Can ZMA Cure Erectile Dysfunction And Improve Libido?
ZMA can indeed help you overcome erectile dysfunction.
It can also increase your libido. And potentially take sex to the next level. 😉
Scientific research has demonstrated that ZMA can do this by:
- Increasing production of testosterone
- Increasing production of nitric oxide
- Increasing production of dopamine
- Supplying antioxidants
Let’s learn more about this supplement. 👍
ZMA is a synthetically designed supplement which is normally used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase performance, and as a recovery aid after exercise.
The ZMA formula is composed of the following ingredients:
- Zinc monomethionine and aspartate (~30 mg)
- Magnesium aspartate (~450 mg)
- Vitamin B6 (~10-11 mg)
The reason zinc come in aspartate and monomethionine form, and magnesium in apartate form, is because these forms have a very high absorption rate in the body.
Zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 are all critical for energy production, cell metabolism, protein synthesis and muscle function.
Therefore, many bodybuilders and athletes are faithful users of this supplement.
ZMA is also claimed to give you better sleep quality, as well as increased sleep duration.
Some people have also reported more vivid and lucid dreams when they have taken ZMA before going to bed.
In addition to the direct sleep benefits, ZMA may also enhance muscle recovery indirectly as more and better sleep is also beneficial for recuperating.
There are certain nutrients that we tend to be deficient of, more so than others. Zinc and magnesium are two of these.
Particularly if you exercise a lot.
You normally lose significant amounts of zinc and magnesium through sweat and urine secretion. As a result, athletes are often deficient in these minerals.
Although this supplement was intended for sportsmen and sportswomen, many men (me included) have noticed improvements in erectile function and sex drive from taking ZMA.
Let’s look at how ZMA can help you get better and stronger erections, and how it may also improve your libido. 😊
How Does ZMA Impact Erectile Dysfunction And Libido?
Scientific research has demonstrated that ZMA can increase your testosterone production. It does this via a number of different pathways, and all ingredients of ZMA (zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6) play a part in supporting testosterone production.
It has also been documented that ZMA can increase the production of nitric oxide, primarily via magnesium and vitamin B6.
ZMA can also increase your dopamine production.
And lastly, ZMA also contains antioxidants through zinc and vitamin B6.
Let’s address these one by one. 🙂
ZMA Can Increase Testosterone Production
Why is testosterone so important?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone in your body. Its job is to control and support anything sexual that happens in you.
It enables you to have a sex drive and to get erections.
Without it, it would be next to impossible to function sexually. With low testosterone, your interest in sex will normally be tepid, and you are likely to struggle with erectile dysfunction.
Therefore, you need a healthy testosterone production in order to have a healthy sex life.
ZMA has in research studies, either via findings on ZMA itself, or its individual components (zink, magnesium and B6), demonstrated an ability to increase testosterone production.
ZMA can increase testosterone through the following pathways:
- Zinc keeps your androgen receptors in shape
- Zinc supports production of thyroid hormone
- Zinc and magnesium can reduce cortisol levels
- Zinc can inhibit the enzymes 5a-reductase and aromatase
- Zinc supports luteinizing hormone production
- Magnesium inhibits SHBG from binding to testosterone
- Vitamin B6 can reduce excess prolactin levels
- Vitamin B6 is necessary for manufacturing of testosterone
Zinc Keeps Your Androgen Receptors In Shape
Research studies (see below) have shown that in order for your androgen receptors (testosterone is an androgen) to work properly, they need zinc. They need zinc for maintenance and in order to operate properly.
If you are zinc deficient, these receptors will normally start to work slower. And if you get severely zinc deficient, research has shown that these receptors may die.
Not only can your androgen receptors die when you are zinc deficient, but the number of estrogen receptors is likely to increase.
And lastly, when you are zinc deficient, some of your testosterone is likely to convert to estrogen.
If you have low testosterone, you are likely to struggle with loss of libido and erectile dysfunction.
Zinc Supports Production Of Thyroid Hormones
What are thyroid hormones?
They are two hormones called thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
These two hormones are essential for proper development and differentiation of all cells in your body, and they regulate how cells use protein, fat, and carbohydrate.
Also, these hormones play a key role in maintaining natural testosterone levels. Research studies (see below) show that low levels of thyroid hormones are associated with low level of testosterone.
Zinc and other trace elements, such as copper and selenium, are required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Therefore, to produce thyroid hormones, you need an appropriate amount of zinc.
Research studies have also indicated that magnesium plays an important part in thyroid hormone production and health.
Should you be deficient in zinc or magnesium, you are likely to have a thyroid hormone imbalance, which in turn is likely to make your testosterone production go down.
Zinc And Magnesium Can Reduce Cortisol Levels
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, your body starts producing stress hormones.
Cortisol is one of the ‘stress hormones’.
This gives you a burst of energy to handle the stressful situation. This is good. 👍
However, if you experience persistent stress, this is not good.
Because if you do, you will most likely have persistent elevated levels of cortisol.
And this will normally make your testicles produce less testosterone.
However, both zinc and magnesium can help reduce this excess cortisol. Because both minerals have in research studies (see below) demonstrated an ability to inhibit cortisol production.
