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ZMA JYM Ingredient Breakdown

Zinc and magnesium do NOT belong in your multivitamin! Read my rundown on ZMA JYM, what's in it, how it works, and why you should be taking it.

ZMA JYM ingredients

I formulate all the JYM products to work together. I've left all the zinc and magnesium out of Vita JYM—as well as the calcium—because they interfere with the uptake of the other minerals and vitamins in Vita JYM.

For more on why it's important to supplement zinc and magnesium separately from your multivitamin and how best to fit these nutrients into your day, check out my Vita JYM Ingredient Breakdown.

That's why you want ZMA JYM, because that's where you're going to get your zinc and magnesium. You're getting the best form, and this is the best way to get it so that the uptake of your zinc and magnesium is absolutely maximized. There's no other supplement company that's thought of their products in this way.

I designed these for myself. That's why they're so effective. I know it works, because this is the way I want to supplement. You get the benefit of supplementing just like me—and you get the same results.

Even Pro JYM works along with these, because Pro JYM provides you 400mg of calcium per scoop. There’s no calcium in Vita JYM for a reason—because it interferes with the uptake of the other minerals. Instead, you get that from your Pro JYM.

I’m giving you an entire system. This is what works—when you take them at the right times, in the right forms, at the right doses, with the right ingredients—this is why the JYM Supplement Science line has literally blown up.

So is ZMA worth adding to your supplement regimen? A mountain of scientific research says unequivocally YES.

ZMA: Must-Have Mineral for Muscle

ZMA is a combination of zinc monomethionine/asparate and magnesium aspartate—plus vitamin B6—that has strong support by clinical research to be an effective supplement for enhancing muscle recovery, boosting muscle size and strength and even aiding fat loss.

That's why I've been recommending it for many years now and, naturally, why I created ZMA JYM. Yet because ZMA is just a mineral supplement, and other supplements like creatine and NO-boosters seem to promise more, most people don't feel the need to bother with it. Perhaps you're one of them. If so, this article will likely change your mind—assuming, of course, that you want your muscles to recover properly and grow bigger and stronger.

One thing I need to clear up right off the bat is that ZMA is not a testosterone booster. Yes, research shows that it may help athletes maintain higher testosterone levels during intense training periods, but this doesn't make it a T-booster. It's simply the most effective way to supplement with two very critical minerals zinc and magnesium.

Yes, research shows that ZMA can enhance testosterone production and strength gains—it's not like creatine, or beta-alanine, but it can work fairly well. That's not why you're taking it, though. That's just a fringe benefit.

You need zinc and magnesium. Trust me, get it in a ZMA form. Zinc has many other benefits—from immune function to enhancing metabolic rate for fat loss. And yes, research shows that male subjects supplementing with just zinc, as well as ZMA—specifically athletes who are training hard—have higher testosterone levels. Those are just some of the benefits of zinc. It's essential. You need it. And a hard-training athlete needs it more than anyone else.

Magnesium also has been shown in research studies to be critical for strength gains. People who are supplementing with a high dose of magnesium have been found to have higher strength gains on a weight-training program. And it provides a million other benefits—heart health benefits, and it does enhance sleep quality. That gets me into the fact that people say it's a sleep aid.

It's not a sleep aid. The reason we recommend taking ZMA at night is because the magnesium can help enhance sleep quality. That doesn't mean it's a sleep aid—it's just one of the fringe benefits.

Now that we’ve gotten those misconceptions out of the way, let me break down just what makes zinc and magnesium—specifically in the form of ZMA—such a crucial supplement to take.

Why These Minerals Matter

Zinc is an essential mineral with antioxidant properties that stimulate the activity of many enzymes in the body critical for a multitude of biochemical reactions. Zinc has been found to be critical for protein synthesis, the molecular mechanism that leads to muscle recovery and growth.

While zinc is important for its antioxidant benefits in the body, it’s its critical involvement in protein synthesis, its ability to promote muscle strength, and its role in boosting testosterone and IGF-I levels that are most important for those who train.

These benefits are especially true when zinc is taken with magnesium. Taking it before bed allows it to be taken at a time that doesn't interfere with the absorption of copper, iron, and magnesium. This also prevents calcium from interfering with it. Plus, taking it at night allows you to take it with magnesium, which is also known to boost strength and hormone levels as well as sleep quality.

