T Nation

ZMA or BCAA More Beneficial?


Hi guys,

I'm currently taking Protein, CEE, Multi-vitamin and Fish Oil and am looking to add something else to aid with recovery etc.

I'm considering either BCAA or ZMA and I'm just wondering what your opinions are as to which would provide the most benefit for the money.



well firstly zma is way cheaper.. . secondly if youre eating enough protein youre getting tons of bcaa's but despite even perfect diets youre probably not getting anywhere near enough magnesium.. . and a little extra zinc allways helps. ..

plus.. . with zma youre likely to notice improved sleep which should lead to increased recovery.. . whereas with bcaa's you may notice increased recovery if youre taking enough of them.. . price and quantity to value ratio is way up on zma imo. ..


not to be a smart ass, but try this site


on the front page is an article about BCAA usage. in the archives there's been a ton of threads recently about ZMA, peoples experiences and so forth. ZMA helps you to sleep deeper and longer, giving you more of a chance to rest. BCAA's...well, read the article on the front page


I say you should take magnesium glycinate instead of ZMA and still go with BCAA's. This will Definitely aid in your recovery. If you can't afford both go with BCAA's.


Bang-for-the-buck-wise, ZMA, as it's much, much cheaper. But if money is no object, high-dose (40-50 grams per day) BCAAs will do much, much more for you. That's QUITE costly, though.


The rationale for ZMA is that most hard training athletes are deficient in zinc and magnesium which can inhibit natural testosterone production.

By supplementing with it you are creating a more favorable environment for your body to produce test and your are boosting your immune function as well.

BCAA's as stated in the thread for it are the essential building blocks of muscle. By using them you are keeping your body in a highly anabolic muscle building state. This will kick recovery into high gear and put on muscle and decrease soreness.

You should try to budget for both especially since they are both extremely affordable here at T-Nation.



Comparing these two products is like comparing apples and oranges. They have different functions and should not be competeing for placement in a supplement regimen. I would use both. ZMA is $9.00 here on T-Nation and the new BCAA is $28.00. They're not really breaking the bank so to speak.

But please remember that supplements are just that, supplements. They are not a substitiute for proper diet, training and sleeping habits.


Thanks for the replies.

I have wanted to try out megadosing of BCAAs for quite a while after reading some very positive reviews and articles about it. So I guess I will give it a try, although it will be a little bit pricey.

Thanks again!


How necessary is it to take the ZMA at night and/or before before bed? I know that's the usual recommendation, but if I don't care about the sleep enhancement (or if my sleep is great and I don't want to mess with it, and the ZMA does do something, I just can't put my finger on it), am I reducing effectiveness by taking it at another time? Anybody have recommendations as to other times?



RTMB, if you aren't concerned with the sleep enhancement benefit taking at any other time I think would be fine.

The one thing I would make sure of is not taking it in close proximity to anything containing calcium as this may affect absorption.



You'll still benefit from ZMA if taken at other times of the day.

I often take mine 30 minutes prior to dinner and don't go to sleep until 3 to 4 hours afterward.