Hence, with less excess cortisol, you will normally have higher testosterone production. Which in turn will normally boost your libido and help you avoid erectile dysfunction.
Zinc Can Inhibit The Enzymes 5a-reductase And Aromatase
5a-reductase and aromatase are enzymes that convert testosterone to something else.
5a-reductase converts testosterone to something called 5a-dihydrotestosterone. And aromatase converts testosterone to estrogen.
Research studies (see below) have demonstrated that zinc is a potent inhibitor of these enzymes.
When zinc inhibits these enzymes, less testosterone is converted (or lost), and hence more testosterone is available for your body to use.
Which in turn should make it easier for you to get erections, and to have a strong sex drive.
Zinc Supports Luteinizing Hormone Production
When your brain decides that it’s time to produce more testosterone, it sets in motion the manufacturing of a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
This hormone then makes a gland in your brain produce another hormone: luteinizing hormone.
Luteinizing hormone then travels with your bloodstream to your testicles.
When in the testicles, it tells a group of cells called Leydig cells to produce testosterone. It is these Leydig cells that do the actual testosterone production in your testicles.
Your Leydig cells are your ‘testosterone factories’.
Zinc has in research studies (see below) demonstrated that it is paramount in order for your body to manufacture luteinizing hormone.
Therefore, with inadequate zinc, you are likely to be deficient in luteinizing hormone, and hence produce insufficient testosterone.
Magnesium Inhibits SHBG From Binding To Testosterone
Only about 3% of the testosterone in your body is ‘free’. And only free testosterone is bioactive and can carry out tasks.
The rest of your testosterone is bound to proteins. One of these proteins is called sex hormone-binding globulin, or SHBG.
These proteins bind to testosterone in order to transport it to somewhere where it is needed, or simply for storage.
Research (see below) have shown that magnesium inhibits SHBG from binding to testosterone.
When this happens, less testosterone is ‘tied up’ and more of it is free and active.
Vitamin B6 Can Reduce Excess Prolactin Levels
As explained above, when your brain has decided that it’s time to make more testosterone, it calls upon a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
This hormone then causes your brain to produce luteinizing hormone.
Luteinizing hormone then instructs the Leydig cells that sit in your testicles, to make testosterone.
Research studies (see below) have shown that if you have excess prolactin in your blood, this will normally cause a reduction in the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
This in turn will normally cause your testicles to produce less testosterone.
But vitamin B6 can reduce this excess prolactin, which in turn should mean more testosterone.
Vitamin B6 Is Necessary For Manufacturing of Testosterone
Research studies (see below) have shown that vitamin B6 is an essential ingredient in order for testosterone to be produced.
We are still not sure exactly why this is so, but..
When test subjects were fed a diet inadequate in vitamin B6, their testosterone levels dropped significantly.
Vitamin B6 probably works as a regulator of the balance between testosterone and estrogen. Therefore, when your vitamin B6 level is off, so too will often your testosterone / estrogen balance.
It is also believed that vitamin B6 is important for testosterone receptor health.
ZMA Can Increase Nitric Oxide Production
First off, what is nitric oxide and why is it so important?
Your blood vessels are built up of several layers on top of each other. Think of a blood vessel as a tube inside a tube inside a tube.
One of these layers is a muscle, called smooth muscle.
When your penis is flaccid, the smooth muscles squeeze the blood vessels in your penis flat.
This forces essentially all the blood out of your penis. Hence your penis will be flaccid.
In order for your penis to become erect, it needs to fill with blood.
And this is where nitric oxide enters the picture.
It is what enables your penis to go from limp to erect.
The inner walls of your blood vessels are lined with cells called endothelial cells. In these cells sit an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase. These enzymes produce nitric oxide.
And when this nitric oxide is produced, it instructs the smooth muscles to relax. And when the smooth muscles relax, they give up the tight squeeze around your blood vessels.
Now the blood vessels open up and blood can flow into your penis.
When your penis is fully filled with blood, you have an erection. 🙂
Without nitric oxide, it would practically be impossible to get an erection
Both magnesium and vitamin B6 have in research studies (see below) demonstrated an ability to improve the production of nitric oxide.
They both do this by improving the endothelial nitric oxide synthase function.
ZMA Can Increase Dopamine Production
First off, why is dopamine so important?
Dopamine is important for two reasons: 1) to have a strong sex drive, and 2) to get erections.
You need a healthy level of dopamine in order to have a strong sex drive.
Let’s say you see an attractive female at the party, and you start having sexual thoughts.
What just just happened? Why did you get these thoughts?
You got these sexual urges because dopamine was produced in your brain. Dopamine was produced in order to motivate you to have sex.
If you hadn’t produced any dopamine, you wouldn’t have had sexual thoughts.
Therefore, a healthy dopamine production is essential in order to have a strong sex drive.
And secondly, dopamine is essential in order for you to get erections.
In order for your penis to get erect, dopamine first needs to be produced in your brain. Then it will send signals down your spinal cord to your penis.