Magnesium is also an essential mineral that's involved in numerous reactions in the body. It's important for healthy function of the cardiovascular system, metabolic rate, and bone health. Together, the benefits of zinc and magnesium are countless. And they offer a multitude of physique and performance benefits. In fact, numerous research studies show how these two minerals enhance muscle size, muscle strength, and fat loss—as well as overall health and well being.

Why and How You Should Take ZMA Specifically

While taking a plain zinc and magnesium supplement together may provide you adequate amounts of these important minerals for cheaper than a ZMA supplement, I suggest you spend the money on ZMA.

The specific forms of zinc and magnesium used in ZMA are chelates known as zinc monomethionine/aspartate and magnesium aspartate. These forms help to minimize interference in the absorption of both of these minerals. Furthermore, this form of ZMA provides the zinc and magnesium aspartate in the proper dosing that's shown to work—as well as the proper amount of B6, which aids magnesium uptake and utilization by the body.

Look for ZMA supplements that provide 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium, and 10-11 mg of B6—no more, no less. And be sure that it lists ZMA from SNAC Systems on the label. Anything else is not true ZMA. ZMA JYM satisfies all of these criteria.

You want to make sure that you get zinc and magnesium in this specific dose. This was the form and the dose that was found to produce positive effects in athletes' hormone and strength levels. In addition, taking in too much zinc (upwards of 50 mg of absorbed zinc) can lead to negative effects on the immune system, may have a negative effect on your metabolic rate, may adversely impact muscle recovery and growth, and may even reduce levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. It can even interfere with copper uptake when over-dosed. Plus, getting in much more than 450 mg of magnesium can actually interfere with optimal sleep.

One dosing exception is this: Women should take a 20 mg dose of zinc, 300 mg of magnesium, and 6-7 mg B6. Since a full dose of ZMA JYM is 3 capsules, the dose for women can be achieved by taking 2 capsules.

One of the most important aspects of supplementing with ZMA is timing. I've always recommended that you take it about one hour before bedtime. This will not only help to maximize its uptake and utilization, as clinical research confirms, but taking ZMA at this time of day will also enhance sleep quality, due to magnesium's ability to enhance sleep quality.

It's critical that you do not take ZMA with food, particularly dairy foods. Both zinc and magnesium are poorly absorbed when taken with food, as many nutrients can inhibit their absorption and utilization. For example, calcium interferes with zinc uptake. Plus, zinc interferes with the absorption of amino acids.

Therefore, your best bet is to take ZMA about 1-2 hours after your last meal, and 1 hour before your final meal of the day, which should be right before bed.


Supporting Research

O'Brien KO, Zavaleta N, Caulfield LE, Wen J, Abrams SA. Prenatal iron supplements impair zinc absorption in pregnant Peruvian women. J Nutr. 2000;130(9):2251-2255. (PubMed)

Fung EB, Ritchie LD, Woodhouse LR, Roehl R, King JC. Zinc absorption in women during pregnancy and lactation: a longitudinal study. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;66(1):80-88. (PubMed)

Wood RJ, Zheng JJ. High dietary calcium intakes reduce zinc absorption and balance in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;65(6):1803-1809. (PubMed)

McKenna AA, Ilich JZ, Andon MB, Wang C, Matkovic V. Zinc balance in adolescent females consuming a low- or high-calcium diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;65(5):1460-1464. (PubMed)

Mendoza, C., et al. Effect of a micronutrient fortificant mixture and 2 amounts of calcium on iron and zinc absorption from a processed food supplement. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Feb;79(2):244-50.

Rodriguez Yoldi, M. C., et al. Effect of zinc on L-threonine transport across the jejunum of rabbit. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1993 May-Jun;37(2-3):269-79.

Brzozowska, A., et al. Interaction of iron, zinc and copper in the body of animals and humans. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 1989;40(4-6):302-12.

Fischer, P. W., et al. Effects of zinc on mucosal copper binding and on the kinetics of copper absorption. J Nutr. 1983 Feb;113(2):462-9.

Fischer, P. W., et al. The effect of dietary zinc on intestinal copper absorption. Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Sep;34(9):1670-5.

