ZMA and ZMB: More than minerals that will improve your results

Surely, you have already heard of the combination of zinc, magnesium and Vitamin B6. Apart from the name ZMA, also ZMB6 is often commonly used. But, have you heard about the influence this unique combination has on growth, regeneration and building of the muscle mass and support of the immunity?

What is ZMA and ZMB6?

ZMA or ZMB6 is a synergistic mixture of magnesium aspartate, zinc and vitamin B6. As has been proven by many studies about which we are going to talk about in this article, ZMA contributes to the effective regeneration and growth of muscle mass. Moreover, it takes care of the immune system, quality of sleep and even supports energy. [1]


Zinc is an essential mineral that is crucial for the proper functioning of the immune system. According to European Journal of Immunology, a human body needs zinc to activate so called T-lymphocytes (T-cells) that help the body to control and regulate immune reactions and attack infected and cancer-causing cells at the same time. Lack of zinc can cause more susceptibility to diseases and colds. [2] Studies carried out at University in Toronto which were published in the magazine Neuron showed that zinc plays a significant role in regulation of how individual neurons communicate with each other which has an impact on the way how our memories are formed and how we learn. [3] Zinc plays an important role in maintaining health of skin and muscles. It has positive effects on regeneration of muscles and wounds and it prevents from the formation of bacteria. Zinc is also an important component in protein synthesis – molecular mechanism that leads to the muscle regeneration and growth. [4]


Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for human body. It takes part in more than 300 enzyme processes that regulate various biochemical reactions in our bodies, including the protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, regulation of glucose in blood and regulation of blood pressure. [5] Magnesium is also essential for energy formation, oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis. Moreover, it plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions through the individual membranes. This process is important for nerve impulses, muscle contraction and normal heartbeat. [6]

ZMA and ZMB: More than minerals that will improve your results

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is involved in more than 150 enzyme processes in our bodies that help it to take and process proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This vitamin is also closely connected with the proper functioning of nerve system and immunity support. [7] Vitamin B6 in our bodies has anti-inflammatory effects, therefore it is often used also as a prevention from chronical diseases, such as heart diseases or even cancer. [8] Moreover, it is used as a prevention from anaemia that can be caused by lack of pyridoxine, which is Vitamin B6.

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ZMA – benefits each athlete will appreciate

Powerful anabolic effect

Many researches have proven that ZMA has powerful anabolic effects. A study carried out at Western Washington University tested on a group of American football players the supplementation of ZMA and placebo which they were using every night during their 8-week spring preparation. It has been proven that in case of athletes who were taking ZMA, the testosterone level was increased by 30%. Insulin growth factor IGF-1 showed an increase of nearly 5%. The group of athletes who were taking placebo showed decrease of 10% in the level of testosterone and decrease of more than 20% in level of insulin growth factor IGF-1. [9]

Moreover, group taking ZMA gained much more strength and noted higher quality of sleep than the group taking placebo. The improved quality of sleep significantly influences speed and effectivity of muscle mass regeneration after an exhausting workout. These benefits were discovered in case of group taking ZMA even though the analysis of their diet proved that these athletes were taking a higher amount of zinc than is the recommended daily intake.

ZMA and ZMB: More than minerals that will improve your results

One study carried out in Turkey observed that a 4-week supplementation of zinc in case of men was able to increase the testosterone level also during resting and after workout. A similar study also discovered similar effects of zinc when testing its supplementation on professional wrestlers. This study discovered that decreasing the intake of zinc decreases also the muscle resistance in case of individual wrestlers. That means that maintaining the optimal level of zinc in body is not a crucial factor for maintaining the ability to finish number of reps with the weight you choose. [10]

Western Washington University, that was already mentioned above, carried out a research which discovered that supplementation of magnesium during a 7-week period of trainings aimed at legs increased the strength in legs by 20% more than in case of those athletes who were taking placebo. Moreover, magnesium and zinc are connected also with the ability to supress cortisol – katabolic hormone. German scientists have discovered that athletes who did triathlon and were taking magnesium for a period of 4 weeks reached a healthy level of cortisol in their bodies during rest and also after doing triathlon, as opposed to athletes who were taking placebo. Furthermore, ZMA can increase the level of growth hormone, even though indirectly. ZMA improves the quality of sleep thanks to the ability of magnesium to normalise and can prolong the third and fourth phase of a slow-wave sleep. [11]

Immune system support

Zinc and magnesium for immune system is one of the crucial factors. Beside zinc influencing several aspects of immune system, one research carried out in Cleveland Clinic proved that the supplementation of zinc helps to strengthen the immune system. This unique mineral can activate enzymes which support the overall health and functioning of the immune system. [12]