There, these signals will instruct nitric oxide to open up the blood vessels in your penis, so that blood can flow in and produce an erection.
If your dopamine production is low, this signal from your brain to your penis may be weak. And therefore, your erections may be weak as well.
Therefore, dopamine is also paramount in order to get erections.
All the ingredients in ZMA have in research studies (see below) shown that they are important for healthy dopamine production.
Researchers have found that zinc is one of the most important minerals that regulates dopamine.
It does this by regulating dopamine receptors. Therefore, in order for these receptors to work properly, they need zinc.
Studies have also shown that increased zinc levels are correlated with increased dopamine production.
Magnesium is also essential in order for you to have a healthy dopamine production, as it supports the functioning of the dopamine neuron.
In studies, treatment with magnesium has been shown to significantly support dopamine health.
Vitamin B6 is also important for production of dopamine, as it’s one of the ingredients needed in the production process.
Research studies have also shown that in individuals that have excess prolactin levels, administration of vitamin B6 can not only help to normalize the prolactin levels, but also normalize the dopamine levels.
ZMA Has Antioxidant Properties
What are antioxidants and how can they help with sexual functions?
At any given time, you have lots of molecules called free radicals swimming around in your blood. These free radicals are unstable. They are unstable because they have an ‘extra’ (or unpaired) electron orbiting its nucleus.
This extra electron is constantly looking for something to do. And as soon as it sees a good opportunity, it goes for it. 😳
Which means that this electron will react with another electron somewhere in your body.
Many times, these reactions cause damage. Because they often disturb balanced systems and order. They can even cause damage to your DNA.
Here is another problem with free radicals:
They react very easily with your nitric oxide. So if you have lots of free radicals lurking around, chances are that a good amount of your nitric oxide will be ‘eaten up’ by these free radicals.
Which in turn means that it will be more difficult to get and maintain erections.
Antioxidants on the other hand, seek out and destroy free radicals. So when an antioxidant spots a free radical, it rushes over and eliminates it.
Therefore, the more antioxidants you have, the less free radicals you normally have, and the more nitric oxide you normally have.
And as your nitric oxide is better preserved, you will normally find it easier to get erections.
Research (see below) has shown that both zinc and vitamin B6 are antioxidants. Meaning that both of these can extinguish free radicals and therefore preserve your nitric oxide.
Scientific Studies On ZMA’s Effect On Libido And Erectile Dysfunction
Below, you will find all the relevant scientific evidence that exists regarding ZMA and its impact on sexual functions.
Or at least, all the relevant scientific evidence that I am aware of. 🙂
With this information at hand, you can better draw your own conclusions.
You will find a summary of the key findings from these scientific studies. And you will find a link to the studies, should you want to read the actual studies yourself.
I have presented all relevant studies I am aware of, whether they indicated that the effect from ZMA was positive or not.
Let’s look at what the scientists say. And let’s first start with the studies done on ZMA. After this, we will look at studies on the individual components of ZMA.
ZMA Study 1: May 2018
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of ZMA supplementation on serum IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and testosterone concentrations in young athletes.
The study involved 18 men (healthy male amateur American football players aged 18–25) and lasted for 8 weeks. The subjects went through a 90 minute training program twice a week.
Half the men received ZMA daily, the other half did not.
The study concluded that ZMA does not bring any additional benefits, either in the body composition or in the hormonal levels, in subjects under adequate diet.
ZMA Study 2: January 2009
The aim of this study was to investigate whether the administration of the zinc-containing nutritional supplement ZMA, causes an increase of serum testosterone levels.
14 healthy men who already consumed a zinc-sufficient diet were given ZMA daily for 56 days.
The ZMA contained:
- Zinc (30 mg)
- Magnesium (450 mg)
- Vitamin B6 (10.5 mg)
The study found that supplementation of ZMA significantly increased serum zinc and urinary zinc excretion, but no significant changes in serum total and serum free testosterone were observed
The results indicated that ZMA has no significant effects regarding serum testosterone levels and the metabolism of testosterone, in subjects who consume a zinc-sufficient diet.
ZMA Study 3: December 2004
The purpose of this study was to examine whether supplementing with ZMA during training, affects zinc and magnesium status, anabolic and catabolic hormone profiles, and / or training adaptations.
This ZMA formula contained more than just zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. The supplement contained the following ingredients:
- 11 mg vitamin B6
- 450 mg magnesium
- 30 mg zinc
- 10 mg potassium
- 706 mg of a blend of Mucuna Pruriens and Polypodium Vulare / Suma
42 resistance trained males took this supplement prior to going to bed for 8 weeks.
The research found no significant differences between groups in anabolic or catabolic hormone status, body composition, bench press and leg press, upper or lower body muscular endurance, or cycling anaerobic capacity.
The study indicated that ZMA supplementation during training does not appear to enhance training adaptations in resistance trained individuals.
ZMA Study 4: October 2000
The goal of this study was to assess muscle attributes and selected blood hormones of american university football players, in response to a nightly ZMA supplementation.
