T Nation

ZMA Rate of Absorption


Hey all,

Long time viewer, first time poster here. I'll get right down to it:

My schedule is hectic and I get to the gym between 8:45-9:30 depending on which classes I have on a given night. Workout lasts around an hour, sometimes an hour and a half.

This is what I have been doing (in terms of ZMA supplement):

Finish workout. Take ZMA. Drive home and then shower. A half hour has most likely passed, and I begin my post workout meal (whey shake and food). Then I pass the hell out and rinse and repeat.


If I take it after I eat, I would have to wait a few hours (which I will not have). This is why I take it after the gym on a completely empty stomach. I read once that a half hour is what is needed in order for the ZMA to be absorbed.

Please confirm or deny and provide some detailed feedback if possible. Thank you very much!


I think you are overestimating the effects of a mineral supplement. It is not a drug and you won't see effects (or lack there of) in the same way. Just take it before bed as recommended and don't wait around... nothing magical is going to happen.


what JLone said. You'll probably get some crazy ass dreams though


Why do you feel it must be taken on an empty stomach?


I've read that in order for ZMA to effectively be absorbed in the body, it must be on an empty stomach and without anything with calcium. It is generally understood that upon eating something (or drinking a shake) you are not "empty" until an hour and a half later or so.

I'm not expecting anything crazy from ZMA, and I'm quite familiar with the product. All I'm asking is if there are those who think the way I am taking it is not advisable.


Prehistoric man didn't walk around popping magnesium pills on an empty stomach. Stands to reason you would still absorb magnesium if there was other food in your stomach as that is where it traditionally came from.

The rule is, "calcium should be taken during the day and magnesium is best taken at bedtime for better utilization and better sleep."

If you have a meal containing a lot of calcium before you take your ZMA and go to bed don't sweat it. Just remember to try and get your calcium supplements and dairy products in early the next day.

Keep it simple or you'll drown in minutiae.


Okay, gotcha. So perhaps my nighttime post shake should not have any milk. It sucks that at 10:30 is the time when will get to finally have dinner as well as my post shake, but this won't be for very long.