Zinc Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA) which is combined with Vitamin B6, has been a favorite of body builders for years when it comes to improving muscle growth. Developed by Victor Conte, the founder of BALCO in the late 1980’s, ZMA was designed to be a safe, natural product that would help bodybuilders boost muscle mass. The fact that BALCO was involve in a doping scandal that involved steroids starting in 2003 did not seem to affect the success of ZMA.
Over the years, many bodybuilders and athletes have sworn by the effects that ZMA has had on their bodies while training. The two main effects sighted were improved testosterone levels and the ability to recover from exercise faster so that additional training could be performed.
The Theory Behind ZMA
In the 1980’s there were numerous studies centered on the dropping testosterone production of men as they aged. One of the natural methods explored in boosting that production was the increased intake of zinc. The theory was that additional zinc would help correct the nutritional deficiencies that men experienced as they grew older.
While the results of adding additional zinc were mixed, the inclusion of aspartate or aspartic acid did show that the production of testosterone could be increased in the body. Preliminary research indicated that aspartate was important to the synthesis of testosterone and that additional amounts had beneficial effects in older men.
The Effects of ZMA
There have been numerous studies on the effects of ZMA over the years, especially when it came to men who were already healthy and were training in resistance exercises. So far, all the studies have been inconclusive when it comes to the overall effect of increasing testosterone levels in the body. While some of the men did seem to feel better and improve their performance, there was no indication that additional testosterone was produced.
Although the studies on ZMA have not provided any real evidence that the product does boost testosterone levels, it is safe to use when taken in normal amounts. However, it is advisable to keep the total amount of zinc consumed below 40mg as such levels can decrease the amount of copper absorption in the body which in turn may result in anemia which can happen over a long period of time. So, as long as the zinc levels in the product are below 40mg, it is safe to take and use in your resistance training.
Still, despite the fact that there is no evidence to show that ZMA can actually boost the level of testosterone production there are still many athletes and body builders who swear by its use. Of course, the psychological impact of believing the product is working arguably has the biggest effect, but the additional zinc to bring the levels in the body up to normal is also good as well.
If you are considering ZMA as a supplement for the additional production of testosterone, the best advice would be to monitor your own intake of zinc to see if additional amounts are needed to bring the levels up to normal in your body.