37 NCAA Division II (U.S. university level) football players took ZMA, or a placebo every night, during 8 weeks.
The ZMA consisted of:
- 30 mg zinc monomethionine, aspartate
- 450 mg magnesium aspartate
- 10.5 mg vitamin B6
The research reported that total testosterone and free testosterone increased by 32% and 33%, respectively for the ZMA group.
The study also reported that the athletes taking the ZMA supplement experienced a muscle strength gain of 11.6%, compared to 4.6% in the placebo group.
It should be noted however, that this study was funded by the intellectual property right holder of the ZMA supplement, and that this study comes with a conflict of interest.
As you see, there is limited research on ZMA, and particularly on ZMA and sexual functions. This makes sense, since ZMA was never intended as a ‘sexual’ supplement.
Therefore, let’s have a look at the research of the individual components of ZMA: Zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6.
The Roles Of Zinc In Your Body
Zinc is one of the most common minerals found in your body, and about 300 different enzymes depend on it in order to do their jobs.
This mineral is essential for proper functioning of taste, smell, vision, hair growth, wound healing, the immune system, DNA synthesis, cellular metabolism, neurological function, and for maintaining reproductive organ health.
Zinc is particularly important for cell division and cell repair, bone growth, and body growth.
When you exercise, your muscles increase in size and strength. But in order for them to do so, they need zinc to make this growth happen.
Zinc is also very important for repairing muscle injuries.
And it is particularly important for maintaining a healthy prostate.
Also, zinc is essential for maintaining thyroid hormone production.
Zinc also has antioxidant properties.
And last but not least, zinc is very important for testosterone production, as zinc is one of the key ingredients for building testosterone.
Several research studies have also shown that zinc is crucial for sperm production and healthy sperm function. Zinc is one of the very important building blocks of sperm, and on average, one load of sperm ejaculate will contain 3-5 mg of zinc.
Giacomo Casanova, the 18th century seduction master, was reported to eat plates after plates of oysters before having sex. He claimed that these oysters were a very potent aphrodisiac which made him lust for women.
Oysters is an unusually rich source of zinc, and it is thought that zinc is the reason for this effect.
Scientific Studies On Zinc’s Impact On Libido And Erectile Dysfunction
In this section, you will find all the relevant scientific evidence that exists about zinc and its impact on ED and sex drive.
Or at least, all the relevant scientific evidence that I am aware of. 🙂
Similarly to the section about ZMA, you find a summary of the key findings from these scientific studies. And you find a link to the studies, should you want to read the actual studies yourself.
I have presented all relevant studies I am aware of, whether they indicated that the effect from zinc was positive or not.
Let’s look at what the scientists say about zinc.
Zinc Study 1: January 2020
The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of zinc and / or selenium supplementation, on the androgen receptor in prostate, and on serum hormone concentrations.
84 male rats were administered zink and / or selenium for 90 days.
Then various measurements were taken.
- Zinc alone leads to an increase in serum testosterone concentrations
- Zinc alone increases the protein expression of androgen receptor in both parts of the prostate
- Combined administration of zinc and selenium eliminates the effect of zinc
Zinc Study 2: February 2017
The aim of this study was to discuss the role of zinc in the pathophysiology and treatment of depression.
In doing so, this study reviewed the existing scientific research on zinc.
- Zinc modulates the dopaminergic receptors. Meaning that zinc controls and supports these dopamine receptors
- An increased dopamine level in the hippocampus of mouse offspring, was observed following prenatal exposure to zinc
Zinc Study 3: September 2013
The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of zinc supplementation on sexual dysfunction, associated with alcohol-induced hepatic cirrhosis
A group of cirrhotic outpatients with impotence and / or hypogonadism were given zinc supplements, or a placebo, for 8 months.
It found that testosterone levels did not change in either group.
The research concluded that zinc does not appear to be an effective treatment for sexual dysfunction, associated with alcohol-induced hepatic cirrhosis.
Zinc Study 4: May 2010
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of zinc supplement therapy on the serum levels of sexual hormones, in hemodialysis male patients.
Hemodialysis is the process of purifying the blood of a person whose kidneys are not working well.
Zinc levels are often significantly lower in the hemodialysis patients, and these patients often also suffer from erectile dysfunction.
100 male patients with end-stage renal disease and on hemodialysis, received 250 mg/day zinc sulfate, for 6 weeks.
- Testosterone increased by 90%
- Luteinizing hormone increased by 325%
- Zinc increased by 43%
- There were no apparent changes in follicle-stimulating hormone or prolactin
The study concluded that zinc can cause an increase in the serum level of sex hormones, which may improve sexual functions.
Zinc Study 5: July 2009
The goal of this study was to assess the effects of different doses of zinc on the sexual competence of male rats.
32 rats were given either 0 mg, 1 mg, 5 mg or 10 mg zinc daily, for two weeks.
The rats were then placed individually in cages with receptive females, and sexual behavior was observed.
- The group of rats supplemented with 1 mg/day did not show a difference from the control group
- Supplementation with 10 mg/day led to a reduction of the libido index, number of mounts and intromissions. The reduction was explained by an increase in prolactin levels in these rats
- Supplementation of 5 mg of zinc/day led to an increase of ejaculatory latency (time from first penetration to ejaculation) by 45%. It also led to an increase in the number of penile thrustings by 99%
- The rats in the 5 mg group experienced an increase in prolactin of 249%, and an increase in testosterone of 344%
The study concluded that Zinc therapy improves sexual competence of male rats, and that the effect is dose dependent.
