T Nation

Study Questions ZMA Effectiveness


So after reading about ZMA and the wonderful anabolic attributes it provides I bought a bottle. I've been doing more research and came across a study conducted in 2004 which found contrary evidence to the original study in 1999 regarding ZMA's effectiveness at much of anything.


I also found that the research in the 1999 study was funded by the manufacturer and the lead researcher on the team was heavily invested in the company.

Any thoughts on this? I'm curious to see if more research has been done since the 2004 study and what the contributing authors and nutritionists on this site think about the two studies?


I didn't get a chance to read the study because I can't download the pdf at the moment.

But I know from my own experience and seeing it with clients that ZMA is probably one the the most under-rated supplements around.

If I know I'll be short-changed sleeping, either staying up late or waking extra-early, it helps me still function at 100% in the morning.


You'll be hard pressed to find much research on sports supplements that isn't funded by a manufacturer. Who else do you think would pay for such research?

ZMA isn't supposed to do anything miraculous as far as I know. I simply use it as a source for zinc and magnesium. It gives me a more restful sleep.


ZMA works.

It's simply minerals which most active people lack. It protects you from common cold. It promotes deeper sleep.

That much is uncontroversial.


I believe the original studies were done on marines who were extremely zinc deficient. If you are zinc or magnesium deficient (which, most hard-training athletes are without supplementation)a good ZMA is essential.

Personally I don't sleep any better on it, but it has helped me feel more recovered, at least subjectively.


To your knowledge, are the authors of the linked study affiliated with a supplement manufacturer?

I understand it is intended to aid sleep and it does seem to do that for me, but it is also purported to raise free testosterone levels by as much as 30%. This study seems to indicate that is not the case.

I'm just wondering. I've spent money on "hot" supplements before only to find out later their claims were bunk and any potential benefit I felt was just a placebo effect.

I just don't want to take an expensive multi vitamin.

Do you know of any further studies?


It sure is a mix of minerals. That is not the question. It purportedly promotes deeper sleep and many do seem to feel those effects placebo or not, myself included.

More specifically, how much of an effect does it actually have on raising test levels? This study shows not much which is why I'm asking if any one knows of any further studies.

I'm not interested in personal opinions so much, even as "objective" as they are believed to be.


ZMA isnt worth the money if your paying over 10 bucks a bottle, it sounds like you have read all the studies so why the question?


because the question is whether or not there are more studies out there smarty pants.