ZMA and ZMB: More than minerals that will improve your results

Moreover, it has been discovered that the nose spray with a zinc content reduced frequent symptoms of cold and flu, such as sore throat, inflamed and dry nasal cavities. It also decreased the duration of illness in case of 80 adult people. [13] Another auditing study focused on micronutrients has identified zinc and Vitamin B6 (among some other nutrients) as very important for the proper functioning of the immune system. [14]

Sports performance and strength increase

In studies in which 23 triathlon athletes participated, it has been proven that magnesium was able to increase the speed of swimming, running and cycling. Zinc that was present in blood of 21 football players was also connected with the sport performance increase. [15] Another study in which 30 healthy adult people took part has proven that the supplementation of magnesium and martial arts was able to increase the level of 2 types of red blood cells that can be beneficial for performance increase. The same effect was noted also in case of zinc supplementation. [16]

ZMA and ZMB: More than minerals that will improve your results

A research that tested the supplementation of magnesium on 26 healthy, but not active sportsmen proved that magnesium can visibly increase the strength performance. In case of 8 healthy men who suffered from the lack of zinc, a decreased muscle capacity of knees and shoulders was showed. [17]

Fatigue and exhaustion reduction

Many of you surely feel certain fatigue and exhaustion after the training. And zinc serves as a prevention from fatigue and exhaustion from training which was measured as a decline in thyroid levels and testosterone drop. The same result was noted in a study with 10 wrestlers. The supplementation of magnesium serves as a prevention from decline in level of thyrotropin which was caused by fatigue during the martial arts training. [18]

Stress reduction

The supplementation of magnesium serves as a prevention from increase of stress hormone – cortisol and another hormone aldosterone. Zinc that was given to students of medicine reduced release of cortisol to the body, and thus consequently reduced stress. In one study in which 54 people suffering from anxiety took part, it was found out that they had a lower level of zinc in their bodies. [19]

ZMA and ZMB: More than minerals that will improve your results

A specially created multivitamin with content of Vitamin B and magnesium (140 mg magnesium phosphate, 75 mg Vitamin B1, 10 mg Vitamin B2, 68.7 mg Vitamin B5, 25 mg Vitamin B6 and 30 mg B12) helped to reduce stress and improve mood in case of 60 healthy working people. [20]

Proper functioning of metabolism

Zinc is crucial for maintaining the production of thyroid hormones which is very important for maintaining the speed of your metabolism (amount of calories you burn every day) and ability to burn fat. A low level of zinc in human body can cause a decrease in thyroid hormones production which may lead to a decrease in the speed of metabolism. When these athletes were taking 25 mg zinc during a period of 20 days, speed of their metabolism was incomparably higher than in diet with a reduced amount of zinc. [21]

Moreover, it has been proven that zinc is important not only for the proper functioning of thyroid, but also for maintaining a normal level of hormone called leptin. Leptin is very important for maintaining a high speed of metabolism and also for keeping hunger under control. Lack of zinc has showed a significant decline in the level of leptin in human body. [22]

ZMA – does it have any side effects?

In connection with ZMA, no significant adverse side effects have been discovered. An excessively high intake of magnesium and zinc can cause diarrhoea, nausea and cramps. If zinc is consumed in excessive doses for a long-term period of time, it can even cause the decrease of immune system resistance. However, this situation can happen only in really long-term excessive supplementation. [23]

ZMA and its effects with other medicaments

ZMA can mutually effect with various kinds of medicaments, mainly because of its content of zinc, magnesium and Vitamin B6.

Zinc can mutually function with copper and iron in the body. Also, it has influence on these medicaments:

  • Antibiotics – quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics react with zinc in the stomach and intestines, while preventing the body from taking both zinc and antibiotics
  • Penicillamine – zinc reacts with penicillamine, while preventing the body from taking it
  • Diuretics – thiazide diuretics cause the body to excrete zinc via urine [24]
ZMA and ZMB: More than minerals that will improve your results

Magnesium reacts with these kinds of medicaments:

  • Bisphosphonates used to treat osteoporosis – magnesium prevents the body from absorbing this medicine
  • Antibiotics – tetracyclines and quinolone antibiotics can form healing complexes with magnesium
  • Diuretics – thiazide and diuretics of methacrylic acid cause the body to secrete magnesium via urine. Conversely, diuretics containing potassium retain it in the body.
  • Protein pump inhibitors used for acid reflux – if these inhibitors are being used for more than a year, they can cause magnesium deficiency. However, the exact mechanism of this process is unknown [25]

Vitamin B6 mutually reacts with:

  • Cycloserine – this antibiotic causes the body to secrete Vitamin B6 via urine
  • Seizure medication – valproic acid, carbamazepine and phenytoin cause the breakdown of Vitamin B6, leading to Vitamin B6 deficiency [26]

Sources of ZMA

An easy way how to supplement these minerals and Vitamin B6 is by consuming foods which contain them. Zinc can be found in rich amount in oysters, red meat and poultry. Spinach, almonds, cashew nuts or beans are a rich source of magnesium. Vitamin B6 can be supplied to the body in form of fish, fruit, potatoes and other starch vegetable. However, the disadvantage of Vitamin B6 remains the fact that you don’t know how much of which kind you take or you are unable to consume all foods with its content in one day. [27]

ZMA and ZMB: More than minerals that will improve your results

And exactly this is being showed as a huge advantage of ZMA by means of supplements in tablet form in where the recommended daily intake of magnesium, Vitamin B6 and zinc is kept.


