T Nation

ZMA and Dehydration


I've been taking ZMA for the past week or so, 3 pills about an hour before I go to sleep. Not only does it seem that I havent been getting any higher quality sleep, but I feel like its harder to fall asleep, and each morning I wake up dehydrated.

Has any of this happened to you guys or girls before?


Out of curiosity, how do you know you're dehydrated?


Have you tried drinking more water before sleeping, so there is better absorption with the ZMA and you can avoid feeling dehydrated?


Extremely dry mouth and yellow urine when I wake up. Or at least a darker yellow urine than when I woke up a morning without taking ZMA.

Yes, the first time I took it, I drank 8oz water. Last night I tried 20oz, thinking that would do the trick. It didnt. Obviously, I worked up to 20 oz.

I'm afraid of drinking much more than that, since in "the big sleep" it says to taper off liquid consumption 3 hours before bedtime so it doesnt wake you up in the middle of the night.


Zinc reduces the amount of sodium stored in the tissues. Since water follows sodium taking zinc when you don't need it will cause dehydration no matter how much water you drink. Your body just doesn't want to hold on to the water.

Zinc supresses the adrenal glands which is why some notice they don't get as much of a kick from their caffeine while taking it. And the adrenal glands is where the hormone aldosterone is made which causes you to retain water.

Some of the side effects of high zinc are: tiredness, back pain, nausea, dehydration, muscle spasms/cramps, hypoglycemia, and anemia. Not everybody needs zinc.


When ever I take vitamins, dehydrated or not, I notice that the color of my urine darkens. I take ZMA in the middle of the afternoon, in part to avoid the dilemma of washing down the ZMA with lots of water, but not wanting to ingest enough water to fill my bladder to capacity just before bed.

The other nice thing about taking ZMA in the afternoon is that I still can eat a big bowl of yogurt or cottage cheese before bed, neither of which is good to eat around the same time a taking ZMA. Both contain calcium which can interfere with zinc absorption.


Killer post man, never knew that... Very interesting! Is the suppression of the adrenals a good thing? Does it relax you perhaps? I personally use ZMA but haven't felt any more relaxed since taking it. I just do strange, strange things in my sleep... =)


Those experiencing very yellow urine after taking multi-vitamins are pissing out lots of riboflavin.


I've been taking zinc and magnesium before bed. The gnc didn't have any ZMA, once I run out of this stuff I'll buy some from Biotest. It's not ZMA but it's the basic components, just different amounts.

I noticed when I started taking them, I would sleep deeper and wake up feeling really refreshed. But lately I haven't been feeling that way. Last night I woke up three times (the neighbors, had to piss, and those fucking coons in our roof). I started eating cottage cheese about an hour before bed so I guess now the zinc and magnesium I take an hour later isn't getting absorbed as well. Also I' started drinking more water. I guess I've got to eat my curds earlier and take zm on an empty stomach now.


You're way off dude. best case scenario you would take the ZMA on an empty stomach and eat your cottage cheese DIRECTLY prior to bed (gotta keep that protein as long as you can).

So say you go to bed at 12, and your second last meal is at 10. Eat at 10, take ZMA at 11, Eat cottage cheese at 12 , sleep at 12:05. and BINGO. You got T3H W1N :stuck_out_tongue: . Just avoid anything slow digesting before bed. Or mass quantities of stuff.


A full meal can take 3-4 hours to digest. so if he's eatin at 10, taking ZMA an hour later won't be enough time to suffice.


I get that too, it's just stuff you didn't absorb.

If it's a bright urine it's the vitamins going down the toilet, the darker stuff means something different, check your color and be sure it's not just extra vitamins.


Suppressing the adrenals is a good thing if you are sympathetic dominant(flight or fight), but not if you're parasympathetic dominant (rest and recovery). They're opposite branches of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). So yes, zinc would relax you if you're a high energy, nervous type.

People who are sympathetic dominant tend to be high energy, motivated, anxious, extroverted, and handle stress better. They tend to have higher pulse rates, large pupils, dry mouth and eyes, urinate less, insomnia, decreased gag reflex, and attraction to downers like alcohol, marijuana, and tranquilizers.

Parasympathetics tend to have low energy, apathetic, depressed, introverted, and handle stress poorly. They tend to have lower pulse rates, small pupils, lots of saliva and teary eyes, somnolence, urinate more, increased gag reflex, and attraction to stimulants like caffeine, ephedrine, or cocaine.

One side is not better than the other. Either extreme is not healthy. A balance is what you're looking for. Being on the extreme of sympathetic dominance can cause aggression, paranoia, mood swings, irritability, and anxiety. Definitely not a good thing.

Sympathetic dominant individuals can usually handle more volume in training, while parasympathetics can handle very little.

Sympathetics also do better on higher carbohydrate, less fat diets with an emphasis on fruits. Parasympathetics tend to do better with less carbohydrates and more fat, with little emphasis on fruits.

Sympathetics feel better when they use the supplements zinc, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A. While parasympathetics do better with Calcium, sodium, iron, molybdenum, vitamin B5 and E.

Hope that explains it better.


nah, but i don't take it every single night. i don't think there's anything wrong with taking only 2 capsules either.


I don't know about this... What foods and supplements should I be eating if my bloodtype is AB and I was born in the fall?


I'm assuming that's sarcasm. :slight_smile:

But if you really want to know, you should be eating primarily soy based foods, and supplementing heavily with arsenic, mercury, and lead.


Great tip! I don't know. I don't know that I'd discount your theory completely. But I don't feel that most people simplistically fit in broad categories of parasympathetic or sympathetic dominant. I feel I am a big combination of both. And that supplements from both categories benefit me.



Buy seriously thats some very interesting information youre presenting about sympathetics/parasympathetics. Can I ask what your background is or where youve got this information?

To the original poster : Yeah man ZMA gives me a dry mouth in the morning but I sleep much better with it so its a very minor point for me.


I find myself very much in the sympathetic category: high volume training, carbs, fruit, insomnia, beer and weed!!!


You're spot on. It's a spectrum with shades of grey. Some people being severely dominant on either side, others slightly so, and others balanced.

If you're balanced you would need smaller amounts of everything as you said.

Autonomic dominance is just one homeostatic imbalance one can have. There are other variables within the metabolic testing framework.

Also the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems aren't mutually exclusive. They're both turned on at the same time, just in different amounts. You can also have one organ operating more sympathetic with another more parasympathetic. The more sympathetic dominant a person is, the greater likelyhood more organs will be activated, and with greater intensity. Vice versa with strong parasympathetic dominance.