Choosing the Best ZMA Supplements – Top 10 Brands

Best Zma Supplement Brands

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We need certain things in order to perform at our very best, some of which apply only to specific roles or aspects, such as specialized sport supplements to build strength, others apply all of us for our overall health, well-being and performance. In the fitness and health industry we tend to put all of our focus on exercise and diet, especially macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

However, a healthy and balanced diet of micronutrients may be just as crucial and beneficial to overall health. Micronutrients are generally classified as vitamins and minerals, and deficiencies in these areas can lead to a variety of health concerns.

ZMA, which stands for zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 (aspartate), is one of the best overall supplements available on the market today for improving your micronutrient intake, and it may have beneficial effects on performance too. For those looking to improve their health and performance, a supplement that combines three synergistic micronutrients is a great choice.

In this article, we’ll break down exactly what zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 do and how they work together as ZMA to create a powerful dietary supplement. We’ll also examine who ZMA is best suited for, possible side effects, and finally we’ll break down the best products for ZMA on the market today.

What is ZMA?

ZMA is a patented formulation that combines zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, also known as aspartate. These three micronutrients all have beneficial health effects individually, and when combined may have more powerful beneficial effects.

Zinc is in fact a metal that we use within our bodies for a variety of functions. It is commonly considered an essential trace metal, as we do not require large amounts of zinc for optimal function, however it is not always readily found in our diets thus supplementation may be necessary. Zinc’s function in our body is diverse and important. It is involved in over 100 different enzymes and helping them to function at their highest capacity. In addition, it plays a key role in our immune system function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis and cell division.

Having a sufficient amount of zinc is critical to our body’s health and optimal physiology, and perhaps most importantly it must be replenished regularly. Our bodies do not store zinc naturally, thus it must constantly be replenished through diet or supplementation to maintain optimal levels. In addition, certain populations such as children may need more zinc than standard adults, making supplementation and diet crucial.

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that is often found in healthy foods such as dark, leafy greens (spinach anyone?), however we often don’t get enough of those in our diet. The typical Western diet lacks much of the natural, healthy foods that would deliver our recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium. Additionally, due to complex biological factors many of these foods that do contain magnesium are not as potent as they once were, thus the shortage for much of the general population in this vital mineral, and the need for a supplemental dose.

Vitamin B6 is a component in the broader B-vitamin complex series. It is a water-soluble vitamin made of 6 compounds. It has a broad range of involvement in a variety of physiological processes, including involvement in over 100 enzyme reactions, primarily within protein metabolism. It’s broad function in the body makes it an excellent general supplement to take for overall health.

Benefits of ZMA

ZMA’s health benefits can vary and there is some level of dispute as more research is performed as to the effect and scope of ZMA’s impact as a dietary supplement. At its most basic level, ZMA is an excellent all-around micronutrient supplement for delivering increased zinc, magnesium and aspartate to the body.

Part of ZMA’s potential benefits and need for further research comes from an initial study in 2000 in which ZMA demonstrated a strong ability to increasing testosterone and growth hormone in a sample of collegiate football players. Further research has not found the same effect, thus more research is needed to empirically determine if this is accurate.

In either case, for those who are suffering from deficiency in testosterone, ZMA may be an especially applicable supplement. ZMA proponents also claim that is can help build muscle strength and stamina, speed up muscle recovery and improve sleep quality, though more research is needed to fully prove these benefits.

Who Is ZMA Best Suited For?

In short, just about everyone who doesn’t get enough zinc or magnesium in their regular diet. While as a generality this probably includes most of us, it would specifically apply to those who are especially active and thus require more nutrients, such as athletes or gym enthusiasts, and those who do not get much naturally occurring zinc and magnesium in their diet. ZMA is especially prevalent for those with a testosterone deficiency as well, as it has proven effective for that population. It also has benefits for those needing additional zinc or magnesium.

Zinc, one of the key components of ZMA, is absolutely best suited for children whose immune systems are continuing to develop. Zinc plays a key role in the growth and developmental process, as it supports normal growth and is required for a proper sense of taste and smell. In fact, zinc deficiency can in some cases lead to stunted growth.