Oestreicher, P. and Cousins, R. J. Copper and zinc absorption in the rat: mechanism of mutual antagonism. J Nutr. 1985 Feb;115(2):159-66.

Yes, You're Deficient

Research has confirmed that athletes are often deficient in both zinc and magnesium. This is most likely due to several factors, such as lost zinc in sweat during training, increased use of zinc by the body for recovery and protein synthesis following training, as well as an increased loss of zinc in urine. There may also be dietary factors involved.

Refined sugars, as well as white-flour products (ie, white bread) can lower blood levels of zinc and magnesium. Foods rich in calcium, such as dairy products, inhibit absorption of both zinc and magnesium by the small intestines. Copper, as well as foods rich in phytates—phosphorous compounds found in whole grain breads, cereals and legumes—also hinder the absorption of zinc by the small intestines. Alcohol also decreases the absorption of zinc and magnesium and increases their loss through urine.

Given the fact that you're likely not adequately absorbing the zinc from your whole foods and also losing large amounts of the zinc you do absorb, you should seriously consider taking a ZMA supplement to maximize muscle mass and strength gains, as well as to drop body fat and boost your immune function. And if you're using my Vita JYM multivitamin, it's critical that you use ZMA. As stated above, I purposely left zinc and magnesium out from Vita JYM to prevent their competition with other nutrients, and to allow for the maximal uptake and utilization of zinc through ZMA without worrying about getting in too much of these minerals.

ZMA Boosts Muscle Growth

Research has shown that ZMA has significant anabolic benefits. A study performed at Western Washington University (Bellingham) had NCAA football players take a ZMA supplement or a placebo every night during an eight-week spring-training program. They reported that the athletes taking ZMA experienced more than a 30% increase in testosterone levels and about a 5% increase in levels of insulin-like growth-factor-I (IGF-I). Those taking the placebo had a 10% decrease in testosterone levels and a more than 20% drop in IGF-I levels.

In addition to the improvements in their anabolic hormone levels, the ZMA-supplemented athletes made significantly greater gains in strength and power, as well as better sleep quality (which can enhance recovery) as compared to the placebo group. These benefits occurred in the ZMA group despite the fact that the analyses of their diets found that the athletes were all consuming well over the recommended intake for zinc. In addition to the study performed by the WWU researchers, several other studies have also found that zinc and magnesium offer potent anabolic properties.

A 2007 study from Selcuk University (Konya, Turkey) reported that four weeks of zinc supplementation in men increased testosterone levels at rest and after exercise. The same researchers also found similar results for zinc supplementation on testosterone levels in a prior study done with competitive wrestlers.

Researchers from the USDA reported that zinc depletion decreased muscle endurance in subjects, which means that maintaining zinc levels is critical for your ability to complete a number of reps with a given weight.

The same WWU research team that did the ZMA study discussed above also discovered in an earlier study that when subjects supplemented with magnesium while following a 7-week leg training program, their leg strength increased by 20% more than those taking a placebo. Both zinc and magnesium have also been shown to blunt the catabolic hormone cortisol.

German researchers found that triathletes taking a magnesium supplement for four weeks had significantly lower cortisol levels at rest and after a triathlon as compared to athletes taking a placebo. And Brazilian researchers reported that subjects supplementing with zinc experienced a significant drop in cortisol levels within just two hours of taking the supplement.

ZMA may also boost growth hormone (GH) levels, albeit indirectly. ZMA enhances sleep quality due to magnesium's ability to normalize and extend stage 3 and 4 slow-wave sleep. This is critical, as deeper sleep can help to raise GH levels, which peak during the night. Better sleep quality also helps to aid muscle recovery from tough workouts.

Boost Your Metabolism With ZMA

Zinc is also critical for maintaining thyroid hormone production. This is important for keeping your metabolic rate—the amount of calories you burn each day—up, thereby promoting fat burning. Being low in zinc can limit thyroid hormone production, and compromised thyroid hormone function results in a lower metabolic rate, which makes it harder to drop body fat. Research confirms that when your diet is low in zinc, levels of thyroid hormones fall and resting metabolic rate drops.