In case of ZMA, it is true that you should stick to the intake that is recommended on the product label. ZMA supplements mostly contain the necessary daily intake of each mineral which human body needs to take. The recommended daily intake of magnesium is from 400 to 420 mg daily. [28] The recommended daily intake of zinc is 11 to 20 mg [29] It is recommended to take Vitamin B6 in a dose containing from 2.5 mg to 100 mg daily, depending on the purpose of intake. [30]

What experience with ZMA or ZMB6 do you have? Are you taking it? Share with us your experience in the comments below and in case you liked this article, you can support it by sharing.


[1] The Benefits Of ZMA: More Than A Sleep Supplement – https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-benefits-of-zma-more-than-a-sleep-supplement.html

[2] Joseph Nordqvist - What are the health benefits of zinc? – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263176.php

[3] Vesicular Zinc Promotes Presynaptic and Inhibits Postsynaptic Long-Term Potentiation of Mossy Fiber-CA3 Synapse – https://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(11)00646-5?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0896627311006465%3Fshowall%3Dtrue&cc=y%3D#%20

[4] Agren MS, Studies on zinc in wound healing. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2275309

[5] Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37. – https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

[6] Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-75. – https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

[7] Lee DG, Lee Y, Shin H, Kang K, Park JM, Kim BK, Kwon O, Lee JJ - Seizures Related to Vitamin B6 Deficiency in Adults. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26157671

[8] Hellmann H, Mooney S. - Vitamin B6: a molecule for human health? – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20110903

[9] Brilla, L. R. and Haley, T. F. Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 1992 Jun;11(3):326-9. – https://www.asep.org/asep/asep/BrillaV2.PDF

[10] Cinar V - The effects of magnesium supplementation on thyroid hormones of sedentars and Tae-Kwon-Do sportsperson at resting and exhaustion. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17984925

[11] Córdova A, Navas FJ. - Effect of training on zinc metabolism: changes in serum and sweat zinc concentrations in sportsmen. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9812018

[12] Evans GW, Johnson EC. - Effect of iron, vitamin B-6 and picolinic acid on zinc absorption in the rat. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7452375

[13] Mossad SB - Effect of zincum gluconicum nasal gel on the duration and symptom severity of the common cold in otherwise healthy adults. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12509647

[14] Chandra RK - Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9250133

[15] Golf SW, Bender S, Grüttner J. - On the significance of magnesium in extreme physical stress – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9794094

[16] Cinar V, Nizamlioglu M, Mogulkoc R, Baltaci AK. - Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood parameters of athletes at rest and after exercise. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17625241

[17] Brilla LR, Haley TF. - Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1619184

[18] Kilic M - Effect of fatiguing bicycle exercise on thyroid hormone and testosterone levels in sedentary males supplemented with oral zinc. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17984944

[19] Golf SW, Happel O, Graef V, Seim KE - Plasma aldosterone, cortisol and electrolyte concentrations in physical exercise after magnesium supplementation. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6527092

[20] Stough C, Scholey A, Lloyd J, Spong J, Myers S, Downey LA. - The effect of 90 day administration of a high dose vitamin B-complex on work stress. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21905094/

[21] Kilic M, Baltaci AK, Gunay M, Gökbel H, Okudan N, Cicioglu I. - The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16648789

[22] Kwun IS, Cho YE, Lomeda RA, Kwon ST, Kim Y, Beattie JH. - Marginal zinc deficiency in rats decreases leptin expression independently of food intake and corticotrophin-releasing hormone in relation to food intake. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17475084

[23] Fosmire GJ - Zinc toxicity., McGuire JK, Kulkarni MS, Baden HP. - Fatal hypermagnesemia in a child treated with megavitamin/megamineral therapy., Onishi S, Yoshino S. - Cathartic-induced fatal hypermagnesemia in the elderly. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16543690?dopt=Abstract

[24] Zinc – https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

[25] Magnesium – https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

[26] Vitamin B6 – https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/

[27] What Is ZMA? – https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/zma-supplements#2-3

[28] Magnesium – https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-magnesium#1

[29] ZINC – https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-982/zinc

[30] PYRIDOXINE (VITAMIN B6) – https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-934/pyridoxine-vitamin-b6