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Old 12-18-2008, 07:01 AM   #1
Scott Kustes
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Default ZMA - Magnesium Stearate

So here's a question for the geniuses. All ZMA that I've found contains magnesium stearate as a filler (it's an industrial lubricant). From the little research I've done, it appears to be somewhat toxic. First, any idea if it's anything to be concerned with?

Second, would making my own ZMA by just finding a pure source of zinc and magnesium work just as well? Which chelated form is best? I've read picolinate is best, but ZMA is aspartate...thoughts?

I suppose the final question is how necessary is a ZMA supplement if one is eating plenty of meat and green leafies?
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:58 AM   #2
Allen Yeh
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I've never thought about the stearate thing. Hm, just did a quick looking around and it seems even reputable companies have it in their ZMA and Mg products, I'd like some clarification here too.

In the past I have tried taking just a Zinc and Mg supp together and didn't really think it was helping any so I stopped, recently (since coming the the PM boards) I've made ZMA a staple and sold on the results. Whether it's because I didn't need it back then or because I was trianing differently I'm not sure.

You can always do the Zinc tally test that Poliquin recommends?
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:44 AM   #3
Garrett Smith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Kustes View Post
So here's a question for the geniuses. All ZMA that I've found contains magnesium stearate as a filler (it's an industrial lubricant). From the little research I've done, it appears to be somewhat toxic. First, any idea if it's anything to be concerned with?
I haven't personally done much research into this area. Here's an interesting point from NOW Foods, the supplement manufacturer that makes Protocol for Life Balance brand as well (my ZMA of choice):
Quote:
Most people concerned about the tiny amount of stearic acid in a capsule actually consume far more from healthy food sources, safely. Meat, coconut oil and chocolate (cocoa butter) are particularly rich sources. Additionally, researchers do not consider stearic acid to be a lipid that is harmful to cardiovascular health.
...
Stearic acid is naturally present in many foods in far greater quantities than in supplements. Stearic acid is also the immediate precursor of oleic acid, an important fatty acid found in healthy olive oil.
...
This science assures us that stearic acid is a safe fatty acid found in healthy foods and that magnesium stearate is a safe analog of stearic acid. NOW uses them only as necessary for the functionality of a particular dietary supplement, in tiny amounts (often less than one milligram, per capsule) compared to the amount of stearates found in common foods
.
FWIW. I'd consider this a very "small thing", in regards to your recent blog post...

Quote:
Second, would making my own ZMA by just finding a pure source of zinc and magnesium work just as well? Which chelated form is best? I've read picolinate is best, but ZMA is aspartate...thoughts?
Yes, it would likely work just as well. I'd suggest a mixture of chelates for both the zinc and magnesium.

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I suppose the final question is how necessary is a ZMA supplement if one is eating plenty of meat and green leafies?
Try going with and without it for a while. If you sleep better, notice less tension, your performance improves, or you cramp less while you are on it, those are pretty good signs you could use the extra zinc and magnesium. For men, we can always use that "early morning sign" of testosterone as a good gauge as well. Since you are athletic, you likely need more minerals anyway.

If I don't get my supplemental Mg I'm cramping in the quads by the 2nd or 3rd day. Not fun, so I make sure to take it regularly.
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:40 AM   #4
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Kinda what I figured as well Dr. G. A friend mentioned it today and I've gathered that he's kind of overly alarmist. I.e., medicine is always bad, etc. I think I'll not put too much concern on this issue.

So why do you choose the Protocol for Life ZMA?
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:50 AM   #5
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I mainly like the extra adaptogens - eleuthero, tribulus, and tongkat.

I will say that I haven't personally compared it to other ZMAs directly, though.

I sleep so much better when I take it. I also take the Kid's Natural Calm in the AM, another combo of zinc and magnesium.
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:54 PM   #6
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Hi Scott!

After Paleo eating for a number of years, I found that I was still quite Zn and Mg deficient.

I've been doing a loading period, and feel far better now than I have in a long time. I think that even the best soils are pretty depleted these days, and if one is training hard you simply cannot get enough nutrients. Sadly.
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Old 12-18-2008, 01:11 PM   #7
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Scott,
One thing I forgot to mention is that I've casually observed that my pain patients that are nightshade-sensitive almost always react positively to supplemental magnesium.
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Smith View Post
I mainly like the extra adaptogens - eleuthero, tribulus, and tongkat.

I will say that I haven't personally compared it to other ZMAs directly, though.

I sleep so much better when I take it. I also take the Kid's Natural Calm in the AM, another combo of zinc and magnesium.
Dr. G,

You really need to spell these things out for us...why kids calm over natural calm?

We need an updated supplements thread like the one you posted a while back about what's been working and what hasn't...
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Old 12-18-2008, 03:11 PM   #9
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Kid's Calm has zinc and a little vit. C added, a little less magnesium than "regular" Natural Calm--basically a weak ZMA.

I could care less about the "Kids" label.

My current supplement regimen is pretty haphazard, as I've been getting a lot of samples and self-testing them first. I've also cut my regular daily supps to every-other-day to reduce the $$ burden as well.
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Old 12-19-2008, 06:20 AM   #10
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A bit more info on his concerns over magnesium stearate. He read an article that it often comes from hydrogenated palm oil. According to that NOW article, they use unhydrogenated sources. I also assured him that the <1mg of mag. stearate, even if from hydrogenated oils, is about 0.009 calories...the body won't even bat an eye at that. Not going to be concerned with it at all.

Thanks for the info Dr. G. Why would nightshade sensitivity and magnesium go hand-in-hand?

Scotty, you live! Good info and I appreciate it. Given the lack of concern over the filler now, I'm just going to keep taking ZMA as I have been. For $10/month (if taken daily, which I usually don't), it's a pretty cheap insurance policy.
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