Does ZMA Really Work?

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Does ZMA work?ZMA is a supplement for both men and women that is claimed to increase strength levels for more energy while lifting, and better results from your time spent in the gym. So what do real users say about it, and what do the clinical studies suggest?

Overview
This supplement was developed in California based lab and has been on the market for several years now. It has a reputation for helping bodybuilders get even bigger, and many products that bear its name are well-reviewed. But studies to test it have shown little sign that it works, and the only testing that showed positive results was sponsored by a company affiliated with the product. Not a good sign usually.

The Claim
The general claim made by manufacturers of ZMA is that you’ll be stronger when taking it, so you’re able to lift more weights in the gym, and therefore get bigger. But the claims are not all the same, with some brands not making any big claims and other saying all sorts of things that it can help with, including increasing endurance, helping your muscles to heal, and getting better sleep.

The Hype
Bodybuilders have a way of hyping up a product, and if one bulked up lifter endorses a product they can set off a chain reaction of others wanting to get the same results. It’s not like there are infomercials or ad campaigns for this, so it’s basically spread by word of mouth advertising by those in the weightlifting community. Even so this can actually lead to more hype, because it’s more believable when your trainer recommends it, or you hear one of the biggest guys in the gym talk about it.

The Cost
The cost for ZMA supplements varies by brand, but you can typically find them from around $15 to $20, with most brands falling into this range. The amount of pills that you get will vary, so you’ll want to double check to see what kind of deal you’re getting.

The Commitment
The recommended instructions say that you should take this before bed, so it’s easy enough to use it. You’ll have to stay on it for as long as you want to experience results, as the body will flush the substance out of your system if you stop taking it. The side effects for this supplement are not very concerning, and this is most evident when compared to taking other bodybuilding or muscle-gaining supplements.

Evaluation
From most scientific studies it seems that ZMA doesn’t work to increase muscle mass, or testosterone, or endurance ability. However, there are plenty of well-reviewed ZMA products where users have said that they’re able to lift more in the gym, and that they’ve noticed size gains after taking it.

Optimum Nutrition ZMA – Optimum Nutrition has a strong track record for producing high quality supplements, and if you want to give this a go they’d be a pretty good one to go with. The price for 180 capsules is just $20, so you’ll definitely be able to see if it works for you or not with a total expenditure of twenty bucks. The reviews are relatively good for it, with a few naysayers, but mostly positive, and there are several users that have said it works just as expected.

NOW Foods ZMA – This one also gets very good reviews, and NOW products are readily available at places like Vitamin Shoppe. The reviews on this are also pretty good, and the majority of those that try it say that it does something, with that something varying depending on who you ask. The consensus is that you’ll see some results with this. The NOW brand makes several different vitamins and supplements, with relatively good reviews as a whole.

Final ZMA Review

Overall it seems that there’s a discrepancy between what clinical studies are showing, and what actual users say when they try it. It can’t all be the placebo effect, but usually bodybuilders and athletes are taking many supplements at once so it makes it harder to determine what is actually producing the results. The price point is low enough on this one to merit a trial and see what sort of effect it has on you. Most weightlifting supplements are rather pricey, but since the ingredients that make up ZMA are all relatively cheap, the end product is also relatively cheap.

Our Recommendation
It’s easy to get swept up in products like these, especially when you hit a plateau. Trying out different supplements in order to get you to the next level is one way to try to get over them, and the low side effects and anecdotal evidence from others makes this worth a try. The price won’t set you back too much, and could potentially give you sizable gains, which is always a good combination.

What do you think? Does ZMA work or not?

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