In order to gain strength and lean mass, athletes frequently use supplements to help achieve their goals. Most everyone is familiar with the likes of whey protein, branched chain amino acids, and creatine, but one lesser-known supplement that is starting to gain notoriety is phosphatidic acid (PA). The theory is that PA enhances the anabolic effects of resistance training. A recent study examined if oral PA administration enhanced strength, muscle thickness, and lean tissue gain during an 8-week resistance program.
There were 16 men included in the study, of which 7 were randomly assigned to a group that consumed 750 mg of PA, and 9 were assigned to a placebo group that took 750 mg of rice flour. The timing of supplementation was not controlled, and each subject was provided a 36 gram amino acid collagen protein blend that was mixed in a 500 ml commercial sports drink for post workout protein ingestion.1
Each subject was tested prior to and after 8 weeks of supplementation. In the testing session the participant’s 1-rep max for the squat and bench press were determined. The testing sessions were also used to measure body composition. Muscle thickness was measured in the vastus lateralis (quadricep) of the dominant leg of each participant. The resistance training routine was the same for each participant – a 4-day per week split routine, which required each exercise to be performed with 70% of 1-rep max for all exercises.2
The results of the study showed that those who supplemented PA during the 8-week period experienced a 12.7% increase in squat strength, and a 2.6% increase in lean body mass. Those who received the placebo showed a 9.3% improvement in squat strength and a 0.1% change in lean body mass.3
It appears the combination of resistance training and PA supplementation can in fact increase strength and significantly improve lean mass gain. This is the first study to examine the efficacy of PA on enhancing strength and muscle growth. This particular study indicated that daily supplementation of 750 mg PA is effective at increasing lower body strength and lean body mass.
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