ZMA is one of the most commonly used ingredients in testosterone boosters.
Wouldn’t you want a 32.5% boost in testosterone?!
Most T-boosters contain zinc and magnesium, right? At least 90%!
ZMA consists of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6, usually in the aspartate form (e.g. zinc aspartate and magnesium aspartate). This is because aspartic acid could also potentially increase testosterone.
I’m going to discuss each ingredient separately real quick, then discuss the research on ZMA on testosterone.
Let’s dive in.
Hans here! I increased my testosterone to 1254ng/dl and have been maintaining high T naturally. I’ve turned myself into an Alpha Energy Male.
An Alpha Energy Male with high energy, fast recovery, high sex drive, and confidence.
This is why I research obsessively, experiment and write, and have been doing so for the past decade.
Hope you enjoy and join me on this journey.
Why do we want to be an alpha energy male?
Being an alpha energy male is synonymous with possessing both high testosterone levels and abundant energy. Consequently, the question arises: what exactly is the significance of having elevated testosterone and energy levels?
Because high T and energy make us feel incredible and powerups our motivation, drive, confidence, and sexual function.
A life without high T and energy isn’t a life worth living.
Zinc on testosterone
Zinc is extremely important for testosterone production.
A zinc deficiency:
- Can lower luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone concentrations, by 34% and 68%, respectively
- Dramatically increase estradiol (thus potently lowering the testosterone to estrogen ratio)
- Increase estrogen receptors by 57%
- Reduce androgen receptors by 41%
- Dramatically lower DHT
A daily zinc intake of only 5-6mg is enough to drop testosterone to the 300ng/dl range. And most vegans and elderly people eat in that range…which is why they have low T!
And supplementing zinc can help to increase testosterone. In the graph below, you can see that testosterone doubled after 6 months. This happened after elderly men were supplemented with 30mg of zinc for 6 months.
Stop the zinc madness.— Hans Amato || testosterone optimization (@HansAmato) August 7, 2023
Zinc can only increase testosterone in a mild to severe deficiency.
When you get enough zinc from the diet, zinc supplements won't do anything.
I always prefer to get zinc from food as then you’re also getting dozens of other testosterone-boosting compounds as well.
Magnesium on testosterone
Magnesium can also help to increase testosterone and there is a positive correlation between magnesium and testosterone.
Magnesium is also important for producing ATP (which helps to increase testosterone), increasing IGF-1 and reducing cortisol.
Vitamin B6 is used primarily to enhance the absorption of zinc and magnesium, however, in practice as well as in multiple studies, that has not been shown to be true.
But this doesn’t mean that vitamin B6 is useless.
Vitamin B6 is crucial for testosterone optimization.— Hans Amato || testosterone optimization (@HansAmato) August 4, 2023
Low B6 can dramatically lower testosterone production without lowering LH.
Best sources of B6? Animal foods (meat, organ meat, shellfish, etc.). pic.twitter.com/3GLLjQqRYE
Vitamin B6 can also help to lower excess prolactin, which can help to improve mood, physique and sexual function.
ZMA on testosterone
There are 4 studies investigating the effect of ZMA on testosterone. Let’s dive in.
The participants were between 18 – 50 years of age and they must have been lifting weights for at least one year prior at a frequency of three times per week.
The ZMA supplement was Z-Mass PM™, which contained:
- 11 mg of Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine hcl)
- 450 mg of magnesium (as magnesium aspartate)
- 30 mg of zinc (as monomethionine and aspartate)
- 10 mg of potassium (as potassium aspartate)
- 706 mg of a proprietary blend of
- Mucuna pruriens (seeds) standardized for 50 mg of L-Dopa (purported as a muscle relaxant)
- Polypodium Vulare/Suma root (herb) standardized for 30 mg of 20-hydroxyecdysone (a plant sterol purported to reduce catabolism). (R)
So it wasn’t a pure ZMA supplement, but regardless, here’s what they found.
