ZMA vs HMB: Which Supplement Should Bodybuilders Choose?

ZMA and HMB are two popular and widely used dietary supplements for bodybuilders. This article discusses the benefits of HMB and ZMA for bodybuilders, providing readers with an overview to help them make the most informed decisions for their needs.

What is HMB, and What are Its Main Benefits for Bodybuilders?

This video is about benefits of HMB and how to use it to enhance your performance, let's explore:

HMB, or beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine, crucial in protein synthesis and muscle recovery.

While the human body naturally produces HMB in small amounts, around 0.2 - 0.4 grams per day, many people use HMB supplements to maximize their benefits.

Easy to use, HMB offers numerous benefits:

  • Limits muscle loss: HMB prevents the activities of genes and enzymes that promote protein breakdown, thereby limiting muscle loss [11].
  • Muscle development: HMB supports muscle mass increase and strength development and improves workout performance.
  • Reduces inflammation and aids in fat loss: HMB can help reduce inflammation and support fat loss in the body [2].
  • Enhances the body's adaptation to exercise, making workout routines more effective [2].
  • Improves muscle strength and body functions, particularly in older adults [1].

What is ZMA, and What are Its Main Benefits for Bodybuilders?

ZMA is a short for Zinc Magnesium Aspartate

ZMA, short for Zinc Magnesium Aspartate, is a joint dietary supplement combining zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin B6. Athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts use ZMA to enhance workout performance and muscle development.

ZMA provides several benefits for bodybuilders:

  • Muscle growth [4].
  • Immune system enhancement: Zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin B6 are crucial in maintaining immune health [4].
  • Supports natural testosterone production, thereby aiding muscle growth [4].

What Differences Between ZMA vs HMB?

Both ZMA and HMB have their benefits and strengths. The table below will help us have a more comprehensive view of the difference between ZMA and HMB.

Criteria ZMA HMB
Effective Ingredients Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B61 (Hydroxymethylbutyrate) is a substance that your body produces naturally when it breaks down the amino acid leucine.
Effective Claims Boost muscle growth, strength, improve endurance, and recovery. May aid muscle growth, reduce muscle breakdown, improve endurance, and exercise recovery.
Decrease Body Fat Yes [6] Yes
Decrease Protein Breakdown X Reduce muscle breakdown
Improve Cardiovascular Endurance Not found Yes [7]
Improve Cognitive Ability Not found Yes
Improve Immune Function Yes Yes [5]
Improve Mood X Yes, combined with arginine, and glutamine [9]
Improve Muscular Endurance Yes Yes
Improve Recovery May improve recovery  May improve recovery
Improve Sports Performance X Yes [8]
Increase Muscle Mass Increase muscle mass Increase muscle mass
Increase Protein Synthesis X Enhance protein synthesis
Increase Testosterone Support increase Testosterone X
Lower Blood Pressure X Yes [10]
Reduce Muscle Damage X Reduce muscle damage

The comparison table of ZMA and HMB

ZMA vs HMB: Which Supplement Is Better?

choosing between HMB vs ZMA

Both ZMA and HMB play crucial roles for bodybuilders.

HMB is believed to support reducing muscle breakdown, preserving muscle, and enhancing recovery, especially for beginners undergoing high-intensity training.

According to a study, 34 men supplemented with 3g of HMB daily and strength training for 9 weeks showed significant improvements in muscle strength [11].

On the other hand, ZMA primarily benefits by supplementing essential minerals and vitamins, thus promoting overall health and optimizing endocrine health.

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts commonly use ZMA to support recovery and maintain optimal hormone levels.

Combining zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 is vital for muscle recovery and function.

However, HMB might be a better choice for those aiming to minimize muscle loss during physically demanding times or calorie deficits.

The benefits of HMB for bodybuilders are increasingly researched and clearer. Regardless of the chosen product, combining it with a balanced diet and a well-structured workout plan is essential.


ZMA and HMB offer positive benefits to people who want to participate in bodybuilding activities, such as bodybuilders.

HMB is effective in reducing muscle breakdown, preserving muscle mass, and supporting recovery, which makes HMB is especially beneficial for those who are strengthening their muscles or starting their education process.

On the other hand, ZMA will provide essential minerals and vitamins for overall health, support muscle recovery, and optimize hormones.

The effectiveness of these functional products may vary, depending on individual factors such as diet, exercise, and education habits of each person.


[1]. Courel-Ibáñez, Javier, et al. “Health Benefits of β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation in Addition to Physical Exercise in Older Adults: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 9, 3 Sept. 2019, p. 2082,
[2]. Portal, Shawn, et al. “The Effect of HMB Supplementation on Body Composition, Fitness, Hormonal and Inflammatory Mediators in Elite Adolescent Volleyball Players: A Prospective Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study.” European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 111, no. 9, 16 Feb. 2011, pp. 2261–2269,,
[3]. ---. “Effect of Training on Zinc Metabolism: Changes in Serum and Sweat Zinc Concentrations in Sportsmen.” Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, vol. 42, no. 5, 1998, pp. 274–282, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020
[4]. Wilborn, Colin D, et al. “Effects of Zinc Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA) Supplementation on Training Adaptations and Markers of Anabolism and Catabolism.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, vol. 1, no. 2, Dec. 2004,,
[5]. Nissen, Steven L., and Naji N. Abumrad. “Nutritional Role of the Leucine Metabolite β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB).” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, vol. 8, no. 6, June 1997, pp. 300–311,, Accessed 21 Nov. 2019.
[6]. Eduardo, C., Marcos Corrêa Junior, Capita, S., & Hugo Tourinho Filho. (2021, March 30). ZMA supplementation does not impact IGF-IGFBPs system or body composition of young athletes. ResearchGate; unknown.
[7]. Nissen, S., et al. “β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation in Humans Is Safe and May Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors.” The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 130, no. 8, 1 Aug. 2000, pp. 1937–1945, Accessed 19 Aug. 2019.
[8]. Fernández-Landa, Julen, et al. “Effect of the Combination of Creatine Monohydrate plus HMB Supplementation on Sports Performance, Body Composition, Markers of Muscle Damage and Hormone Status: A Systematic Review.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 10, 20 Oct. 2019, p. 2528,
[9]. Rathmacher, JA, et al. “Supplementation with a Combination of Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB), Arginine, and Glutamine Is Safe and Could Improve Hematological Parameters.” Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, vol. 28, no. 2, Mar. 2004, pp. 65–75, Accessed 19 Aug. 2019.
[10]. Wilson, Gabriel J, et al. “Effects of Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB) on Exercise Performance and Body Composition across Varying Levels of Age, Sex, and Training Experience: A Review.” Nutrition & Metabolism, vol. 5, no. 1, 3 Jan. 2008,
[11]. Portal, S., et al. “Effect of HMB Supplementation on Body Composition, Fitness, Hormonal Profile and Muscle Damage Indices.” Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 7, Jan. 2010,
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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