Pyruvate

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

The subject of much controversy — research suggests that while pyruvate may be effective for weight loss, the amount required is too high for daily consumption. That is until a recent study concluded its effectiveness at much lower amounts. While the debate for the “optimal” amounts of pyruvate for weight loss and increased athletic endurance has yet to be put to rest, one thing is for sure: pyruvate is bound to resurface as a popular supplement once again as a result of this new research.

Other names for Pyruvate

pyruvic acid

Where to find Pyruvate

Pyruvate can be found naturally, albeit in small amounts, in certain fruits and vegetables, cheese, dark beer, and red wine. For an example, a red apple contains about 450 mg.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Pyruvate

A number of active people are interested in pyruvate for its potential to help boost both resting metabolic rate and improve our bodies’ use of fuel — both ATP and blood sugar. It has been shown in research to help boost fat loss by helping raise metabolism and enhance endurance by improving our ability to use fat as fuel. But the research continues regarding how much is enough for those beneficial effects — ranging from as little as 6 grams a day to an unrealistic 30 grams a day. Which amount will work? Find out…

Ways that Pyruvate can enhance Fat Loss:
  • Increase resting metabolic rate (the rate at which our bodies burn calories), stimulating fat loss
Ways that Pyruvate can enhance Energy & Endurance:
  • Improve the transport of blood sugar into muscle tissue to enhance energy reserves
  • Enhance exercise endurance capacity and stamina by increasing available fuel to muscle cells

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Pyruvate deficiency

No deficiency conditions are known to exist.

Potential uses for Pyruvate

Research indicates that Pyruvate may be useful in the treatment of:

  • Obesity
  • Herpes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

DISCUSSION

More about Pyruvate

Although pyruvate’s “15 minutes of fame” seems to have passed, it may resurface again in the athletic community as a promising weight-loss aid and endurance enhancer. Pyruvate is the “end” product when carbohydrates and proteins are metabolized in the body. Even though we do ingest small amounts of pyruvate from food, research is suggesting that supplementation may be beneficial for individuals wishing to lose weight — to reduce fat, improve muscle tone, or increase exercise endurance capacity.

How it works for weight loss

Pyruvate’s benefits appear to be the result of its potential to increase resting metabolic rate. More loosely stated, there is an increase in the use of fat as an energy source, thus raising our metabolic rate, and the higher our resting metabolism, the more calories we burn throughout the day — even when we’re lying on the couch or sitting at the computer (as in now).

What the research reveals

Just in: In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study, over the course of a six-week trial, pyruvate significantly decreased not only bodyweight but bodyfat we well. Results were significant compared to the control and placebo groups, as the pyruvate group lost an average of 12% bodyfat (4.8 lbs of fat), while gaining 3.4 lbs of lean mass. This study also indicated resting metabolic rate increased by an average of 2.2% in the pyruvate group.

The reason for this significance is that past studies using pyruvate for weight loss used amounts upwards of 30 grams a day, which normally caused gastrointestinal issues (i.e., upset stomach). Now, in this recent study, the subjects who lost bodyfat used only six grams of pyruvate a day. This is good news for those wishing to use pyruvate for fat loss — and not wishing for stomach discomfort nor wanting to spend a load of money to achieve the desired effects.

Performance benefits

Our muscles use blood sugar for fuel — like a car, without fuel, your muscles simply can’t go. Well, pyruvate may improve the transport of blood sugar directly into muscle tissues for immediate energy use. It is also believed pyruvate may encourage the body to release ATP (adenosine triphosphate) — our energy factory. Thus, muscles may be able to work longer and harder. One study, in fact, showed that endurance was increased by 20% in the people supplementing with pyruvate.

The simple truth

While the debate for the “optimal” amounts of pyruvate for weight loss and increased athletic endurance have yet to be settled, one thing is certain — pyruvate is bound to resurface as a popular supplement once again as a result of this newly conducted research substantiating its effects at lower amounts. Although researchers are still investigating which form — sodium or calcium — is best, there is no question there will be more research to follow… and we’ll be sure to keep you posted. At least as to how beneficial this supplement could be for fat loss.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

There are still many questions regarding “optimal” amounts of pyruvate to achieve effects, but much of the research for weight loss initially used 30 grams daily. However, recent research suggests as little as six grams per day may be beneficial for fat loss and athletic endurance.

Timing

Pyruvate works best when taken prior to exercise or before a meal.

Synergists of Pyruvate

No synergists have been noted.

Safety of Pyruvate

Some people experience stomach upset with extremely high amounts (over 25 grams).

If you are pregnant or lactating, pyruvate is not recommended.

Toxicity of Pyruvate

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Ivy, J.L., “Effect of Pyruvate and Dihydroxyacetone on Metabolism and Aerobic Endurance Capacity,” Med Sci Sports Exerc 30.6 (1998) : 837-43.
  • Kalman, D., et al., “The Effects of Pyruvate Supplementation on Body Composition in Overweight Individuals,” Nutrition 15.5 (1999) : 337-40.
  • Morrison, M.A., et al., “Pyruvate Ingestion for 7 Days Does Not Improve Aerobic Performance in Well-Trained Individuals,” J Appl Physiol 89.2 (2000) : 549-56.
  • Stanko, R.T., et al., “Enhancement of Arm Exercise Endurance Capacity with Dihydroxyacetone and Pyruvate,” J Appl Physiol 68.1 (1990) : 119-24.
  • Stanko, R.T., et al., “Pyruvate Supplementation of a Low-Cholesterol, Low-Fat Diet: Effects on Plasma Lipid Concentrations and Body Composition in Hyperlipidemic Patients,” Am J Clin Nutr 59.2 (1994) : 423-7.
  • Sukala, W.R., “Pyruvate: Beyond the Marketing Hype,” Int J Sport Nutr 8.3 (1998) : 241-9.