If you are battling low testosterone, the good news is there is a myriad of potential solutions to choose from. Now the problem is figuring out which solution is the best for your particular situation. Before you even get to comparing different brands, you have to choose between different types of solutions. 

ZMA products and testosterone boosters are two types of solutions that could work. We take a closer look at the key traits of each, including strengths and drawbacks. 

ZMA: Overview

ZMA stands for zinc magnesium aspartate. A widely used vitamin-mineral supplement among bodybuilders, pro athletes, and fitness buffs, it is made from zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. ZMA is designed to improve testosterone levels, increase muscle mass and enhance athletic performance. Its ingredients have been shown to enhance digestion, metabolism, muscle function, immunity, and agility. 

ZMA products are not a substitute for the tried-and-tested path of robust exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate rest. Rather, they are meant to magnify the testosterone-increasing impact of a positive lifestyle. ZMA products usually come in pill or powder form. They can be used by both men and women.

ZMA: Benefits


  • Increase in free testosterone.

  • Growth of muscle mass and physical strength.

  • Enhanced athletic performance.

  • Supports metabolism.

  • Better digestion.


  • Better quality sleep.

  • Strengthens immunity.

  • Accelerate injury recovery.

  • Used by both men and women.

  • Made from natural ingredients and with a low risk of an adverse reaction if taken in recommended dosages.

  • No prescription is needed.

Testosterone boosters: Overview

Testosterone boosters are a class of health supplements that are formulated to increase free testosterone levels. Initially, they triggered the most interest among bodybuilders and pro athletes looking to speed up muscle growth and increase physical strength. The supplements were deemed a legal, safe alternative to anabolic steroids. Lab-produced testosterone is itself an androgenic, anabolic steroid and is considered a Class III Controlled Substance

Today, testosterone supplements have moved well beyond athlete circles. They are now mostly used by regular people seeking to correct low testosterone problems. Testosterone boosters are available in pill or powder form. They primarily target men though some are suitable for women too.

Testosterone boosters: Benefits


  • Increase in free testosterone.

  • Growth of muscle mass and physical strength.

  • Enhanced athletic performance.

  • Improvement in physical/mental energy.

  • Reduction in extra body fat.


  • Increased sex drive.

  • Stronger erections.

  • Improved mood.

  • Made from natural ingredients with a centuries-long history of everyday use, such as ashwagandha, fenugreek, and Panax ginseng.

  • Low risk of an adverse reaction if taken in recommended dosages.

  • No prescription is needed.

Ingredients of ZMA

ZMA products primarily have three ingredients. The quantity and form of these ingredients will vary from brand to brand. 

  • Zinc

    Usually in the form of zinc oxide, zinc monomethionine, or zinc aspartate. Zinc supports protein synthesis, sexual health, muscle growth, immunity, injury recovery, and sleep quality.

  • Magnesium

    Often as magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, or magnesium aspartate. Magnesium increases testosterone, enhances muscle function, and improves sleep quality.

  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

    Elevates testosterone production, mood, and physical/mental energy.

Some supplement manufacturers will incorporate secondary ingredients into their ZMA products depending on what health outcomes they are aiming for. These secondary ingredients typically include 5-HTP, Tribulus Terrestris herb, valerian root, melatonin, theanine, vitamin B9, and vitamin D3. 

Ingredients of testosterone boosters

Testosterone boosters do not have a standard formulation. The ingredient mix varies from brand to brand. Certain ingredients, however, occur at an above-average frequency in testosterone supplements. Most brands will have a mix of d-aspartic acid, plant extracts, vitamins, and minerals. The more common ingredients of testosterone boosters include:

  • D-aspartic acid

    A ‘super ingredient’ in testosterone supplements, it increases free testosterone, muscle mass, and fat loss.

  • Panax ginseng

    Plant whose root extract enhances free testosterone, dopamine, and sex drive.

  • Ashwagandha

    Herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries; its root extract contains antioxidant compounds that boost free testosterone and fertility.

  • Fenugreek

    Herb with compounds that increase testosterone, libido, physical strength, energy, and mood.

  • Stinging nettle

    Plant whose leaf extract stops sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) from binding onto free testosterone, thereby making it unusable.

  • Boron

    Increases testosterone and suppresses estrogen production.

  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamins K1 and K2

    Improves the absorption of the vitamin D3 component of testosterone supplements.

  • Magnesium

    Increases testosterone and enhances muscle function.

  • Zinc

    Supports protein synthesis, sexual health, muscle growth, immunity, and injury recovery.

  • Vitamin B6

    Elevates testosterone production, mood, and physical/mental energy.

Based on their three core ingredients, ZMA products may be considered a type of testosterone booster.

ZMA: Scientific backing

ZMA products are health supplements and thus classified as food supplements. They are not subject to in-depth scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like medicine is. Therefore, their efficacy has not been tested and proven by the FDA. 

There are no guarantees of increased testosterone, and the research backing it is still not backing this effect beyond a shadow of a doubt. Even when a testosterone lift occurs, it still may be marginal. That said, three primary ingredients in ZMA products are known to have other health benefits, including boosting immunity, sleep quality, and sexual health.

Testosterone boosters: Scientific backing

Like other health supplements, testosterone boosters are classified as food supplements. They do not enjoy the depth of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation that drugs do because they are not drugs. Their efficacy was not tested nor proven by the FDA. There are no guarantees of increased testosterone. Also, the wide variation in ingredient blends and quantities between brands means different products will naturally have varying efficacies. 

Still, testosterone supplement manufacturers choose ingredients that have been shown to have health benefits, even though that may not include proven support for testosterone production. These benefits include muscle mass, sexual health, and improved immunity.

Which one is better?

It depends on your objectives as well as the root cause of the low testosterone state. Testosterone boosters are ideal where low testosterone is caused by aging or where there is a relatively small drop in testosterone levels. ZMA products are a better bet where low testosterone is caused by zinc deficiency. 

However, since testosterone boosters typically have a more diverse ingredient mix, they could be considered as a next-level solution if ZMA products fail to work. Both products may be the preferred path if a medical condition rules out the use of more aggressive, prescription-only treatment options such as testosterone replacement therapy.

Can I use both?

In theory, yes. Because ZMA products and testosterone boosters are both made from natural ingredients, there are unlikely to be adverse effects from using the two products at the same time. 

That said, it is always preferred that you use one product at a time. That way, you can tell which one delivers the desired result and which one doesn’t. Also, because both products have shared ingredients, using them at the same time could mean far exceeding the recommended daily values of the minerals and vitamins. This increases the risk of toxicity.


ZMA products and testosterone boosters are nutritional supplements and have plenty in common. Based on ZMA products' three core ingredients, they may be considered a type of testosterone booster. While both could be used to treat low testosterone, they have some important differences. 

So before you determine which solution is more appropriate for you, talk to a healthcare professional. Irrespective of the supplement type you settle for, run regular blood tests to check for progress in your testosterone levels. Switch to a different supplement type if the one you initially chose doesn’t work out.

About the Author Tim Rockwell

Tim Rockwell is a highly skilled and knowledgeable fitness expert. With a background in exercise science and years of experience in the fitness industry, Tim is passionate about sharing his expertise with others through his writing. He currently contributes articles to Eurasc, where he shares practical tips and strategies for leading a healthy, active lifestyle.

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