ZMA supplements are often marketed to improve sleep quality and boost testosterone levels. There are some anecdotal reports of ZMA aiding in sleep quality and muscle gain, while other users report no effects whatsoever from the supplement. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the effects of ZMA on testosterone levels.
The study included 14 healthy male subjects. All of the subjects exercised regularly and had a sufficient dietary zinc intake of 11.9-23.2 mg daily. 2 weeks before beginning supplementation with ZMA, the subjects were asked to discontinue use of any zinc containing supplements. The subjects were split into two groups, and for 56 days all subjects took either the standard dose of ZMA or a placebo supplement at least 1 hour after their last meal before going to sleep at night.
No differences whatsoever in total testosterone, free testosterone, or indicators of testosterone changes were seen between the group consuming ZMA and the group consuming the placebo supplement. Based on the results of this study I would not expect significant gains in muscle or strength from ZMA. As far as improving sleep goes, while many users report improved sleep quality there is definitely better and more cost effective options available in this area.
Koehler K, Parr MK, Geyer H, Mester J, & Schanzer W. (2009). Serum testosterone and urinary excretion of steroid hormone metabolites after administration of a high-dose zinc supplement. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 63(1), 65-70.
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ZMA Does Not Boost Testosterone