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ZMA Side Effects: Common Concerns and Safety Precautions - Genetic Nutrition

ZMA Side Effects: Common Concerns and Safety Precautions

, by Genetic Nutrition, 7 min reading time


ZMA is also a supplement that is commonly used by athletes and bodybuilders to enhance muscle growth and recovery as well as strength. It has zinc, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6 included in it. Although it is believed that ZMA has no serious side effects and can be taken in moderation, some people experience side effects when they consume the supplement. Consequently, the article examines the safety of ZMA and the steps that should be taken to minimize the incidence of side effects.

What is ZMA?

ZMA is a patented blend of three ingredients. Such additives include zinc monomethionine, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6. The proportions and proportions of these nutrients are in an attempt to maximize their effectiveness and uptake in the body of active persons and athletes. ZMA is also known to enhance testosterone, growth hormone, strength power, and muscle gains, as supported by studies done under training.

Common ZMA Side Effects

However, mild side effects have been reported when ZMA is taken at recommended doses, which most people can tolerate. However, it is well-known that certain side effects might be experienced as a result of using ZMA, especially when people are sensitive to the primary ingredients. Potential adverse reactions can include: 

  • Nausea, vomiting, cramping - Because of the use of large doses of ZMA taken with an empty stomach, such effects may appear from taking the supplement. This can be avoided by taking the drug in smaller doses or taking it together with foods or meals.
  • Bloating, diarrhea – The compound in the form of magnesium aspartate can draw in water to the large intestines to make them soft. This is usually mild.
  • This includes a metallic taste in the mouth – Zinc is one of the ingredients of ZMA, and taking it leads to this side effect. It’s harmless but unpleasant.
  • Sleep disturbances – The ability of ZMA to influence the secretion of GABA will improve the secretion of other neurotransmitters in the brain, hence increasing alertness and making it difficult to sleep. They contain glucose, and if you take it early in the morning, the problem is solved.

In general, side effects of ZMA supplementation are more likely to be observed with high single doses or concomitant use of other supplements. These are usually amenable to a relatively short period and may require the alteration of dose or frequency of supplementation.

Is ZMA Safe? Which Group of People Should Be More Careful About It?

From the information gathered from various studies, it can be seen that ZMA has very low toxicity in most healthy adults who take it in reasonable portions as recommended by the manufacturers. However, those with certain medical conditions should exercise caution:

  • People with some digestive system diseases might have more GI sensitivity or might have diarrhea more often.
  • Patients with compromised kidney profiles exhibit lower clearance rates of magnesium and zinc from the body.
  • Those who have certain preconditions also should not take ZMA as its impact on magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6 may cause toxicity for people taking certain medications.
  • Shellfish allergy: Some people can be allergic to zinc, and anyone of this nature should avoid the use of ZMA.

Certain populations should also use ZMA carefully or avoid it:

  • Pregnant/nursing women – Pregnancy complications and risk of leakage into breast milk might be present if excessive doses of zinc are taken. A moderate amount, which is found in a typical diet and a prenatal vitamin, is ideal. At this stage, ZMA would be safe after nursing and would not pose any harm to the baby.
  • Children/teenagers - ZMA has not been tested for its safety in persons less than 18 years of age. Even though there is nothing wrong with the consumption of the recommended amount of zinc and magnesium, there are definitive side effects that come with mega-dosing and, in particular, the impact it can have on growth and development.

Staying consistent with dosing, taking it with food, and avoiding situations where interactions or contraindications are possible make ZMA relatively safe for the majority of individuals. However, any side effects that may be observed imply a reduction in the dose or discontinuation of use altogether.


In healthy adults, the consumption of ZMA in the doses recommended on supplemented products is not likely to cause side effects for most people. However, there are certain groups that should be wary of its use or take it in moderation. Side effects can be avoided, and an individual is advised to start with a smaller dosage, take with meals, drink plenty of water, and allow your body to adapt to the medication. In the event of any severe adverse effects or concerns, the patient should stop using the product and consult a physician to review possible causes.


  1. Does ZMA increase estrogen?

Others, however, are concerned that ZMA may increase estrogen levels and disrupt the normal endocrine system. Yet, the scientific evidence to support this claim has not been established in previous studies. Thus, ZMA may have the potential to restore testosterone levels in the depleted athlete. It is, therefore, believed that any estrogen-modulating effects that might be observed may largely depend on the basal levels of zinc and magnesium in the individuals.

  1. Can ZMA lead to severe stomach pain?

At high concentrations, one of the components of ZMA, namely magnesium, can cause intense muscle contractions, nausea, and diarrhea in very high single doses. However, this is a rare occurrence when serving normal portions of food to clients. GI discomfort, usually mild, occurs more frequently, especially in the first days of using QOL daily. When consumed with meals, there is no way through which one is bound to develop stomach upset issues while using ZMA.

  1. Is it safe to take ZMA regularly?

Although many individuals use ZMA for a short period in order to improve performance and appearance, many more use it for general health without any evidence showing that it is harmful in the long run. Offering zinc, magnesium, and B6 intake does not significantly approach the Tolerable Upper Limit in the long run. Thus, it can be safely consumed for several months or years if necessary. Blood tests are done to ensure that they do not rise too high.

  1. Is it safe to take ZMA later in the evening, or can it lead to sleeping disorders?

For that reason, most people should not take ZMA before bedtime because it contains zinc, which strengthens the muscles. Some people say that it gives their brains a brief boost and that it is difficult for them to fall asleep as soon as they have consumed it. This side effect normally manifests in the first week of the use of either of the drugs. Avoid taking ZMA within 2-3 hours before going to bed because it may cause difficulty in falling asleep. If one is to introduce the drug when they are not used to it, they should begin with a half portion of the actual dose.

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