Phosphatidic Acid Hype or Help

Let’s face it, the times are changing in the fitness and nutrition industry. Broscience, pseudoscience, and anecdotal lore are giving way to the white lab coats and data driven decisions.

So to search for new, effective supplements, we should turn to the scientists.

Related: Are BCAAs Effective? See What the Science Says

The mammalian target of rapamyocin (mTOR) is what all skeletal muscle scientists dream about. Why? It’s one of the key components of turning training into lean muscle tissue. If we boil it down to the basics, mTOR activation = muscle growth* and there is a newer supplement being utilized because it is a known activator of mTOR.

*Yes, this is a vast oversimplification but it is generally the right picture.

 

PHOSPHATIDIC ACID

Phosphatidic Acid, which we will lovingly call PA for this article, is one cool molecule. It does a lot of really important things in the body, but the one I care about is that it is a well-known activator of mTOR. This means PA has some serious potential for aiding in muscle growth.

PA is actually a type of lipid (aka fat) that is often derived from lecithin (which is also used to make other supplements like phosphatidylserine).

One of the important aspects of PA as a supplement is it is actually really well absorbed. When you take it, it actually shows up in your blood. The same can’t be said for a lot of supplements1.

 

THE RESEARCH ON PHOSPHATIDIC ACID

Anytime you start looking at new supplements, you can actually use muscle cells, grow them in a lab, and give them the supplement and see how they respond. One of the first studies done on PA showed that giving muscle cells did increase the “grow” signal for muscles.2