This also applies for pregnant or nursing women especially, whose own zinc stores would in turn help with growth and nurturing of babies. It is common for children and adults to obtain enough zinc in their regular diets through foods rich in zinc like oysters, beef, cereals, and beans; however, it has been shown that older adults tend to have lower zinc intakes than youth or middle-aged adults, when possible it is ideal for older adults to supplement with zinc in order to counter the assumed decrease in zinc intake in older age.

Anyone with a magnesium deficiency can also benefit from ZMA. Magnesium has a host of health benefits in a variety of ways, including aiding in nerve and muscle function, keeping the immune system at full capacity and even helping to regulate heart rate. In addition, there is new research that Magnesium may play a part in preventing issues related to high blood pressure and disease, It is considered one of the primary ions in the body and one of our most important compounds. Magnesium is commonly found both in vegetables like spinach, and in healthy nuts like walnuts, for example. Perhaps just as striking as the health benefits of magnesium is the common cases of severe magnesium deficiency, which has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and headaches.

Finally, ZMA may be most suited for athletes or fitness enthusiasts looking for a natural supplement that can improve their performance. While its ability to improve performance is still up for debate, at reasonable levels it is a useful supplement with minimal side effects and could deliver improved performance.

Use of ZMA and Potential Side Effects

As with any supplement or health-related product, it is always advised to consult with a medical professional on if it is the right choice for you, and it is also always advised to follow the recommended dosing strategy by the product.

When taking a ZMA supplement, there are minimal to no side effects when staying within the recommended dosage ranges. The most common side effects with ZMA is nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; these are essentially your body’s way of telling you you’ve had too much and it doesn’t need the excess, though over time you may be able to adapt and gradually increase the dosage.

If you do take too much ZMA there can be some side effects. In mild cases if you take too much ZMA for a short interval of time or it is slightly too high, side effects can include an upset stomach, some level of acid reflux or reaction or constipation as your body has to work to expel the excess nutrients. In rare instances of chronic overuse of ZMA then there can be more serious side effects.

If you are unsure what the proper dosage is, consult with your medical professional and check the product packaging for the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) as well. The RDA will vary depending on age, gender and in general your activity level as well.

How to Pick a Good ZMA Supplement

Most ZMA products will have little variability in their ingredients, generally it will just be ZMA, therefore you’ll have to identify which version of ZMA is the right choice for you and look for that option. ZMA comes in capsule forms, powders to mix with drinks, drops and more. It is also often combined with other minerals which is a factor consider.

Be sure when selecting a product to review any additional ingredients aside from ZMA, such as additional supplements, fillers, artificial additives etc. as these may carry their own side effects or dilute the quality of the product.

Finally, as with any good product decision, look for reputable brands that are backed by strong scientific backgrounds, as well as offering a strong value. A good rule of thumb in terms of comparing price and value is to evaluate the price per dose rather than overall dose, as most products will have varying sizes.

Top 10 Recommended ZMA Products

We have put together a list of our top 10 recommended ZMA supplements. Each one has a short breakdown of its highlights, primary ingredients and usages, as well as a brief profile for the company who makes the product.

Check out all 10, and look for the best option that not only comes highly recommended but fits your individual needs and desires for a ZMA supplement. We hope you enjoy and find the best product for you!


1. Optimum Nutrition ZMA

Optimum Nutrition Zma

Optimum Nutrition ZMA is one of the top sellers on the ZMA market, delivering a strong amount of all three primary nutrients. Affordably priced, it is an excellent value created by a strong and reputable brand, making this one of the best options for a quality ZMA option.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 5mg vitamin B6
  • Affordably priced and a quality value
  • Made by a reputable and well-known supplement manufacturer

Company Profile:

Optimum Nutrition, ON as it otherwise known, is one of the leading companies in the nutritional supplement industry and is the producer of ZMA. They are best known for their Gold Standard line, particularly protein powders, however they are well known and respected for using scientifically proven ingredients and strategies in all of their products, making them a successful and respected brand.