Zinc Study 6: October 2007
The goal of this study was to determine how exercise affects thyroid hormones and testosterone levels in sedentary men, who received zinc supplements.
10 men who did not exercise regularly, were given 3 mg/kg zinc daily, for 4 weeks.
These men then performed bicycle exercise. Hormone levels were then determined at rest and after bicycle exercise, before and after zinc supplementation.
The results indicate that exercise decreases thyroid hormones and testosterone in sedentary men, and that zinc supplementation prevents this decrease.
It concluded that administration of zinc can be beneficial to performance.
Zinc Study 7: April 2006
The purpose of this study was to investigate how exhaustion exercise affects thyroid hormones and testosterone levels in elite athletes.
10 male wrestlers were supplemented with 3 mg/kg zinc sulfate daily, for 4 weeks.
Thyroid hormone and testosterone levels of all subjects were determined at resting and exhaustion before and after zinc supplementation.
Both resting and exhaustion thyroid hormones, and testosterone levels values after 4-week zinc supplementation, were significantly higher than these levels before the zinc supplementation.
The study concluded that zinc administration may benefit performance.
Zinc Study 8: May 1996
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of marginal zinc deficiency on serum testosterone concentration in men.
40 normal men, aged 20 to 80 years were studied.
The researchers measured serum testosterone before and during marginal zinc deficiency, induced by restricting dietary zinc intake in one group. And before and after zinc supplementation in a group of marginally zinc deficient men.
- Serum testosterone concentrations were significantly correlated with cellular zinc concentrations
- Dietary zinc restriction in normal young men was associated with a significant decrease in serum testosterone concentrations
- Zinc supplementation of marginally zinc-deficient normal elderly men, resulted in a significant increase in serum testosterone
The study concluded that zinc may play an important role in modulating serum testosterone levels in normal men.
Zinc Study 9: April 1996
The objective of this study was to study the effects of zinc deficiency on hepatic androgen metabolism and aromatization, androgen and estrogen receptor binding, and circulating levels of reproductive hormones.
Groups of rats were given either a zinc-deficient diet, or were freely fed or pair-fed (last two groups were control groups).
- There were significantly lower serum concentrations of luteinizing hormone, estradiol and testosterone in rats fed the zinc-deficient diet
- The zinc-deficient rats had a significantly higher level of estrogen receptors
- There was significantly lower level of androgen binding sites in rats fed the zinc-deficient diet
The study concluded that zinc deficiency reduces circulating luteinizing hormone and testosterone concentrations, alters hepatic steroid metabolism, and modifies sex steroid hormone receptor levels, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of male reproductive dysfunction.
Zinc Study 10: October 1995
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic used to treat hypertension, depletes zinc concentrations and thereby causes sexual dysfunction.
22 hypertensive men receiving hydrochlorothiazide were divided in two groups.
One group of the patients were supplemented with 500 mg zinc, daily for 30 days, while the other group was supplemented with 1 g magnesium chloride, daily for 30 days.
A control group of 27 men with normal blood pressure was not given anything.
- Serum zinc was significantly decreased by hydrochlorothiazide
- After zinc supplementation, the serum zinc levels returned to normal in 8 of 11 patients
- After zinc supplementation, there was improvement in the symptoms of sexual dysfunction in 5 of 11 patients
- Hydrochlorothiazide decreased serum zinc levels. Zinc levels were unchanged with magnesium supplementation, but the serum magnesium returned to normal values
The study concluded that low serum zinc levels may be associated with sexual dysfunction, but that the definitive role of zinc in the pathogenesis of sexual dysfunction is controversial.
Zinc Study 11: January 1990
The goal of this study was to determine the acute effect of zinc on cortisol levels.
27 normal individuals of both sexes, aged 20-27 years, participated in the test.
13 individuals received doses of 25, 37.5, or 50 mg zinc, and a control group of 14 individuals received 20 ml saline.
Blood samples were taken over the following 240 minutes.
There was an acute inhibitory effect of zinc on cortisol secretion during the following 240 minutes.
Zinc Study 12: November 1988
The goal of this study was to assess the ability of zinc and azelaic acid to inhibit 5 alpha-reductase in human skin.
5 alpha-reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. If this enzyme converts large amounts of testosterone, you are likely to become testosterone deficient.
This study was done in vitro.
At high concentrations, zinc could completely inhibit the enzyme activity.
Also, vitamin B6 improved the inhibitory effect of zinc.
Zinc Study 13: August 1981
The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of zinc administration on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and sperm count in patients with idiopathic infertility.
37 men were divided in two groups:
- Group 1: Testosterone less than 4.8 ng/ml
- Group 2: Testosterone greater than or equal to 4.8 ng/ml
Both groups were given a zinc supplement.
In the first group, testosterone and dihydrotestosterone rose significantly after administration of zinc, as did the sperm count.
