ZMA – Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate Supplement Profile
Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate is a supplement blend used primarily by athletes, gymnasts, and bodybuilders. It was developed by convicted Victor Conte (founder of BALCO Laboratories in Burlingame, California). Voctor Conte served time in prison in 2005 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute designer steroids . Conte had developed the banned steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) with the help of bodybuilding chemist Patrick Arnold.
ZMA is not a banned steroid and has been found to have some beneficial effects on muscle building and strength.
Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate or “ZMA” is a highly specific and unique vitamin/mineral combination. Yes, that’s right, there are certain minerals out there that have a positive impact on athletic performance and you guessed it–testosterone levels. ZMA is a special combination of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. The zinc in this outstanding product is specifically formulated as zinc aspartate and zinc mono L-methionine which makes it incredibly bioavailable because of the two forms of chelates. The magnesium is also found in a chelated form bound to aspartate which makes it very bioavailable as well. In fact, the magnesium and zinc are bound together to the aspartate which can also (chemically speaking) enhance absorption. Absorption and usage of minerals is a key factor in receiving their many benefits. ZMA is the creation of Balco Labs and executive director Victor Conte who has been studying the effects of minerals and trace elements for over 15 years. Research conducted on strength athletes by BALCO labs on ZMA shows that this precise combination of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6 can increase total and free testosterone levels by 30%. A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that nightly supplementation with ZMA also increased strength and power. This is all very exciting news for performance athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Zinc is a micromineral involved in the action of several hormones including insulin, growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen. It is involved in more than 200 enzymatic reactions. Research has indicated that exercising individuals have a greater need for zinc as they are more prone to a zinc deficiency. Is it proven to increase testosterone levels in healthy subjects? You betcha!
A 1996 study entitled “Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults” by Ananda Prasad, M.D., Ph.D. showed that taking 30 mg of supplemental zinc daily by healthy men experiencing moderate zinc deficiency doubled their testosterone levels in a 6 month time frame. Now that’s what I call a testosterone booster! Magnesium is a macromineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body including glycolysis, the krebs cycle, creatine phosphate formation, nucleic acid synthesis, amino acid activation, cardiac and smooth muscle contractability, cyclic AMP formation, and most importantly for strength athletes, protein synthesis. The final piece to the ZMA™ formula is vitamin B-6 which is also know as pyridoxine and has some major implications on protein synthesis. The coenzyme form of this vitamin is associated with a vast number of enzymes, the majority of these enzymes are a part of amino acid metabolism. It is necessary in glycogen catabolism to “unlock” carbohydrate energy and vitamin B6 has also been shown to diminish the actions of certain catabolic steroids such as glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol). This can boost the all important T : C (testosterone to cortisol) ratio which can lead to positive muscle building effects. Taking one dose of ZMA about 30 minutes before bed time is recommended.