ZMA is another supplement available on the market that promises to assist in the results of bodybuilding and bodybuilders practitioners and is becoming more popular among fitness.
The combination aims to improve the power performance, metabolism, recovery and building muscle mass and hormone production in trained athletes through enhanced supply zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6.
Its use has been shown to bring a number of benefits, we understand then what.
What are the benefits of ZMA?
The supply of zinc and magnesium is the key point of ZMA action.
Zinc is a mineral that acts as a cofactor of several enzymes in the body, which means that many biochemical processes triggered by these enzymes depend on zinc availability. One such process is the synthesis of muscle proteins, making it extremely important for zinc recovery and muscle growth.
Magnesium is also an essential mineral that participates in cardiac function and transportation of key neurotransmitters for muscle function, and help maintain the balance between sodium and potassium in various tissues. It is estimated that a large portion of the population can not meet the daily diet for optimal amounts of magnesium.
Apart from zinc and magnesium, ZMA also contains vitamin B6. This vitamin, also known as pyridoxine, acts in the metabolism of amino acids, which are the basic units of proteins, which in turn, are the structural constitution of the muscle mass.
From this, many effects of ZMA on the physical results of athletes were investigated. We will detail a little more each following them.
1. Nutritional Deficiency Prevention
The first benefit that ZMA can bring is to avoid deficiency of zinc and magnesium supply. In many people, athletes and non-athletes, deficiencies of these minerals can be found, since food supplies can not be very common in the daily or not consumed in sufficient quantities.
Zinc can be obtained from oysters, crab, red meat and pork. Meats, for example, can be avoided by many athletes who opt more for white meat, since oysters and crabs hardly make frequent part of any diet.
Magnesium is found in dark green vegetables, some fruit, fish and whole grains, but even with the most common sources, achieve the appropriate levels of the mineral can be difficult.
Ensure that the body has an adequate supply of these nutrients is the first step towards a proper metabolism, able to function in the best possible way to meet the training and diet stimuli.
2. Improves Immune System
According to a study at Wayne State University School of Medicine, zinc supplementation helps maintain a strong immune system, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and thereby combat diseases. In contrast, mineral deficiency can prolong the duration of colds. So besides helping in defending the body, ZMA can help prevent diseases, although common as a cold, which disrupt the routine of training and the quality of life.
3. Replacement of the zinc lost during exercise
Through sweat, the body can lose 8-9% of the recommended daily intake. Therefore, the exercise could reduce the availability of mineral and lead to their disability. One study demonstrated that the iron loss is much lower, about 1 to 3%, it is believed that the body uses mechanisms to prevent their loss which would not occur with zinc.
Thus, supplementation with ZMA helps replenish zinc lost by athletes through perspiration.
4. Possibility of increasing testosterone levels
In a study by a University of Washington, United States, together with the brand that has developed ZMA, soccer players received ZMA supplementation or placebo for 8 weeks of training. an increase of 30% was identified in testosterone levels in the ZMA group while taking the placebo group, the increase was 10%. The increase in strength was also 2.5 times greater in the ZMA group.
This indicates that the ZMA may affect in some way the synthesis of the hormone, which is essential for building lean mass. However, other studies did not show any interference ZMA testosterone levels and metabolism in individuals with adequate zinc supply, however it is shown that low zinc levels can cause loss of muscle mass and strength.
Thus, further studies are necessary for this purpose in the ZMA is confirmed.
5. Improve the quality of sleep
Magnesium has the ability to standardize and extend the phases 3 and 4 sleep, which are the phases of deep sleep, badly needed for the rest of the body and mind as well as the production of important hormones such as growth hormone (GH ), the effect is quite beneficial for muscle building. Thus, the ZMA improves the quality of sleep, it helps to reinvigorate after a day of work and training and helps increase GH levels.
6. Regulation of production of thyroid hormones
Thyroid hormones play a fundamental role in regulating the metabolism of the whole body, and its deficiency reduces the basal metabolism and makes it very difficult to fat loss. Research has shown that zinc supplementation can normalize the levels of these hormones in both athletes and in sedentary people, while its deficiency leads to low levels of thyroid hormones.
7. Reduction of the catabolism
It is believed that both zinc and magnesium may help reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone with catabolic effects that are responsible for the breakdown of muscle tissue. In a survey in Germany with triathletes found that athletes who took magnesium for 4 weeks had healthier levels of cortisol than those who took placebo.
Prevent catabolism is very important that there be no loss of lean body mass or muscle performance.
How to Take ZMA?
ZMA should be taken 30 minutes to one hour before the time of going to bed at night. This time is strategic to enjoy the effect of magnesium on the quality of sleep. In general, it is indicated to be taken on an empty stomach to improve absorption. It is also not recommended to take ZMA with food or supplements containing calcium, because it will impair zinc absorption.
The recommended dose for men is usually 3 capsules, which for most brands provides 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg magnesium and 10 mg vitamin B6. For women, the recommendation on the labels is 2 capsules. Seek the advice of a nutritionist, for he is a qualified professional to adapt the supplements and dosages to individual needs.
What are the Side Effects of ZMA?
Usually there are no side effects of ZMA if taken in the correct amounts. An attention factor should be for people who already use drugs, such as (but not exclusively) for the treatment of cardiac diseases, osteoporosis and antibiotics, as there may be interactions by changing its action. So, if you use any medication, it is important to consult a doctor before starting supplementation with ZMA.
At high doses, above those recommended by the manufacturers, there may be some consequences. Magnesium doses greater than 450 mg daily can lead to sleep disturbances and as the excess zinc may cause diarrhea, nausea, and cramping.
vitamin B6 doses above 100 mg daily also cause side effects, leading to neurological consequences.
Since zinc, when it exceeds 60 mg daily doses may lead to copper deficiency. When high doses are held for long periods of time, there may be loss of immunity and of good cholesterol (HDL). In one study, men who ate 100 mg of zinc through supplements for 10 years were more likely to develop prostate cancer, but the reason was unclear.
We therefore conclude that the intake in the appropriate dose not cause side effects known, being generally safe supplement.
The controversy surrounding the ZMA
To date, only three studies have been published on the investigation of the effects of ZMA in athletes. What proved the action of the formula on the improvement of physical performance was one in which the holder of the patent company participated. The others failed to find the same positive correlation between supplementation with ZMA and the results first. This created a big controversy about it. The International Society of Sports Nutrition stated that the effect of ZMA about building muscle is unknown and the Australian Institute of Sports stated that more studies are needed to confirm its benefits.
Thus, the best option is to talk to a doctor or nutritionist to understand whether you can benefit or not the consumption of this supplement. Many people use and like and others do not feel effects, so you can decide by the health care professional is worth testing.