In the second group, testosterone and sperm count were unaffected by zinc, while dihydrotestosterone increased significantly.
The results may indicate that zinc is able to increase testosterone up to a normalized level, but no further.
Zinc Study 14: April 1981
The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of zinc supplementation on serum testosterone level in adult males with sickle cell anemia.
Sickle cell anemia is a disorder in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
One group was given a zinc supplement, and another was not given anything.
The study found an increase in serum testosterone, neutrophil zinc, and neutrophil alkaline phosphatase activity, in the zinc-supplemented group.
Additionally, body weight increased and serum lactic dehydrogenase activity decreased, in response to zinc supplementation.
The researchers concluded that androgen deficiency in adult male subjects with sickle cell anemia is correctable with zinc supplementation.
The Roles Of Magnesium In Your Body
Magnesium is also one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, and similarly to zinc, magnesium is also critical for the proper functioning of more than 300 different enzymes.
These enzymes regulate functions such as protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, normal heart function, nerve impulse transmission, muscle relaxation, bone health, the immune system, blood pressure and energy production.
Magnesium contributes to the structural development of bones, and is required for the synthesis of DNA and RNA.
It also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and healthy function of the cardiovascular system.
Magnesium is important for the body’s detoxification processes, and is therefore essential for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins.
Also, magnesium is a very important nutrient for achieving proper sleep, and magnesium deficiency is a key cause of inadequate sleep duration and quality.
In addition, magnesium is critical for brain development, memory and learning.
Similarly to zinc, magnesium is also essential to prostate health and proper functioning of the prostate.
And lastly, magnesium is paramount for the production of the sex hormones such as androgen and estrogen, as well as neurotransmitters that modulate sex drive, the most prominent being dopamine and epinephrine.
Scientific Studies On Magnesium’s Impact On Libido And ED
In this section, you will find all the relevant scientific evidence that exists about magnesium and its impact on ED and sex drive.
Or at least, all the relevant scientific evidence that I am aware of. 🙂
Similarly to the section above about ZMA and zinc, you also here find a summary of the key findings from these scientific studies. And you find a link to the studies, should you want to read the actual studies yourself.
I have presented all relevant studies I am aware of, whether they indicated that the effect from magnesium was positive or not.
Let’s look at what the scientists say about magnesium.
Magnesium Study 1: November 2019
The goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between magnesium deficiency and Parkinson’s disease.
Groups of mice were administered different magnesium doses, or a placebo, for 4 weeks. In the 3rd week, they were administered a neurotoxin in order to induce Parkinson’s disease.
After the 4 weeks, several measurements were taken.
Treatment with magnesium was shown to significantly attenuate toxin-induced motor deficits and dopamine neuron loss.
Magnesium Study 2: February 2017
The aim of this study was to assess the influence of hypomagnesemia on ED in elderly, chronic kidney disease patients.
Hypomagnesemia is a condition where a person has inadequate magnesium levels.
372 men aged 65-85 years, were divided into two groups: Men with hypomagnesemia, and men with normal magnesium levels.
Then various measurements were taken and the numbers compared.
- Prevalence of ED was higher among hypomagnesemic men (93.3% vs 70.8%)
- Serum magnesium ≤1.85 mg/dL was the best cutoff point for prediction of ED
- Hypomagnesemia decreases nitric oxide levels, and decreases the blood circulation in penis by penile vasoconstriction
- Lack of magnesium affects the production of testosterone
The study concluded that ED is related to hypomagnesemia in elderly patients with moderately to severely reduced kidney function.
Magnesium Study 3: June 2015
The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure, and on nitric oxide synthase inhibition-induced hypertension.
Hypertension was artificially induced in a group of rats through a toxin. This was administered for 6 weeks. One group also received magnesium at the same time.
At the end of 6 weeks, several measurements were taken.
The group of rats that received magnesium experienced:
- Significantly improved blood pressure
- Restored agonist-induced relaxation response of the arteries
Magnesium Study 4: January 2013
The objective of this study was to understand the effect of dietary magnesium on male reproduction.
A group of sexually mature male rats were administered magnesium. Various measurements were taken before and after.
- An increase in serum testosterone level in the rats
- The rats experienced a progressive development in architecture of genital organs
- No significant alteration in quantitative spermatogenesis were observed
- Results were more marked in the groups treated for longer duration
The study concluded that magnesium supplementation has an apparent beneficial effect on the male gonadal system.
Magnesium Study 5: December 2011
The purpose of this study was to analyze the levels of magnesium and anabolic hormones in older men.
This study analyzed blood samples of 399 men aged 65 or above (mean age was 74.18 years).
In a cohort of older men, magnesium levels are strongly and independently associated with testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 1.
Magnesium Study 6: April 2011
The aim of this study was to assess the effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects, at rest and after exhaustion.
