While the fitness world is introduced with a new supplement every often, if you ask the fitness freaks to name some nutritional supplements which could help enhance exercise performance, you’d probably find them saying, Whey, BCAA, Creatine, Arginine and even Carnitine pops out of their list.
Most fitness enthusiasts are unlikely to mention magnesium, calcium, zinc and vitamins. The advertisement on supplements claiming improvements in strength, speed or endurance is no less, yet macros enjoy all the glory when it comes to supplementation and micros get undermined. Which is this so? Does this mean micro-nutrients don’t matter much? Let’s find out in this article how micronutrients like zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 can make a wonderful addition to your fitness routine.
If it’s true that macronutrient (carbs, fats and protein) intake plays a crucial role in muscle building and boosting endurance, it is so true that the micronutrients act as a spark to use the macro fuel.
Today I’ve come up with a topic on ZMA – a supplement every athlete will appreciate. Read on to know more…
What is ZMA?
ZMA (Zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6) is a supplement in which zinc and magnesium are in the form of chelated salts of aspartic acid. The combination was developed by Victor Conte (founder of BALCO Laboratories in Burlingame, California). This form of magnesium and zinc supplementation has increased bioavailability compared to oxide and citrate form. ZMA is strongly supported by clinical research to be an effective supplement for enhancing muscle recovery, boosting muscle size and strength. There is a science-backed logic behind the individual components of ZMA and the increased possible benefits of taking them as one supplement in combination.
Zenith Sports ZMA
Zenith sports ZMA provides zinc gluconate, magnesium aspartate, while also serving up the proper dosage of vitamin B6, to aid the proper mineral uptake and utilization by the body. The supplement helps enhance the anabolic profile, reduces catabolism, improves immune status and adaptation to resistance training.
Before we go ahead with ZMA, let me clear your doubt on whether there exists a reason to supplement with minerals…
Research made on endurance athletes has confirmed that athletes are deficient in both zinc and magnesium. This is likely due to the following factors:
1. As athletes burn greater amounts of calories, hydrate to a greater degree, and subsequently sweat and urinate fluids, minerals and water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin B6 leave the body.
2. The popularity of low-carb diets for weight loss may lead to a significant decrease in mineral intake.
3. Athletes have higher rates of energy metabolism and need their bodies to function at intense levels, they tend to have a higher micronutrient needs than non-athletes.
4. Additional stress put on energy-producing pathways of the body.
5. Dietary factors (vegetarians and vegan athletes have a greater risk of zinc deficiency since many zinc and magnesium foods are animal products).
6. Exercise stresses the metabolic pathways where vitamins and minerals are utilized and may result in biochemical adaptations that increase micronutrient needs.
Okay, let’s now learn the individual benefits of the combination…
Zinc is an essential mineral which the body can’t produce on its own, nor does it have a storage system for zinc.
1. Zinc stimulates the activity of many enzymes in the body which are critical for numerous biochemical reactions.
2. Zinc with its antioxidant properties, not just enhances your health but your post-workout recovery as well.
3. Our body needs zinc to activate the T-lymphocytes that help the body to control and regulate immune reactions. Lack of zinc can cause more susceptibility to colds and infections.
4. Zinc is an important component in protein synthesis – molecular mechanism that leads to the muscle regeneration and growth.
5. Zinc supports sleep quality and recovery after hard workouts. It improves your body’s ability to use calories consumed as fuel rather than shuttling them to storage as fat.
6. Zinc plays a role in hormone production including testosterone, which is essential for building lean muscle mass.
7. Your VO2 max or aerobic capacity is the measure of how much oxygen your body is able to supply to your muscles which can limit your athletic performance if the amount is too low. Research has shown that adequate zinc levels improve VO2max.
8. Athletes who have low levels of zinc have low bone mineral density, which can lead to bone fractures.
1. Magnesium is one of the important minerals for the body which takes part in more than 300 enzyme processes that regulate various biochemical reactions in our bodies, including the protein synthesis, muscle, nerve function, regulation of glucose and blood pressure.
2. Magnesium plays a role in preventing muscle spasms through the active transport of calcium and potassium ions through the individual membranes. This process is important for nerve impulses, muscle contraction and normal heartbeat.
3. Magnesium supplementation serves to prevent an increase in the level of the stress hormone – cortisol.
4. The synthesis of ATP requires magnesium-dependent enzymes called ATPases. Magnesium helps enhance exercise performance by enhancing glucose availability in the brain, muscle and delaying lactate accumulation in the muscle.
5. Supplemental magnesium has been shown to have a stabilizing effect on mood and to significantly reduce stress. The essential mineral plays an important role in nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction. It helps the function of GABA receptors, a neurotransmitter that helps calm the body and promotes good sleep.
Vitamin B6 is a key factor concerned with energy production and resistance to stress. It plays a role in production of RBCs. Good amount of red blood cells means more haemoglobin and more oxygen available for working muscles.
Vitamin B6 is required to make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine which affect mood.
Vitamin B6 serves as a coenzyme in transamination and deamination reactions of amino acid metabolism and activates the rate-limiting step of glycogen breakdown.