No significant differences in the hormones studied either in the ZMA or placebo (P) group:
- IGF-1 (P -25.7 ± 60 vs ZMA 0.2 ± 41 ng/mL)
- Total testosterone (P -0.12 ± 1.3; ZMA -0.47 ± 0.9 ng/mL)
- Free testosterone (P -1.62 ± 5.5; ZMA -1.68 ± 5.3 pg/mL)
- Cortisol (P -1.06 ± 5.2; ZMA 0.41 ± 6.3 μg/dL)
- Total testosterone to cortisol ratio (P -0.014 ± 0.14; ZMA -0.011 ± 0.2)
- Growth hormone (P 0.03 ± 0.19; ZMA 0.01 ± 0.13 ng/mL).
The participants were men aged 22–33 years regularly doing resistance training. They had a baseline zinc intake between 11.9 and 23.2 mg/day prior to the study (the zinc RDA is 11mg).
The ZMA supplement consisted of 30mg of zinc monomethionine and aspartate, 450mg of magnesium aspartate and 10.5mg of vitamin B6 HCL.
After 8 weeks there were no significant trends in the concentrations of total testosterone (R).
They also tested a bunch of urinary hormones (testosterone, epitestosterone, DHT, 5a-androstanediol, 5a-androstanediol, 5B- androstanediol, androsterone, eticholanolone, DHEA, pregnanediol, 11-hydroxy androsterone, 11-hydroxy eticholanolone, tetrahydrocortisol, allo-tetrahydrocortisol), none of which changed significantly.
The participants were strength-trained, varsity football competitive athletes. Diet records (over a 3-day period) showed that average values of selected nutrients exceeded the RDA for zinc (17.0±7.4 mg (RDA is 11mg)), magnesium (539±272 mg (RDA is 400mg)), and vitamin B6 (3.6±1.6 mg (RDA is 1.3mg)) (R). So they weren’t deficient.
The ZMA supplement consisted of 30mg of zinc monomethionine aspartate, 450mg of magnesium aspartate, and 10.5mg of vitamin B6.
Zinc levels in the body increased from 0.8 to 1.04 and magnesium from 19.43 to 20.63. In the previous study, ZMA supplementation didn’t increase circulating zinc, whereas in this study it did. This could indicate that these football athletes had a greater requirement for zinc than regular gymgoers.
As a result:
- Total testosterone increased from 567.92 to 752.17ng/dl 184.25
- Free testosterone increased from 132.1 to 176.34pg/mL
- IGF-1 increased from 424.17 to 439.33ng/mL
ZMA (30mg zinc, 450mg magnesium and 10mg B6) was able to dramatically increase testosterone (184ng/dl) in football players over an 8-week period.— Hans Amato || testosterone optimization (@HansAmato) July 10, 2023
Very good boost if you ask me, since the placebo group experienced a decline. 💪 pic.twitter.com/bFpnsCIpuD
The participants were amateur football players between the age of 18 and 25 years (R).
They were given ZMA and put on a training program consisting of 2 sessions/week (involving strength training and aerobic conditioning, representing around 90 minutes each session).
They were eating on average 3319 calories, 207g of protein, 55g of fat and 497g of carbs.
Testosterone increased more or less equally in both groups:
- In the ZMA group from 748 to 902ng/dl
- In the placebo group from 845 to 1021ng/dl
Chances are that both groups were already getting enough zinc and magnesium from foods, which is very possible with 200g protein and almost 500g carbs.
Zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 can only increase your testosterone if you’re not consuming enough through your diet or losing a lot through sweat.
Just because you’re eating a fair amount of meat (zinc-rich foods) doesn’t mean you’re absorbing and retaining enough. Be sure to test your levels to be sure (plasma zinc and red blood cell (RBC) magnesium. Throw in serum copper and ceruloplasmin as well).
Of the 4 ZMA studies, 3 didn’t find a change in testosterone or other hormones. This is likely because these guys were young, already active, and eating enough zinc, magnesium and B6-rich foods.
If you’re really active, and not eating a lot of red meat, be sure to test your zinc and magnesium. Otherwise, you can simply just use ZMA and see if it makes a difference for you.
As an aside, supplementing zinc can lower copper over time and copper is very important for total and free testosterone. So if you supplement ZMA, be sure to eat lots of beef/lamb liver as well for your copper.
I personally don’t see the need for taking ZMA, since my diet contains more than enough of these nutrients. And adding extra zinc, magnesium and B6 isn’t going to increase testosterone if you’re not deficient.
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Other articles to upgrade your alpha knowledge:
>1000ng/dl Testosterone: My Step-by-Step Guide on How I Do It Naturally!