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Minerals That You Need To Gain Muscle - ZMA Review
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Minerals That You Need To Gain Muscle - ZMA Review

We already know that a full range of vitamins help us with building muscle, but what about minerals? Do we need to consume the full spectrum of those as well? In this article I’m going to talk about two specific minerals that are said to directly help with building muscle. Perhaps these are the minerals that you need to gain muscle.

Time to spill the beans, the two minerals I’m talking about are zinc and magnesium. When combined at the right amounts, these two minerals are said to act as a natural testosterone booster. As you already know, testosterone (testosterone-1 to be more specific) is vital when it comes to building muscle. Testosterone elevation is a strong component of how illegal steroids work. So can this testosterone boost happen on a smaller scale naturally?

There was a study conducted in 1999 involving NCAA football players. One group was given a product called ZMA (based off of zinc and magnesium). One group was given the placebo pill. After 8 weeks, researchers found that those who trained with ZMA increased 2.5 times more in muscle mass when compared to the placebo group. Keep in mind that the training was the same for every player.

So maybe there’s something to this. It was found that the ZMA group increased in strength with an average of 11.6% while the placebo group increased 4.6% in strength. Why did this work? What is going on in the bodies of the players who supplemented with zinc and magnesium? Well, testosterone shot up 30% more on average, plus the IGF-1 (insulin growth hormone) also had a slight increase. So maybe that was it?

The group who took the placebo actually dropped in testosterone levels by 10% and IGF-1 by 20%. This would be due to long intense training and a deficiency in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. So what’s really happening here? To answer that question we need to look at each mineral individually and then together. It just might be worth your while to supplement with zinc and magnesium when training with a workout routine to gain muscle.


Zinc is said to be a good antioxidant for the body. Some studies show that it helps to slow down the aging process of the skin and muscles of the body. It’s also said to help with the recovery of an injury.

Zinc deficiencies are responsible for roughly 800 000 deaths of children around the world every year. This is a rather overwhelming stat. The reason for this is because zinc is an essential mineral for the body to function properly.

On the flip side, overdosing on zinc has been linked to prostate cancer. So this is not a mineral that you want to be taking in excessive amounts.


This essential mineral directly aids in the creation of ATP for your muscles. So basically without this mineral you wouldn’t have any energy. Having a low level of magnesium can lead to diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis.

Another benefit of magnesium is that it helps to absorb calcium into the body. Since magnesium is filtered out by the kidneys when in excess, it’s hard to overdose on but it is possible. Overdosing can of course damage your kidneys over a period of time.

So we have established that both zinc and magnesium are essential for the body to function. Does this mean that ZMA works? Of course not, it merely means that we should not be deficient in these two minerals. Let’s look at how much of each mineral is in a dosage of ZMA.

Zinc: 30 mg

Magnesium: 450 mg

Vitamin B6: 11 mg

Now let’s look at a couple of leading high performance multivitamins such as Mega Mens Sport and Animal Pak.

Mega Mens Sport:

Zinc: 25 mg

Magnesium: 100 mg

Vitamin B6: 50 mg

Animal Pak:

Zinc: 30 mg

Magnesium: 400 mg

Vitamin B6: 180 mg

So there you have it. Both multivitamins are very similar with the zinc levels. Magnesium on Mega Mens Sport seems to be lacking in comparison. But the moral of the story here is, if you are taking a multivitamin as powerful as Animal Pak, then you are consuming very close to the same levels of zinc and magnesium that ZMA gives you.

The take away message here is that you need to make sure that you don’t become deficient in magnesium and zinc. If this happens, your IGF-1 and testosterone levels will drop which will in turn cause your performance to plummet. As far as ZMA, it seems that taking it while training with your workout routine to gain muscle will prevent you from becoming deficient in the two essential minerals. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s worth the money.

If you browse the internet on the subject, you will find that many people don’t recommend ZMA. There are many studies out there that show no improvements in their test subjects when putting ZMA to the test. It has even been said that the study conducted with the football players in 1999 was biased and fake. Let’s look more into that claim.

It’s said that Victor Conte created ZMA, who is the owner of BALCO Labs. Victor apparently isn’t some breakthrough biochemist. He’s a smart business man. He opened a holistic health center with his wife. After about a year he was then able to open up BALCO Labs. From there he asked the manufacturer of ZMA, who is SNAC, to conduct a study on the effectiveness of ZMA. This study was the one with the football players showing a 250% increase in muscle mass in 8 weeks after training with a workout routine to gain muscle.

Looking further into this situation, apparently BALCO Labs is affiliated with SNAC. So Victor helped to pay for that study. Which I don’t think is a huge deal, but there’s more. Out of the 57 football players who participated in the study, 15 quit for unknown reasons. SNAC also conducted a similar study with a magnesium product previous to this study. The results were very close to the same as the ones with ZMA. For this reason some people believe the results in the ZMA test to be fabricated.

There are two sides to every study. For one positive study there will be another that contradicts it. The key is to weigh the positive reviews against the negative reviews when it comes to supplements. As a general rule of thumb, the only supplements that will have more positive than negative reviews are creatine, whey protein, and high performance multivitamins.

In my opinion ZMA is not worth the purchase. A high performance multivitamin will ensure that you don’t become deficient in zinc and magnesium. Using ZMA in your workout routine to gain muscle probably won’t do anything unless you are severely lacking in zinc and magnesium already. Also, the power of the placebo effect can be very significant.

Zinc and magnesium are also found easily in the North American diet. Peanuts, lamb, beef, and even chocolate contain significant amounts of zinc. As for magnesium, halibut, bananas, wheat flour, and milk all contain high amounts of magnesium.

The people that have deficiencies in magnesium and zinc are typically those who are in struggling 3rd world countries. Training hard with a workout routine to gain muscle will deplete your levels of zinc and magnesium. So it’s important to make sure that you consume foods offering proper nutrition. Train hard, eat well, supplement with a high performance multivitamin and you’re covered.

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