All About Phosphatidic Acid
By Bob Kupnieski
Phosphatidic Acid (PA) is a very new supplement on the market. This supplement is designed to aid recovery, strength, and increase Lean Body Mass. Most everyone is familiar with whey protein, creatine, and branch chain amino acids on the market PA is starting to gain attention. There has been little research on this product, and only a few supplements contain it today. A few that pop into mind are PhosphaMuscle by MuscleTech, King by Cutler, and Micro-PA by Biotest, while others have tried the far cheaper bulk lecithin granules route with varied success.
First of all PA is a product that will enhance mTOR signals in the body to enhance protein synthesis. For those who are familiar with Layne Norton and his MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis) Hypothesis you are very familiar with what I am talking about. Meals spaced 4-6 hours apart, and a bolus of 3-5g of Leucine to help spike Muscle Protein Synthesis levels. The longer span of meals aids the refractory stages of protein. When protein is given ample time to reach its baseline and then be spiked again this is better than more frequent meals (2-3 hours apart). Phosphatidic Acid as we have seen in the little research provided will boost size and strength.
The signaling of mTOR plays a major role in cell regulation for increasing P-Ratio (Protein Ratio) turnover. This is also a very important factor for cell growth and improving muscle growth. To activate muscle growth we must provide a caloric surplus, push amino acids (free forms of protein) into the cells, and put those cells under stressful condition (weight training). By breaking down muscle and allowing for ample nutrition we can create muscle growth. This is the first benefit of PA is strength gains.
mTOR can be activated through exercise and high intensity cardio (HIIT). When working out or doing intervals we will break down muscle fibers that need to be repaired .The benefit of PA is that is can activate mTOR signaling during exercise and trigger the repair of muscles. This is the second benefit the product has to offer which is recovery.
Put recovery and strength gains together and you have a recipe for success. If you want to build muscle you need a caloric surplus, proper recovery and rest. Factor in PA with proper diet and training then you will see LBM gains over time. The intracellular protein synthesis and increase of ATP inside a cell results in muscle gain over time.
Lets look into the research now on PA since this is new to the supplement scene. The two studies I am going to reference both utilized a 750mg dose. MuscleTech had a study done at the University of Tampa in 2014. During this study there was a training-only group, and a placebo group. The subjects were put on a training program that had them weight training 3x a week. With that said how were the results? The results proved a 50% greater increase in muscle cross-sectional area and lean body mass. A 40% increase in strength, a 60% greater loss in body fat than the training-only group. Read that on paper and your eye will flinch. If it does not flinch it may do a double take. Proof is in the pudding as this was a third party tested. Nearly 5.3lbs of muscle added in an 8-week double blind study. With individuals adding upward to 60% increase on their leg press max. When you compare that to the placebo group that is nearly double the muscle mass added.
Another Study was performed in 2012 at the journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The study was to dictate enhanced strength, muscle thickness, lean tissue accruement during an 8-week resistance-training program. 7 individuals were given 750mg of PA, and 9 took 750mg of rice flour (placebo). The other factor was each group took a 36g amino acid collagen protein blend that was mixed in a 500 ml commercial sports drink for post-workout protein ingestion. All individuals in the PA and Placebo group were assessed for the change in their 1RM (one rep max) on bench press and squat. Those 16 men included in the study at the end of the 8-week run the PA Group showed a 12.7% increase in squat strength and 2.6% increase in LBM. Compare that to the Placebo group, which has a 9.3% improvement on squat and .1% change in LBM. If you crunch the numbers after the 8 week training experiment there was a 3.4% increase in squat strength and over 2.5% increase in LBM.
Given the minor research on PA the results are promising. For anyone in the supplement game looking to get an edge this may be your next purchase. After following online reviews and supplement logs the results are demonstrated. Individuals running multiple bottles of PhosphaMuscle have increased their big 3 (deadlift, squat, and bench) by 50 pounds in an 8-week period. The key factor besides the supplement addition of PA is those individuals have proper training program. On top of a good training program the trainees are on a consistent diet meeting a caloric surplus. When you combine proper nutrition and training to supplementation results will be had.