Testosterone levels were measured at four different periods:
- Resting before supplementation
- Exhaustion before supplementation
- Resting after supplementation
- Exhaustion after supplementation
Three study groups were followed:
- Group 1: Sedentary controls, supplemented with 10 mg / kg magnesium
- Group 2: Tae kwon do athletes practicing 90-120 min/day, supplemented with 10 mg / kg magnesium
- Group 3: Tae kwon do athletes practicing 90-120 min/day, receiving no magnesium
- Exercise increased testosterone levels relative to sedentary subjects
- Supplementation with magnesium increased free and total testosterone values in sedentary subjects and in athletes
- The increases were higher in those who exercises than in sedentary individuals
Magnesium Study 7: February 2009
The goal with this study was to analyze magnesium’s effect on the binding of SHBG to testosterone.
Magnesium was able to inhibit the binding of SHGB to testosterone, leaving more of the testosterone bioactive.
Magnesium Study 8: July 2002
The objective of this study was to examine the effect of magnesium supplementation in 12 elderly subjects (age range 60-80 years), on sleep and nocturnal hormone secretion.
Magnesium was administered at 10 mmol each day for the first 3 days, then 20 mmol each for the next 3 days, followed by 30 mmol each day for 14 days.
After each interval, sleep data and blood samples were collected.
Cortisol decreased 30% in the first part of the night in the test subjects.
The study concluded that the results suggest that magnesium partially reverses what is called sleep electroencephalogram, and nocturnal neuroendocrine changes occurring during aging.
Magnesium Study 9: June 1992
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary magnesium on strength development in untrained subjects.
26 untrained subjects (18-30 years old) were given magnesium daily, so their total intake was 8 mg/kg. This was continued for 7 weeks.
The subjects then performed exercises 3 times a week.
There was a significant increase in testosterone in the group that was supplemented with magnesium.
The Roles of Vitamin B6 In Your Body
Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is one of 8 B vitamins.
All B vitamins help the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is used to produce energy.
In addition to converting carbohydrates to make energy, vitamin B6 helps the body convert protein into energy.
B vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly.
Similarly to zinc and magnesium, vitamin B6 is important in order for hundreds of enzymes to carry out their functions in your body.
Vitamin B6 is also needed in order for your body to produce hemoglobin, the protein that helps carry oxygen around the body. Hemoglobin also needs vitamin B6 in order to function properly.
In addition, vitamin B6 is essential for gene expression, or the process by which a gene is able to synthesize proteins and other components in order to carry out the code within that gene.
Vitamin B6 is required for proper production of key neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid in the nervous system and the brain.
Vitamin B6 is also one of the most important components used in the process of removing unwanted chemicals from our blood by the liver and kidney.
It is reported to have anti-inflammation properties and to support a healthy immune system.
In addition, vitamin B6 is needed to absorb vitamin B12 and to make hormones, red blood cells and cells of the immune system.
Lastly, vitamin B6 is also crucial for making antibodies, which are needed to fight many diseases.
Scientific Studies On Vitamin B6’s Impact On Libido And ED
In this section, you will find all the relevant scientific evidence that exists about vitamin B6 and its impact on ED and sex drive.
Or at least, all the relevant scientific evidence that I am aware of. 🙂
Similarly to the section above about ZMA, zinc and magnesium, you also here find a summary of the key findings from these scientific studies. And you find a link to the studies, should you want to read the actual studies yourself.
I have presented all relevant studies I am aware of, whether they indicated that the effect from magnesium was positive or not.
Let’s look at what the scientists say about vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 Study 1: May 2016
The goal of this study was to investigate whether hyperhomocysteinaemia is associated with erectile dysfunction, by impairing endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity.
Hyperhomocysteinaemia is a condition of elevated levels of the amino acid homocysteine.
30 male rats were divided in 5 groups and given the following treatment for 30 days:
Group 1: No treatment (control group)
Group 2-4: 1, 4, and 7% methionine (to induce hyperhomocysteinaemia)
Group 5: 4% methionine + folic acid (0.5 mg), vitamin B6 (2.5 mg), and vitamin B12 (50 μg)
- Testosterone, Intercavernous pressure, endothelial nitric oxide synthase and oxidative stress levels were significantly higher in group 5, than in groups 3 and 4
- Rats that developed hyperhomocysteinaemia had significantly weaker erections than the control group.
The study concluded that hyperhomocysteinaemia is a vascular risk factor for erectile dysfunction by impairing cavernosal endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity, and that intake of B vitamins can alleviate this abnormality.
Vitamin B6 Study 2: January 2010
The objective of this study was to investigate the treatment of erectile dysfunction due to gene mutation, with vitamin B6 and folic acid, in patients who did not respond to PDE5i.
75 men were first administered Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) for 2 months. The nonresponders were then treated with a combination of Sildenafil Citrate, vitamin B6, and folic acid for 6 weeks.
After the combination treatment, 88.9% experienced an improvement in erectile dysfunction.
Vitamin B6 Study 3: October 1984
The goal of this study was to assess whether vitamin B6 decreases opioids-induced hyperprolactinemia, and also its impact on growth hormone production.
12 male heroin addicts, with elevated prolactin levels, were administered either 300 mg or 600 mg vitamin B6, for 3 months.
