T Nation

Taking ZMA and Z-12 at Same Time?


Can I take ZMA and Z-12 at the same time? (30 mins before bedtime)

Is it safe?

Will it effect the performance of ether?


safe yes.

Dr. Jonny Bowden says the B6 in ZMA may interfere some with the Z-12. I've never noticed a difference, but in the past (before taking a multi everyday) I would space them about 30 mins apart just to be sure.

Z-12 30 mins before bed to calm, then ZMA


I've taken both supplements but never together. I've read a lot of contradictory stuff regarding the safety or even the effectiveness of using both supplements at the same time. Some searching around yielded the following:

"ZMA contains vitamin B-6, which does not play will with 5-HTP. The B-6 will cause the 5-HTP to convert to serotonin while it's still in the blood, as opposed to in the brain. Serotonin in our blood is not benign - it is shown to cause tumors which in turn can cause cardiac fibrosis."

I don't know if that's true or not, because I have no medical background, but I've seen a load of other comments similar to that. Also, I found the following comment:

"ZMA often has B6 in it (as do a number of other supplements) and B6 is involved in the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin (5-HT) in the blood. This can be problematic because it's 5-HTP and not serotonin itself that can cross the blood-brain barrier, essentially negatively impacting the efficacy of the 5-HTP component of Z-12."

This would seem to indicate that taking both products together would negate the effectiveness. The last comment was from a pretty respectable source, but once again I have no way of verifying this.


Not a big deal. I would bet my left nut you're not going to get fucking cardiac fibrosis from z-12 and ZMA.

I'd be really curious as to the qualifications of the person being quoted.

As far as potential interference; more possible, but I've taken both together and the only thing I got was to fall asleep FAST.


I've read about these supposed side effects as well.

I'm taking since recently ZMA daily, and when I want to take Z12 too, instead of ZMA I take a separate 30mg Zinc cap and a separate 500mg Magnesium cap. I have then Z12 + Zinc + Magnesium without the B6.

I don't know if the aformentioned side effects are true, but I prefer to be safe than sorry.


I usually just take 2-3 elitepro caps after a workout, but if i ever eat something with calcium close to going to bed, i just take some of those instead of zma. that might be another option for z-12 users


I have a Life Extension book 'Disease Prevention and Treatment' (fourth edition).

In the chapter 'Insomnia and Daytime Sleepiness' page 1057, they write :

'5-Hydroxytryptophan is available at most health food stores and can be taken before bed as well. Avoid taking vitamin B6 supplements within 6 hours of taking 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) because vitamin B6 can cause the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin in the blood before it has a chance to cross the blood-brain barrier to increase serotonin in the brain. Excessive serotonin in the blood can be dangerous, which is why it may be safer to use tryptophan rather than 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Both of these compounds can be converted to serotonin in the brain, which plays a role in sleep (Birdsall 1998).'


OP your taking the Z-12 to get "deep, restful sleep" right? you can use tryptophan as a sub or even look into melatonin.. both are cheap as hell and melatonin use before bed has actually been shown to increase GH & IGF-1 release during sleep as well. that way you can continue taking your ZMA without any negative effects.