Why We Recommend It:

Optimum Nutrition ZMA is one of the best values available for a ZMA product, with ideal dose amounts of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 and no additional fillers or ingredients. It is also affordably priced and made by a reputable manufacturer, making this a quality and trustworthy product.

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2. NOW ZMA

Now Zma

NOW ZMA is a quality ZMA product created by industry giant NOW Foods. It contains ideal dosage amounts of all three primary ingredients of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 at an affordable price.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 15mg vitamin B6
  • Affordably priced from a reputable manufacturer
  • Ideal for athletes

Company Profile:

NOW Foods is the maker of this product, and they are considered to be one of the companies in the greater supplement industry. For decades, they have produced products that are very high in quality yet also specialize in simplicity. They have a wealth of products, over 1,000 and are a major player in the industry.

Why We Recommend It:

NOW Foods ZMA is an excellent yet simple ZMA product that delivers ideal amounts of magnesium, zinc and aspartate or vitamin B6 with no additional fillers. Reasonably priced, this is an excellent value for a ZMA product that can improve performance and health.

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3. Universal Nutrition ZMA Pro

Universal Nutrition Zma Pro

Universal Nutrition ZMA Pro delivers quality, effective ingredients in a simple and affordable capsule for both athletes and fitness enthusiasts as well as those looking for additional zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 in their diet.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 5mg vitamin B6
  • Affordably priced and a good value.
  • Comes in capsule form
  • Created by a well-known supplement manufacturer

Company Profile:

Universal Nutrition was founded in 1977, making it one of the oldest and well-seasoned companies in the supplement and sport nutrition industry. They offer a variety of products in addition to their testosterone booster Animal Test, and are considered one of the best brands on the market thanks to a team of highly trained professionals who work to create cutting edge products.

Why We Recommend It:

This product delivers an ideal amount of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 with no additional or unnecessary ingredients, making it a great choice both for athletes and regular fitness enthusiasts alike. It is also reasonably priced and made by a well-known supplement manufacturer, making it a quality option for ZMA.

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4. MusclePharm Z-Core PM

Musclepharm Z Core Pm

MusclePharm Z-Core PM is a ZMA supplement with a host of additional qualities and ingredients including copper, fenugreek, melatonin and more. It is ideally suited not only for muscle recovery but improved sleep quality as well

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Created ideally for improved sleep quality
  • 113mg magnesium
  • 5mg zinc
  • 3mg vitamin B6
  • 50mg fenugreek
  • 10mcg copper
  • 3mg melatonin

Company Profile:

MusclePharm, the manufacturer of Z-Core PM, is a multinational nutritional supplement company primarily based in Denver, Colorado. It is a well-known brand in the industry as one of the bigger companies, and offers a wide variety of products.

Why We Recommend It:

This product from MusclePharm is an ideal supplement for improving sleep quality and is in many ways ideally suited for sleep rather than performance. It has all three of the ingredients for a quality ZMA supplement though in lower amounts than most, thus this should ideally be used for those looking to ZMA for improved recovery and sleep quality.

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5. Primaforce ZMA

Primaforce Zma

One of the simplest and effective ZMA options on this list comes from Primaforce ZMA. With 30mg of zinc, 450mg of magnesium and 5mg of vitamin B6 it delivers an ideal amount of all three nutrients with no additional fillers, making it a simple and effective option.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 5mg vitamin B6
  • More expensive than most

Company Profile:

Primaforce is a large-scale supplement company that focuses on using simple, pure ingredients to create effective, affordable, and easily accessible supplements. One of their primary points of emphasis is creating stackable supplements for more success.

Why We Recommend It:

One of the simplest products available, Primaforce ZMA is one of the best options available for a zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 supplement that delivers a manageable dose with no extra fillers or unnecessary ingredients, although it is more expensive than some alternatives.

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6. MET-RX ZMA

Met Rx Zma

MET-RX ZMA is a quality and straightforward ZMA option. With no artificial fillers, preservatives, or otherwise it delivers the industry-standard doses of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 for a quality and effective product.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 5mg vitamin B6
  • Comes in easy to use capsules
  • More expensive than competitors

Company Profile:

Met-Rx is one of the largest and most recognizable brands in the supplement and fitness industry. They were founded in 1991 and in over 20 years of operation have developed into one of the biggest brands in the market, manufacturing a wealth of supplement products.

