Do you want to improve muscle regeneration, have more strength, make your muscles bigger, reduce fat production, help burn it, and improve sleep quality? You should familiarize yourself with a supplement that will help you in with all these things! I’m not talking about doping or „magical” supplements here. The supplement in question is ZMA.
What is ZMA?
ZMA is a combination of three naturally occurring ingredients in the right doses: zinc and magnesium as well as vitamin B6. Many people will think „it’s a fake”, but ZMA can actually help us in all these cases, from improving sleep quality to effective fat burning and building muscle mass. Its effect are confirmed in many clinical trials, as an effective supplement improving the quality of sleep, muscle regeneration, increasing their size and strength, and even helping lose fat.
The value of minerals
Zinc is an essential mineral with antioxidant properties that stimulate the activity of many enzymes in the body. These enzymes are crucial for numerous biochemical reactions. It was found that zinc is necessary for protein synthesis, a molecular mechanism that leads to muscle regeneration and increased muscle mass.
Magnesium is also an essential mineral involved in numerous reactions in the body. It’s important for the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system, the metabolic rate and of course bone health. Zinc and magnesium together offer a wide range of physical properties and performance. Numerous scientific studies suggest that these two minerals help increase muscle size, strength and fat loss.
Vitamin B6, apart from the fact that it has a protective function of our body, is responsible for the proper functioning of the muscles, including the heart, the nervous system and increases immunity. It also supports glycogenesis and glycogenolysis, or processes related to glycogen in our muscles.
Research suggests that ZMA has significant anabolic benefits. An example is the study conducted at the Western Washington University (Bellingham) on American football players, where one group took ZMA and the other group took placebo every night during the eight week spring training program. Athletes taking ZMA supplement experienced a significant increase in testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Compared to the control group, the results were three times better.
In addition to improving the level of anabolic hormones, after taking ZMA athletes have significantly increased strength and power and showed better sleep quality than the placebo group. Better sleep quality also helps with muscle recovery after hard training. In addition to research carried out by Western Washington University researchers, several other studies have also shown that zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 have strong anabolic properties.
Zinc is also crucial for maintaining the proper production of thyroid hormones. This is important not only for our health but also for maintaining the correct metabolic rate (the number of calories burned each day) and the possibility of burning fat. Low levels of zinc can have a bad effect on thyroid hormone function, and impaired thyroid hormone function reduces the rate of metabolism, which makes it harder to burn body fat. Research confirms that when the diet is low in zinc, the degree of thyroid hormone function decreases as well as the rate of metabolism.
One study at the University of Massachusett found that patients undergoing low-zinc diets showed significantly lower rates of metabolic rate. When subjects took 25 mg of zinc per day for 20 days, their metabolism jumped to levels that were higher than before using a low-zinc diet.
Zinc is not only necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid, but also for maintaining the correct level of leptin. This hormone is also important for maintaining a high metabolic rate and inhibiting hunger. Zinc deficiency has been shown to significantly reduce leptin levels.
Zinc affects many aspects of the immune system. Many studies indicate that zinc supplementation helps support our immune system.
Zinc also works as a powerful antioxidant. This powerful mineral activates enzymes that can help your overall health and immune functions. Strong zinc antioxidant properties can improve not only our health, but also regeneration after training.
What’s more, magnesium also has a very big effect on our nervous system, which is also very vulnerable, especially during intense workouts. The condition of our nervous system is as important as the state of the immune system – both of these systems provide us with healthy body function.
What are we losing zinc and magnesium from?
Research has confirmed that athletes often show a deficiency of zinc and magnesium. This is most likely caused by several factors such as zinc lost during exercise, increased zinc consumption by the body for regeneration and protein synthesis after training, and increased loss of zinc in urine. There may also be dietary factors.
Refined sugars, as well as white flour products such as white bread, can reduce the levels of zinc and magnesium in the blood. Calcium-rich foods, or dairy products, inhibit the absorption of both zinc and magnesium through the small intestine. Copper, as well as foods rich in phytate (phosphorus compounds found in wholemeal bread, grains and legumes) also hinder the absorption of zinc through the small intestine. Alcohol reduces the absorption of magnesium and zinc, as well as increases their loss in the urine.
Considering that we do not absorb 100% of these minerals from food, everyone should seriously consider using the ZMA supplement to maximize muscle mass and strength, as well as support fat loss and support a healthy immune function. And, of course, it’s worth mentioning the basic function of ZMA – improving the quality of sleep.