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ZMA has been a popular dietary supplement seemingly forever, with many users swearing by its sleep-enhancing and testosterone increasing benefits.

ZMA is an acronym for zinc, magnesium, and aspartate, spelling out the three active ingredients in this style of product as the two minerals alongside vitamin B6.

What it does

ZMA is often touted for its ability to increase testosterone levels; however, science shows us that the truth behind this ability isn’t as straightforward as one might think.

When reviewing the proven science on ZMA to show what it does, the fact is that clinical evidence indicates that ZMA does nothing for trained individuals. In fact, a critical study performed in 2004 conclusively showed that ZMA provided “no significant differences…in anabolic or catabolic hormone status, body composition, 1-RM bench press and leg press, upper or lower body muscular endurance, or cycling anaerobic capacity…in resistance trained populations”[1].

How it works

If ZMA were to work as claimed, it would be due to increased zinc levels. Zinc deficiency is linked with low testosterone in healthy adults, and by increasing circulating zinc levels, it is possible to increase testosterone back to normal levels[2]. Unfortunately for ZMA, the average athlete consumes more than enough zinc in their daily diet, meaning that very few suffer from zinc deficiency.


ZMA is most commonly dosed with B6 being provided at 10.5mg, magnesium at 450mg, and zinc at 30mg. This is the suggested daily dosing via the ZMA patent holder, SNAC®.