-regulating hormones.
2. Promotes Testosterone Production
As we mentioned earlier, ZMA, and more specifically, zinc, plays an integral role in testosterone production. And as we all know, testosterone is the number one muscle-building hormone in the human body.
The more testosterone you have coursing through your body, the more lean muscle mass your body will be able to synthesize.
Zinc and testosterone go hand in hand, almost as if one was created for the other.
A study conducted on rats that had them supplement with zinc for 2 weeks showed an increase in sexual endurance as-well-as an increase in testosterone levels. They supplemented the rats with 5 mg a day for a 2-week period.
A lot of ZMA products currently on the market contain at least 5 mg of zinc, if not more.
3. ZMA Improves Immune Function
Everyone gets brought down with some sort of illness at one point or another. This causes you to skip the gym altogether, giving away your sweet gains. We understand that you shouldn’t take unnecessary risks to go workout. After all, it could be more serious than you think.
The best way to overcome any illness is to prevent it before it even has a chance of brewing inside your body.
A study that was conducted at the Wayne State University School of Medicine showed that by supplementing with zinc, there is a decrease in the levels of oxidative stress as-well-as reducing inflammation.
This could be handy, especially when you struggle with leg day DOMS.
But, by supplementing with zinc, or in this case, ZMA, you’ll get the added benefit of strengthening your immune system. So you won’t have to worry about getting a cold or anything else that could threaten to give you, your gains, and immune system a hard time.
4. ZMA Fills Up Nutritional Deficiencies
You might not have known this, but zinc is one of the nutrients that people get the most little of when they consume a diet that is varied.
By adding ZMA to your daily supplementing routine, you’ll be able to fend off these nutrient deficiencies.
Foods that are rich in zinc are the foods that we don’t usually eat on a day-to-day basis. How many of you eat crab, oysters, mussels or beef shanks on a daily basis? That’s what I thought.
A published study in the Nutrition Journal performed an assessment of the overall body composition and food intake of endurance athletes and found that most athletes were short on a few important nutrients, namely zinc, despite consuming sufficient amounts of protein.
5. Zinc Levels Drop During Exercise
Another thing to consider for supplementing with ZMA is that your zinc levels drop dramatically during intense workout sessions via sweat.
A study that was published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism performed a study on the losses of zinc and iron through sweat. The study was conducted over 2-hour long training sessions.
What they found was that men had a 3-percent decrease in iron levels, while women only saw a 1-percent decrease. On the other hand, losses in zinc were significantly higher than that of iron.
In men, the losses were at 9 percent and at 8 percent for their female counterparts.
We don’t know how intense your training is, but we’re willing to guess that you don’t have 2-hour long training sessions that leaves you dripping in sweat.
I’m no scientist, but if you’re training for 45 minutes to an hour, chances are that your zinc losses will be more-or-less half than that of the research.
However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t supplement with ZMA. Even if you’re not losing 8 percent of your zinc levels during training, you’ll still benefit a great deal from keeping your zinc levels as high as possible.
ZMA offers so many benefits to making muscle gains. We can obviously see that zinc is the main contributor to these benefits, but that’s not to say that you should opt for zinc as a standalone supplement over ZMA.
ZMA contains more minerals, and would give you added benefits, rather than just supplementing with zinc on its own.
So, whether you’re looking to get leaner, stronger, bigger, or just make up for lost nutrients, then ZMA is the way to go.
Add this supplement to your bodybuilding schedule and see your physique change forever.