As an athlete you’re always researching new and innovative ways to improve your performance and take your fitness to the next tier. Studies have shown that phosphatidic acid could in fact play a crucial role in the muscle building process, helping you achieve greater gains in muscle and strength through the activation of a certain protein kinase and pathway called mTOR.
Phosphatidic acid is a phospholipid or compound fatty acid, formed with two fatty acids, and a phosphate group, covalently bonded to a glycerol molecule. Phosphatidic acid is a precursor to the production of other fatty acids, acting as a signaling lipid, and is a major component of cell membranes. Recent findings have shown a link between phosphatidic acid and muscle protein synthesis through a protein kinase, and critical regulator of muscle protein synthesis, known as the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Researchers believe that phosphatidic acid plays a critical role in mTOR signaling helping facilitate muscle protein synthesis.
Since phosphatidic acid plays a role in mTOR signaling pathway, researchers believe that it could have an effect on body composition. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of phosphatidic acid as an anabolic supplement is equivocal, due to the small number of studies. An analysis published in the journal of Sports Sciences found six studies that fit the search criteria. From these studies three of them suggested no effect on lean body mass, while the remaining three showed potential positive effect on performance and body composition [R].
Some research suggests that phosphatidic acid may improve strength and muscle gain. An eight-week study conducted at Hofstra University assigned 15 strength trained male participants to either a placebo group or a group that consumed 750mg of phosphatidic acid. All participants experienced significant improvements in each measure of muscle size and strength. Results suggest that phosphatidic acid supplementation in combination with resistance training was no different than placebo in combination with resistance training [R].
A double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial conducted at Baylor University examined the effects of eight weeks of resistance training in combination with either a placebo or phosphatidic acid on 28 male participants. Similar results were seen in all groups with an increase in strength and muscle mass [R].
Potentially, the combination of resistance training with exogenous phosphatidic supplementation could further stimulate an up-regulation of mTOR, thereby augmenting increases muscle protein synthesis. Studies show that phosphatidic acid in combination with other dietary supplements could aid in performance, however the current research is rather equivocal. More research is needed to determine whether phosphatidic acid can provide significant ergogenic benefits and be used as an effective supplement.
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