One study from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) found that subjects placed on a low-zinc diet had significantly lowered metabolic rates. When the subjects took 25 mg of zinc each day for 20 days, their metabolic rate jumped up to levels that were higher than even before they followed the low-zinc diet. The Selcuk University studies discussed above also showed that four weeks of zinc supplementation increased thyroid hormone levels in male wrestlers and sedentary men.

Zinc is not only critical for thyroid function, but it appears that it's important for maintaining levels of the hormone leptin as well. This hormone is important for keeping your metabolic rate high and hunger levels down. South Korean researchers have discovered that being deficient in zinc significantly lowers leptin levels.

ZMA Can Even Boost Immune Function

It's well established that zinc is critical for immune function. Research confirms that the incidence of acute lower respiratory tract infections decrease significantly following zinc supplementation. Zinc also has been found to significantly reduce the duration of fever and severity of pneumonia and other serious lower respiratory infections. Research from the Cleveland Clinic has shown that subjects receiving zinc at the onset of a cold had the length and severity of their colds cut in half. The researchers concluded that zinc may block the cold virus from combining with surface proteins that trigger symptoms.

Zinc also functions as a potent antioxidant. This mighty mineral activates an enzyme that helps to prevent diabetes, fights cancer by activating the tumor-suppressor endostatin, and it even fights HIV by inactivating a protease enzyme that's essential to the HIV virus. Zinc's powerful antioxidant properties will not only enhance your health, but your recovery after workouts. Plus. zinc's immune-boosting effects will help to keep you healthy and in the gym to prevent down time and setbacks from being sick.


Supporting Research

Brandão-Neto, J., et al. Zinc acutely and temporarily inhibits adrenal cortisol secretion in humans. A preliminary report. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1990 Jan;24(1):83-9.

Brilla, L. R. and Conte, V. Effects of a Novel Zinc-Magnesium Formulation on Hormones and Strength Journal of Exercise Physiology online. 3(4): 2000.

Brilla, L. R. and Haley, T. F. Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 1992 Jun;11(3):326-9.

Cinar, V., et al. Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood parameters of athletes at rest and after exercise. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2007 Mar;115(3):205-12.

Cinar, V., et al. The effects of magnesium supplementation on thyroid hormones of sedentars and Tae-Kwon-Do sportsperson at resting and exhaustion. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2007 Oct;28(5):708-12.

Cordova, A. and Navas, F. J. Effect of training on zinc metabolism – changes in serum and sweat zinc concentrations in sportsmen. Ann Nutr Metab 1998:42:274-82.

Evans, G. W. and Johnson, E. C. Effect of iron, vitamin B-6 and picolinic acid on zinc absorption in the rat. J Nutr 1981:111: 68-75.

Freake, H. C., et al. Actions and Interactions of Thyroid Hormone and Zinc Status in Growing Rats. J. Nutr. 131: 1135-1141, 2001.

Golf, S. W., et al. On the significance of magnesium in extreme physical stress. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther 1998:12:197-202.

Haralambie, G., et al. Serum zinc in athletes in training. Int J Sports Med. 1981 Aug;2(3):135-8.

Kilic, M., et al. Effect of fatiguing bicycle exercise on thyroid hormone and testosterone levels in sedentary males supplemented with oral zinc. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2007 Oct;28(5):681-5.

Kilic, M., et al. The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Feb-Apr;27(1-2):247-52.

Kilic, M., et al. Effect of zinc supplementation on hematological parameters in athletes. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2004 Jul;100(1):31-8.

Konig, D., et al. Zinc, iron, and magnesium status in athletes-influence on the regulation of exercise-induced stress and immune function. Exerc Immunol Rev 1998:4:2-21.

Kwun, I. S., et al. Marginal zinc deficiency in rats decreases leptin expression independently of food intake and corticotrophin-releasing hormone in relation to food intake. Br J Nutr. 2007 98(3):485-9.

Mahalanabis, D., et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of the efficacy of treatment with zinc or vitamin A in infants and young children with severe acute lower respiratory infection. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 79(3): 430-436, 2004.

Mocchegiani, E., et al. Zinc, metallothioneins, and longevity--effect of zinc supplementation: zinc age study. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Nov;1119:129-46.