Why We Recommend It:

These convenient, easy to use capsules from MET-RX are effective and deliver the requisite ingredients standard to quality ZMA supplements. That being said, it is a bit more expensive than other products with similar ingredients.

7. Twinlab ZMA Fuel

Twinlab Zma Fuel

Twinlab ZMA Fuel is a unique ZMA supplement that delivers the standard zinc, magnesium, and aspartate amounts but also includes medium chain triglycerides for additional support and energy. Combined with quality manufacturing practices, this is a quality product for those looking for ZMA with extra MCT’s.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 5mg vitamin B6
  • Includes additional medium chain triglycerides
  • Manufactured in an NSF and GMP certified facility

Company Profile:

Based in New York, Twinlab is one of the elder statesman of the supplement industry, having started over 50 years in 1968. They are dedicated producing high quality supplements for the fitness and health industry and consumers with over 500 products!

Why We Recommend It:

This product offers all the standard ingredients and qualities of a strong ZMA product, and with an additional, though small, amount of medium chain triglycerides it is a quality ZMA product with a twist. It is reliably manufactured, though a bit expensive compared to similar products.

8. Nutrabio ZMA

Nutrabio Zma

Nutrabio ZMA is a quality ZMA supplement with the requisite and proven amounts of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 that make for an effective ZMA supplement. With no additional fillers or extras and an FDA-registered facility, this is a quality ZMA option.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 5mg vitamin B6
  • Manufactured in an FDA registered facility
  • More expensive than some similar alternatives

Company Profile:

Founded in 1996, Nutrabio is a nutritional supplement and vitamin manufacturer that specializes in innovative and effective health products produced in a GMP/FDA certified facility. Over the last two decades, they have remained dedicated to label transparency and quality products.

Why We Recommend It:

This product is ideal for those looking for a simple and effective ZMA supplement that has a standard and effective dosage and is reliably produced in a quality facility. It is more expensive than some alternatives however.

9. Allmax Nutrition ZMA

Allmax Nutrition Zma

Allmax Nutrition ZMA is a quality product and offers a twist on the standard ZMA formula, with the requisite amount of zinc and magnesium but an added amount of vitamin B6. It has no additional fillers or extra’s, making it a potent and quality option.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 11mg vitamin B6
  • One of the more expensive options available

Company Profile:

ALLMAX NUTRITION, is a large company in the supplement manufacturing industry, with a specialization of creating products for bodybuilders and other serious athletes looking for high-level supplements. They carry products for more general-health users as well though.

Why We Recommend It:

This ZMA product from Allmax is ideal for those primarily interested in an increased amount of vitamin B6 in their ZMA product. It delivers a quality dose of zinc and magnesium, however it is rather expensive as compared to similar products.

10. True Athlete ZMA with Theanine

True Athlete Zma With Theanine

True Athlete ZMA is a quality ZMA option, particularly for those interested in an option that will improve recovery and sleep quality. The addition of theanine improves relaxation for a quality ZMA supplement for recovery.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 450mg magnesium
  • 30mg zinc
  • 5mg vitamin B6
  • 50mg theanine
  • Expensively priced

Company Profile:

True Athlete is an NSF-certified company that focuses on creating effective supplements primarily for athletes. They take special care to ensure their products are free of banned substances or fillers thus ensuring their wide variety of products are ideally suited for athletes.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an ideal ZMA option for recovery and sleep quality, with its primary differentiator being added theanine. It is more expensive than many other options however, so it may only be ideal for those primarily interested in added theanine or recovery.

Carl Putman

Written by Carl Putman

Carl Putman is a strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level and writer on fitness, health and supplements. Over the past decade, he has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from professional athletes and world champions to youth and general population, as well as tactical practitioners. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. Based in Florida, he continues to train and coach as well as write with a passion for making a positive impact for his clients and readers.

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