ZMA vs Mg, Zn and B6

Hi everyone,
I’m fairly new to this site so please excuse my negligence if this question has already been answered.
What is the difference between ZMA vs Zn, Mg, B6 supplementation.
I take all three minerals/vitamins every day after workouts and before sleep: Mg:250mg x 2(after workout and before sleep), Zn:15mg x 2, and B Complex (not exactly sure of the amount of B6 in it because I don’t have it in front of me).
Would this be sufficient or would taking ZMA be a better option?!
thanks, Josef

I was thinking the same thing.

It will for sure depend on the brand and type(citrate, chelate, oxide, malate etc) you choose.

I use the Trophic Chelazome minerals in capsules. I’m pretty sure the real ZMA supplement the minerals are aspartate.

I’ve never a study comparing the 2. I just know that Getting it in one bottle can be a little more convenient than buying at least 3.

The ZMA formula works and other, very slightly different formulas havn’t had the same results. Given the small cost difference, why fool around trying to duplicate what you can already get?

My question is again how is Zinc, Magnesium, and B-6 so impressive?

I do know that diets and multiple training sessions can create a low zinc level and hurt testosterone production. ZMA at night creates no competition so that could be a key variable.

The rhesus monkey study at the University of California with low zinc levels showed a better sleep shift but those with normal Zinc levels did not make change. This includes humans.

I would take the ZMA product and the research on chelated Zinc is a bit tricky:

“We conclude that there was no difference in zinc absorption from ZnO and ZnSO(4) when added as fortificants to maize tortillas and consumed with beans and milk. The addition of EDTA with zinc oxide or the use of prechelated sodium-zinc EDTA as fortificants did not result in higher zinc absorption from the test meal.”

“Atlantic oysters providing about 54 mg of zinc were consumed with or without 100 mg of ferrous iron; Fe/Zn ratio was 2:1. With this “organic” form of zinc, iron did not significantly affect zinc absorption. The evidence for competitive interaction of zinc and iron was strongest with nonheme iron and inorganic zinc. Thus, the possibility that intrinsic iron in formulas for feeding infants and in vitamin-mineral supplement might inhibit the absorption of zinc justifies concern about the Fe/Zn ratio in the formulation of these products.”

some pubmed results.

Overall after doing bloodwork ZMA does work when those are eating a very healthy mixed diet. But when supplements and even healthy foods compete with Zinc, a product such as ZMA (Biotest is 10 dollars) why not go for it?

I believe the reason for the aspartate ZMA formula is for synergy of the 3 main ingredients. As for cost issues, I can get Zinc for 4 dollars, Magnesium for 2.50 dollars at Superstore and B-6 for 5 dollars. Total price is 12 dollars and ZMA is 30 dollars in Canada (Popeyes) and I think only has like half of capsules compared when you take the other stuff separately. Also the 10 dollars for ZMA on T-nation is for Americans only bc if you order it to Canada for a province like BC the shipping will kill ya unless you order huge quantites!

For example, Exact Zinc Gluconate 100 tablets at 50mg a tablet. Exact Magnesium Oxide is 100 tablets receiving 252mg of elemental Magnesium from 435mg of Magnesium Oxide. I don’t have the B-6, I ran out! Now the T-nation ZMA has 90 capsules but only 30 servings or 1 month and each of these servings has Zinc (as Monomethionine and aspartate) at 30mg, Magnesium (as aspartate) at 450mg, and finally B6 (as pyridoxine hydrochloride) as 10.5mg.

So therefore, on calculating costs my Zinc supply will last me 100 days, my Magnesium will last me 15-30 days (depending on how much of T-nations ZMA is elemental magnesium), and B-6 I think had roughly the same dosages as T-nations but mine had 100 capsules so it will also last 100 days. Now doing the math that means my Zinc costs for 3 months is fixed at 4 dollars, my Magnesium cost at most is 5 dollars per month, and my B6 is 5 dollars for 100 days. So doing the quick math I pay 14 dollars for a 3 month supply whereas, If i had bought ZMA I would be paying 27 dollars American which is . So I pay half the cost assuming there is no difference in the two and if I’m an American; therefore, go for it bc the 27 dollars for 32 dollars CDN for 3 months is nothing! However, if I’m a Western Canadian, then shipping charges jump up to 15 dollars USD which is roughly 18 dollars CDN + 10.80 (9 USD) dollars for ZMA equals 29 dollars for 1 bottle! :eek: Compare that with my homemade formula which is only 5 dollars a month!

