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ZMA and Glutamine

By Joseph Eitel

Bodybuilders, athletes and people in training are always looking for an edge. ZMA and glutamine are supplements designed to give this group an edge by supplementing important vitamins and minerals that often get depleted during heavy exercise. Collectively, these supplements are designed to increase your strength and reduce recovery times. Make sure to consult your doctor prior to taking ZMA or glutamine supplements, because they’re not for everybody.

The Facts

ZMA and glutamine are both nutritional supplements used by athletes and bodybuilders trying to achieve maximum fitness. ZMA is a scientifically designed formula containing several vitamins and minerals, and glutamine is an all-natural amino acid found in certain types of food that's also produced by the human body. Although both products are generally recognized as safe, people taking certain medications or who have kidney or liver disease may want to avoid supplementation. You should always consult your doctor before trying any supplement.


ZMA is an anabolic mineral formula containing zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B-6, according to The idea behind supplementing with ZMA during training is that it helps replenish vitamins and minerals lost during exercise. A study at Western Washington University reported that ZMA helped NCAA football players increase their testosterone levels by as much as 30 percent, according to This can lead to increased muscle mass, energy, libido and elevated mood. Consult your doctor before trying ZMA.


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMM. Although it is naturally produced by your body, strenuous exercise can deplete your stores of glutamine. You can obtain glutamine by eating foods such as beef, chicken, milk, spinach and cabbage. Doses of 14 g per day appear to be safe for most people, according to UMM. Glutamine is used to help boost your immune system, treat certain diseases or injuries and to remove waste products from your blood, such as ammonia. People with liver disease, kidney disease or Reye Syndrome should avoid taking glutamine supplements, according to UMM.


ZMA is available as a nutritional supplement in pill or capsule form. Glutamine can be consumed via certain foods, as described above, or it can be purchased in supplement form. These supplements are usually labeled as L-glutamine, and they come in tablet, capsule, powder or liquid form. UMM suggests L-glutamine doses of 500 mg – the typical dose in pill form – three times per day, which is considered to be safe. However, you should ask your doctor about taking ZMA or glutamine in supplement form before trying either one.

Time Frame

The previously mentioned study of NCAA football players taking ZMA supplements was conducted over an eight-week period. The results showed an increase in strength of 11.6 percent in the ZMA group while the placebo group increased their strength by only 4.6 percent. Taking glutamine supplements will yield results within a similar time span. Taking both supplements at the same time is safe, according to, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s dosage recommendations and get the approval of your doctor.

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