Mossad, S. B. Effect of zincum gluconicum nasal gel on the duration and symptom severity of the common cold in otherwise healthy adults. QJM. 2003 Jan;96(1):35-43.

Persigehl, M. Changes in the serum zinc concentration in different metabolic situations. Z Klin Chem Klin Biochem. 1974 Apr;12(4):171-5.

Sazawal, S., et al. Zinc supplementation reduces the incidence of acute lower respiratory infections in infants and pre-school children: a double-blind, controlled trial. Pediatrics 102:1-5, 1998.

Shankar, A.H., et al. Zinc and immune function: The biological basis of altered resistance to infection. Am J Clin Nutr 68: 447S-463S, 1998.

Sprietsma, J. E. Modern diets and diseases: NO-zinc balance. Under Th1, zinc and nitrogen monoxide (NO) collectively protect against viruses, AIDS, autoimmunity, diabetes, allergies, asthma, infectious diseases, atherosclerosis and cancer. Medical Hypotheses(1999) 53(1): 6-16.

Theberge, C. S. and Volpe, S. L. Effect of Zinc Depletion and Repletion on Resting Metabolic Rate and Zinc Status in Healthy Male and Female. New England American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, 2003.

VanLoan, M. D., et al. The effects of zinc depletion on peak force and total work of knee and shoulder extensor and flexor muscles. Int J Sport Nutr 1999:9:125-135.

Wada, L. and King, J. C. Effect of low zinc intakes on basal metabolic rate, thyroid hormones and protein utilization in adult men. J Nutr. 1986 Jun;116(6):1045-53.

Wichnik, A., et al. Magnesium aspartate as a cardioprotective agent and adjuvant in tocolysis with betamimetics. Animal experiments on the kinetics and calcium antagonist action of orally administered magnesium aspartate with special reference simultaneous vitamin B administration. Z Geburtshilfe Perinatol 1982:186:326-34.

Zinc Does Your DNA Good

In adequate doses, in the proper form, and taken at the right time, supplementing zinc can help repair DNA in addition to maximizing recovery and bolstering the immune system.

As detailed above, numerous studies show that zinc is important for muscle strength, muscle growth, metabolism and immune function—and the research confirms that supplementing with zinc can improve testosterone levels, increase gains in muscle strength and muscle growth, enhance fat loss, and improve immune function. The latest study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that getting even a small amount of extra zinc can have big benefits, particularly to your DNA.

Researchers from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) had subjects consume a diet that provided 6mg of zinc per day or a diet that provided 10mg of zinc. They found that when the subjects consumed the extra zinc, despite it being just an extra 4mg, they had reduced oxidative stress and damage to DNA.

In particular, they found less DNA strand breaks in leukocytes, or white blood cells, which are important in mounting an immune response in the body. They also showed that the higher zinc intake helped to bump up the level of proteins involved in DNA repair, antioxidant production and immune function.

The UCSF study showed that getting just a modest increase in zinc intake—to a level of 10mg per day—helped prevent DNA damage, while simultaneously enhancing DNA repair. Bumping up zinc intake also appeared to enhance the production of antioxidants in the body and immune function. This can potentially help you recover better, get sick less, stay healthier and live longer.

While a 10mg dose may be adequate in normal, sedentary people, hard-training individuals and athletes have a higher requirement of zinc because they lose more of it through exercise. That's why a 30mg dose works for men who train (and a 20mg dose for females who train).

The problem with standard zinc supplements, however, is that they're poorly absorbed by the body. That's why I prefer the form in ZMA JYM, which as I’ve said above provides 30mg of zinc in a chelated form—along with magnesium to enhance zinc's uptake and utilization by the body. Plus, I advise taking ZMA JYM without calcium, which normally interferes with zinc uptake, and on an empty stomach to further enhance uptake.


Supporting Research

ZMA JYM – Optimal Zinc and Magnesium Supplementation

Don’t short-change yourself or your results by remaining deficient in these key nutrients. Just one dose of ZMA JYM per day—3 capsules for me, 2 capsules for women—is all it takes to hit the ideal doses of these critical minerals for hard-training individuals. Not only will you be fueling your training and your recovery with these adequate amounts and optimal uptake in ZMA form, but you'll be boosting your metabolism and fat loss efforts, enhancing your immune system, and fueling your DNA.


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