Now for a 3 month supply the shipping seems to be the same at 18 dollars plus the 32 for the ZMA equals 50 dollars which is approximately 17 dollars a month. Now thats much better but its still more than 3 times the cost of my homemade shit. Ok in this case i can pay the 17 bc its minimal but wait, T-nation also states,“Some remote addresses may incur an additional shipping charge of $20.00 at a later date due to extended delivery location”! In that case forget it! Plus don’t forget the 5 dollar handling fee at the border + any taxes and duties + any brokerage fees which will probably be anywhere from 15-40 dollars bc your using fedex as opposed to using USPS. I know my shit bc I order a lot of stuff from the US. So in the end your 3 bottles could end up costing you anywhere from 50-115 dollars for 3 bottles! :eek: So thats 17-38 dollars per month compared to my 5! Can someone give me back the last hour of my life please!

Moral: If your going to order ZMA from T-nation, order big like a 6 month supply and also request they use USPS instead of Fedex! What can Brown do for you? Not a hella of lot if your a Canadian! UPS/Fedex/DHL are all the same bc they will charge a brokerage fee for filling out the tax form at the border! Go with USPS! If your rich, I guess I just wasted your time!

This has been discussed before. I suggest using the search function.

The ZMA formulation is proprietary and utilizes a
special organic acid to double bond part of the zinc to the aspartic acid molecules
together with the magnesium. The other part of the zinc is double bonded to
the monomethionine molecules. This is so some of the zinc can be absorbed at
the mineral receptor site at the front of the small intestine (monomethionine) and the other part can be absorbed in the back part of the small intestine (active transport) together with the magnesium (aspartate). -Victor Conte-

ZMA is quite cheap to so why bother trying to mix the stuff yourself. However you never know what your getting in those pills. Does anyone know of an inexpensive way of testing to see if whats on the label is actually what your getting?

Well I’ve been to the factory and seen it tested first hand so I’m not worried.

I wasn’t too worried about the cost. I was just curious as to the different types you could get and absorption results.

I guess you guys answered my question.

Smilax and Vanadyl Sulphate it is!!!


After a lengthy talk on the phone with two different biochemists I will state:

ZMA works because of the dosing requirements on an empty stomach. No calcium salts, no phytates.

Lonnerdal B: Dietary factors influencing zinc absorption. J Nutrition 130:1378S-1385S, 2000.

If one is talking about receptor sites and GI variables it has been researched that animal proteins improve absorption in mixed diets.

I think those taking a ZMA product should be fine but those at risk are mainly athletes doing 2-3 training sessions plus diets that are not optimal.

No research has shown that ZMA or any of the minerals and vitamins improve sleep unless you are low blood serum wise. Still, tests are not 100% accurate to measure zinc status.

Take ZMA for insurance but Zinc, magnesium, B-6 will not enhance sleep for those with good diets and the bonding theory is nice on paper but doesn’t hold up.

Conclusions…ZMA for GPP and for times that diets are not quality.

As for testing products it is very expensive and I no longer do it myself.

Cmon Clemson, do some research before you post will ya !!

Jk, thanks for the info.

BTW, where are you from?

I can only comment by personal experience and ZMA works with individuals WITH a good diet. Sometimes getting advice from scientists only yields what SHOULD be the case, rather than what IS.
Kind of like getting advice on your sex-life from the Pope.


So if I come up with a SAC (selenium, Vitamin A, and Calcium) and I tell everyone to take it in the morning to get a burst of energy then what? Same thing when you are taking ZMA at night. The science and experience is available.

I have worked closely with some very high level athletes that ate a great diet and felt nothing with ZMA. I asked myself why and had to explore the science. So then what? In fact I feel nothing when taking ZMA.

Then operate based on Your personal experience. That’s my point.

All things considered, how long after you eat should you be taking ZMA and how long after ingesting milk should you take it considering you have a glass of milk with dinner?

Depends on your own rate of digestion, but, as a rule you should concentrate your meals earlier in the day with a lighter dinner. Taking nothing till bedtime should be about right. I found that you could combine the ZMA with Glutamine (1 tsp).

ive got a quick question relating to ZMA but not really realted to this thread,
i have been taking ZMA for about 1 year and over the past week Ive ran out and as yet not gotten round to buying more :o

However, Ive been feeling really really good at training, much better this week than for a long time and ive been waking up really well in the morning and recovering really well after sessions.

Is it possible that ZMA doesn´t agree with me and im fine without it or is it more likely to just be a coincidence?

Mineral status is like a gas tank…nobody feels anything 'till you’re empty. The body stores nutrients in the various organs and tissues.

Remember that Zinc status is based on diet and training. Moderate loads a great nutrition make ZMA an insurance policy…like the gast tank on a WW2 Jeep.