300 mg vitamin B6 had little effect, but 600 mg was able to reduce prolactin levels by almost 50%
The researchers concluded that 600 mg vitamin B6 was able to increase dopaminergic tone inhibited by chronic opioid abuse, and to restore the right dopamine / serotonin ratio.
There was no significant change in growth hormone levels.
Vitamin B6 Study 4: May 1984
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of vitamin B6 on testosterone production.
A group of male rats were maintained for 4 weeks on a vitamin B6-free diet to cause vitamin B6 depletion.
Another group was maintained on a normal diet.
The rats on the vitamin B6-free diet saw a decrease in testosterone levels of 75%, compared to the control group.
These results suggest that vitamin B6 has a function in the action of testosterone (and other steroid hormones), possibly in the recycling of receptors from the nucleus back into the cytosol after initial translocation.
Vitamin B6 Study 5: September 1979
The purpose of this study was to investigate if vitamin B6 inhibits prolactin release, and to compare this effect to that of bromocriptine, a known suppressor of prolactin release.
Excess prolactin will normally reduce testosterone production, which in turn can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Groups of rats were treated with vitamin B6, saline, or bromocriptine 30 min prior to receiving a chemical that induced prolactin rise.
Vitamin B6 significantly suppressed the artificially-induced prolactin rise.
My Experience With ZMA Supplements
- Form: Capsules or tablets
- Dose: 500 mg
- When: 60 – 120 minutes before sex
- Effect on libido: Somewhat
- Effect on erections: Good
- Effect on sensation: Good
- Taste: Neutral
- Verdict: A good supplement that I always include in my combination 👍
- Noticed side-effects: None
But I was still looking for more supplements to try out.
I spent quite a bit of time in online discussion forums about erectile dysfunction. And I found more than one thread about ZMA, often posted by people who took it before going to the gym.
There were stories about spontaneous erections at the gym, as well as significantly stronger erections.
As I did more research on ZMA, I learned that all components of ZMA (zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6) are crucial for functioning well sexually.
That said, ZMA was not designed as a sexual supplement. I was intended for athletes and bodybuilders. 🙂
I bought a package of capsules and took three capsules as recommended.
To me, the ZMA capsules had no taste. One good thing about capsules, is that even if the powder inside the capsules tastes bad, the bad taste is not experienced since the capsule is only dissolved once in the stomach.
Did it have any effect on me?
The effect wasn’t as strong as what I get from some of the herbal supplements, but it was certainly noticeable.
And I have gotten this effect consistently and repeatedly when I have taken it.
And because of the several pathways in which ZMA impacts sexual functions, I now take it every time I take supplements. More about that in a little. 🙂
So what are the effects I get from ZMA?
Sometimes I sense a slight increase in libido. In other words, it gets me somewhat geared up for sex. However this sensation is subtle.
However, the effect on my erections from taking ZMA are really good. Although it’s not as strong as from some of the herbal supplements, my erections get noticeably firmer and fuller.
And my erections tend not to fade away, but last for as long as I want.
In addition, ZMA has also made the pleasurable sensations I get from sex stronger and more intense. Meaning, it amplifies the pleasure from sex.
Let’s say sex can be measured on a scale from 1-10. With ZMA, my experience is a 10.5 or 11. 🙂
I also recall that I occasionally had more vivid and bizarre dreams after taking ZMA. My dreams got more crazy than normal. However, this seemed to happen mostly initially.
ZMA has now become one of my favorite supplements, but I rarely take it by itself anymore.
Through lots of experimenting and trying out combinations of supplements, I have found that ZMA works really well in combination with other supplements.
This may be because ZMA affects sexual functions in several different ways. And because of that, it may have synergistic effects with other supplements.
And what I have learned from this experimentation, is that if I take a base of 3 supplements (including ZMA) + an herbal supplement, the effects are normally really great.
So 4 supplements in total.
The supplements I take as a base are:
In addition to these three, I typically always take either:
- Tongkat Ali (7 grams), or
- Tribulus Terrestris (7 grams), or
- Fenugreek (7 grams), or
- Maca (14 grams), or
- Horny Goat Weed (7 grams)
When taking these supplements together, the effects and experiences I get are amazing.
It makes me noticeably hornier.
My erections are very firm and long lasting. I would say this effect compares to the effect I got in the past when I took pharmaceutical drugs.
And the sensations from sex are taken to a new level. The pleasures are magnified and the orgasms are significantly more intense.
If you want to buy a high quality ZMA supplement, you find it here.
But there is one important ‘thing’ I want to mention:
Even though ZMA can be of amazing help in order to function sexually, taking a pill or a supplement is not the ideal long-term solution.
The ideal long-term solution should be to overcome erectile dysfunction naturally and permanently. You can learn more in this guide.
Safety Of ZMA Supplements
Is it safe to take ZMA in the doses that I have taken? Which is about 0.5 grams.
I don’t know.
I am not a doctor and I don’t know for sure whether this is indeed safe.
However, this is the recommended dose for most ZMA supplements.
I have never experienced any side effects from taking ZMA in these doses.
However, your body may react differently to the supplement than my body does.
Therefore, should you want to try ZMA in the same doses as I have used, you do this 100% at your own risk.