Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Phosphatidic Acid Supplementation Fails to Augment the Benefits of Resistance Training in Trained Young Men

Phosphatidic Acid Powder, Pills or Whatnot - Yet Another Supp You Do Not Need? Or “Possibly” and “Likely” Good for Individuals with a Minimum of 1 Year Gym Experience (3+ workouts/wk) ?
The observation that phosphatidic acid (PA) will promote the expression of the mTORC1 and thus trigger an increase in protein synthesis has created some excitement among supplement junkies. After all, it would seem as if PA could thus be yet another agent on the short list of effective muscle builders ... the problem with the existing research, however, is that it is contradictory. Of the three hitherto published studies by Hoffman et al. (2012); Joy et al. (2014), and Escalante et al. (2016), only one study, i.e. the one by Escalante et al. appears to confirm that PA supplementation will augment the beneficial effects of controlled resistance training in the absence of potentially confounding factors such as the provision of additional supplements in form of leucine, HMB and vitamin D in the study by Joy et al. (2014).
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The lack of and existing conflicts between scientific data was probably also the main reason for Thomas L. Andre et al. to readdress "the effects of eight weeks of resistance training (RT) combined with phosphatidic acid (PA) supplementation at a dose of either 250 mg or 375 mg on body composition and muscle size and strength" (Andre. 2016) in their latest experiment.
Figure 1: Previous studies yielded mixed results (Hoffman, 2016; Joy, 2014; Escalante. 2016).
The study design and results are simply: Twenty-eight resistance-trained men were randomly assigned to ingest 375 mg [PA375 (n = 9)] or 250 mg [PA250 (n = 9)] of PA or 375 mg of placebo [PLC (n = 10)] daily for eight weeks with RT.  Supplements were ingested 60 minutes prior to RT and in the morning on non-RT days.
Figure 2: Relative changes in body composition, strength and muscle size (Andre. 2016).
The comparison of the participants’ body composition, muscle size, and lower-body muscle strength were determined before and after 8 weeks of training two upper- and two lower-extremity workouts per week shows: a significant benefit of PA administration, as the scientists had hoped for, could not be confirmed.

"Likely, unlikely, possibly..."

What was observed, is that doing bench press, lat pull, shoulder press, seated row, shoulder shrug, chest fly, biceps curl, triceps press down, and abdominal curl on two days and a lower-body program with leg press, back extension, step up, leg curl, leg extension, heel raise, and abdominal crunch, on another two training days of the week (four workouts total per week; weeks 1-4 @ 8-12 reps; weeks 5-8 @ 8, 6, 4 reps; max. 2 min rest between sets) will trigger significant increases in muscle mass and size, as well as strength while helping the already trained subjects (at least three workouts per week for more than 12 months) shed marginal amounts of body fat.
Table 1: Magnitude-based inferences between groups for each criterion variable ().
Without the somewhat desperate magnitude-based inferences between groups the scientists conducted for each criterion variable (see Table 1), the study that was financed by an independent research grant awarded to Baylor University from Chemi Nutra, Inc. (Austin, TX) does thus not seem to support the hypothesis that an extra-amount of PA would help athletes build more muscle or strength as you would expect it to happen in response to mTOR elevations.
Phosphatidic Acid Reduces Whey-Induced Acute Protein Synthesis - Rodent Study Appears to Suggest Antagonism Not Synergism Between PA & Whey - What's the Verdict? Find out in this SV Classic and Decide Whether PA is Worth Being Added to Your Supplement Stack.
Bottom line: Yes, if you focus on the right sentence from the abstract it really sounds as if phosphatidic acid was worth a try. After all, the abstract says that "both doses of PA to have a likely impact of increasing body mass (74.2%), lean mass (71.3%), RF CSA (92.2%), and very likely impact on increasing lower-body strength (98.1% beneficial)" (Andre.2016).

The actual inter-group differences, however, are small enough to lack practical relevance and statistical significance. This is why another sentence, namely that the study "demonstrate[s] neither dose of PA supplementation to have a differential effect, compared to each other and placebo, on increasing lean mass, RF CSA, or lower-body strength" (Andre. 2016), is the one you should remember to decide whether you need or don't need yet another "potentially" beneficial supplement in your stack | Comment!
  • Andre, Thomas L., et al. "Eight Weeks of Phosphatidic Acid Supplementation in Conjunction with Resistance Training Does Not Differentially Affect Body Composition and Muscle Strength in Resistance-Trained Men." Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 15 (2016): 532-539.
  • Escalante, Guillermo, et al. "The effects of phosphatidic acid supplementation on strength, body composition, muscular endurance, power, agility, and vertical jump in resistance trained men." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 13.1 (2016): 1.
  • Hoffman, Jay R., et al. "Efficacy of phosphatidic acid ingestion on lean body mass, muscle thickness and strength gains in resistance-trained men." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 9.1 (2012): 1.
  • Joy, Jordan M., et al. "Phosphatidic acid enhances mTOR signaling and resistance exercise induced hypertrophy." Nutrition & metabolism 11.1 (2014): 1.