In this edition of What Readers Want to Known I'll answer questions about ZMA supplements & whey/casein shakes at bedtime and appetite control! Learn more right here.
[ Q ] I see the directions for ZMA supplements mention, "Avoid taking with dairy products or other calcium-containing foods for best results" and "Preferably on an empty stomach". I've recently been in the habit of having a whey/casein shake about an hour before bedtime, which is also when the ZMA directions say you should take your ZMA capsules.
Since whey/casein contains calcium and my stomach wouldn't be empty it seems like taking the ZMA capsules and having a shake before bed would be counterproductive. Would you have a recommendation for a way around this?
I've been reading that having a shake before bed is a good way to 'feed your muscles' while you sleep, but I've also heard a lot of good things about ZMA, so I'm trying to get in on the benefits of both but it based on the ZMA directions it seems like I'd be better off doing on or the other. Thanks!
[ A ] This is a very common question as people want to get the benefits of ZMA but they also want to eat before they go to bed to ensure an optimal hormonal environment while they sleep. The best way to go about your evening ritual that I have found is the following:
- 30 minutes before you go to bed take your ZMA on an empty stomach.
- Right before you go to bed have a casein rich protein shake along with some fats.
Good choices for fats are peanut butter, walnuts, or almonds. In regards to the protein shake, it doesn't have to be pure casein but you want a casein dominant blend (e.g. casein is listed before any other protein sources).
By taking the ZMA 30 minutes before the shake you give the mineral a "headstart" over the protein and fats so it can get into your system first. This will help prevent absorption competition between any other minerals and the ZMA. The calcium in the shake (if there is any) is negligible so you don't have to worry about it.
This is also a good sequence if you wanted to add cottage cheese as well. Cottage cheese will have higher calcium levels but by spacing out your "ritual" as I described the calcium won't affect the absorption of the zinc or magnesium.
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The casein protein will digest slowly during the night allowing for your blood amino acid levels to stay elevated longer (compared to if you had a pure whey shake). The fats (and fiber if you choose nuts) will further slow the rate in which the protein and amino acids leave your stomach and are digested.
This allows for an even slower leak of amino acids into your system throughout the night. If you do happened to wake up during the night have 5-10grams of BCAA's as this will cause a spike in blood amino acid levels and kick start protein synthesis again.
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Best Time To Take ZMA.
"Before I start, I just want to make sure that right before bed is the absolute best time to take my 3 daily capsules of ZMA as opposed to spreading out the dosage or anything like that. Also, I assume I should take the 3 capsules daily, not just on days I work out. Any suggestions?"
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[ Q ] I was wondering if you have any suggestions regarding appetite control.
[ A ] Definitely. The quickest way to increase your level of satiety is to eat more fruits and vegetables (I know it is almost too easy).
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Research shows that when you increase your fruit and vegetable consumption at the expense of more calorically dense foods (e.g. refined grain, and high fat snacks) you will consume less calories and report being just as full.
This is partly due to the fact that your stomach has stretch receptors in it and when you pack your stomach full of foods like spinach, broccoli, and apples your stomach gets stretched and signals your body that you are full even though you may not have eaten a lot of calories.
Another strategy that you can use it to take a soluble fiber supplement (2-3 grams) 20 minutes before your meal.
Soluble fibers like glucomannan, beta-glucan or pectin turn gelatinous in your stomach. This will slow the rate in which food leaves your stomach, thus increasing your level of fullness.
These soluble fibers can also support blood glucose control. If you don't want to supplement with a fiber, eating an apple before a meal has been show to aid in appetite control and weight loss.
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