Phosphatidic Acid (PA)
The way most supplements work is pretty complicated. Phosphatidic acid (PA), on the other hand, is easy to understand:
- mTOR is a kinase enzyme that regulates the growth of muscle. Basically, MTOR is the "master regulator" of muscle cell protein synthesis.
- PA, in conjunction with lifting weights, activates mTOR.
- If you take additional PA in the form of a supplement, you activate more mTOR and get stronger and grow more muscle.
The Latest Study
This supplement is also pretty easy to study in the laboratory. One of the more recent studies involved 28 weightlifters who undertook an 8-week periodized lifting program consisting of two weekly hypertrophy workouts and one weekly strength-training workout.
The scientists took before-and-after DEXA scans and circumference measurements of the rectus femoris. They also tested one-repetition (1RM) max strength before and after. Then, they split the group into two. One group got 750 mg. of PA a day while the second group got an identical-looking placebo consisting of plain old white flour.
Here's what happened after 8 weeks:
- The PA group showed a much larger increase in lean body mass than the control group (2.4 kg vs. 1.2 kg). In others words, the PA group gained twice as much muscle.
- The PA group increased the size of their thighs by much more than the control group (1.01 cm² vs. 0.61 cm²).
- The PA group could leg press a lot more weight than the control group (52.0 kg vs. 32.5 kg).
- Additionally, the DEXA scan showed that the phosphatidic acid group lost a lot more fat than the control group (-1.3kg vs. -0.5kg).
It's recommended that phosphatidic acid, sold as Micro-PA® – a highly specialized form of unsaturated phosphatidic acid with enhanced bioavailability – be taken one hour before weight training.
- Joy, Lowery, Dudeck, et al, "Phosphatidic acid supplementation increases skeletal muscle hypertrophy and strength." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 201310(Suppl 1):P13
- DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-S1-P13, 6 December 2013