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Is there any scientific evidence showing that ZMA (Zinc monomethionine and aspartate and Magnesium Aspartate) is effective as a supplement for training? It is supposed to help in muscle recovery and sleep. I was suggested to try ZMA, but I can't see any real difference. I searched here, and elsewhere on the web, but I am still unsure what to believe.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The amount of information about ZMA on is pretty minimal. However if you break down a couple of the individual components you will get a better picture:

  • Zinc has minor effects on many things from depression to skin diseases (like rosacia, psoriasis, and acne). In each of these cases it does move in the more positive direction, but it's not a major affect.
  • Magnesium has notable affects on reducing blood pressure. If blood pressure is not a problem then it may not really do much for you.
  • Vitamin B6 has some effects with skin diseases and depression. It supposedly also helps you relax, but it is present in decent portions in poultry.

That said, in the anecdotal reports of people who use ZMA you will have mixed results. This leads me to believe that some people are non-responders, are not suffering from the things that ZMA addresses, or simply get enough of the components from the food they eat. I happen to fall in to the range of people where ZMA doesn't really help me. In fact, I happen to find that ZMA makes my sleep a little more restless.

If you want to help your sleep, then a better supplement would be Melatonin at a dose of 3mg an hour before bed time. I find this to be immensely helpful with getting a good night's rest. Sleep is more restorative to your whole body than ZMA would be.

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+1 for addressing the importance of sleep. – Josh Jan 27 '14 at 20:11

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