Pyruvate supplement benefit by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 14 2014


Pyruvate is a three-carbon ketoacid produced in the end stages of glycolysis (breakdown of sugar). It can be reduced to lactate in the cytoplasm of a cell or changed to acetyl CoA in the mitochondrion. Simply, pyruvate is a product of sugar metabolism.

  There have been claims that calcium pyruvate supplements help with weight loss or enhance physical endurance, however there is not enough research to confirm these claims. A rodent study indicates that supplementation may help with the stress response. Much more research is needed before we know in which situations or medical condition this supplement could be useful. This nutrient is normally sold as a supplement in the form of calcium pyruvate.

buy Calcium Pyruvate 1000mg - Now Foods

Some fitness enthusiasts are using pyruvate supplement in their training regimen. This natural combination of calcium and pyruvic acid produces a highly stable element called pyruvate salt.
 

Supplement Info:
Calcium Pyruvate 1.0 gram  per capsule
 



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Benefits
As of 2014 I could not find recent or substantial amounts of clinical trials with this product.

Blood sugar and diabetes
Diabetes Metab J. October 2013. Regulation of Muscle Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex in Insulin Resistance: Effects of Exercise and Dichloroacetate. Since the mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) controls the rate of carbohydrate oxidation, impairment of PDC activity mediated by high-fat intake has been advocated as a causative factor for the skeletal muscle insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and the onset of type 2 diabetes (T2D). There are also situations where muscle insulin resistance can occur independently from high-fat dietary intake such as sepsis, inflammation, or drug administration though they all may share the same underlying mechanism, i.e., via activation of forkhead box family of transcription factors, and to a lower extent via peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. The main feature of T2D is a chronic elevation in blood glucose levels. Chronic systemic hyperglycaemia is toxic and can lead to cellular dysfunction that may become irreversible over time due to deterioration of the pericyte cell's ability to provide vascular stability and control to endothelial proliferation. Therefore, it may not be surprising that T2D's complications are mainly macrovascular and microvascular related, i.e., neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy, coronary artery, and peripheral vascular diseases. However, life style intervention such as exercise, which is the most potent physiological activator of muscle PDC, along with pharmacological intervention such as administration of dichloroacetate or L-carnitine can prove to be viable strategies for treating muscle insulin resistance in obesity and T2D as they can potentially restore whole body glucose disposal.

Calcium pyruvate and athletic performance
Several studies indicate pyruvate does not improve aerobic performance in well-trained athletes.

Effects of oral creatine- pyruvate supplementation in cycling performance.
Int J Sports Med. 2003.
A double-blind study was performed to evaluate the effects of oral creatine- pyruvate administration on exercise performance in well-trained cyclists. Endurance and intermittent sprint performance were evaluated before (pretest) and after (posttest) one week of creatine- pyruvate intake or placebo. It is concluded that one week of creatine- pyruvate supplementation at a rate of 7 g x d -1 does not beneficially impact on either endurance capacity or intermittent sprint performance in cyclists.


Calcium pyruvate and weight loss
Does taking a calcium pyruvate supplement lead to
weight loss? A few studies have been done with some positive results. In one study, the ingestion of 6 g of pyruvate for 6 weeks, in conjunction with mild physical activity, resulted in a decrease in body weight and fat mass. High doses of pyruvate, such as 20 to 40 gm a day, have been shown in some studies to lead to weight loss.

Review
Even if
calcium pyruvate ingestion leads to weight loss, the required doses are too high, expensive, and impractical to consume or a regular basis. At this point I am not in a position to recommend its use either for weight loss or for athletic performance. It appears that pyruvate is not helpful for athletes. Based on my knowledge thus far, a calcium pyruvate supplement may be a waste of money. If additional research finds it helpful for weight loss or exercise performance, then I will change my position. However, pyruvate supplements may have antioxidant potential.

Other Weight Loss options to consider
Little research is available on the role of a calcium pyruvate supplement in weight loss, however, the following supplements may be more reliable in suppressing appetite.
5-HTP is a nutrient that helps curb appetite in some individuals. 5HTP, by converting into serotonin, can be used temporarily to improve will power and decrease the urge to eat until more established weight loss habits are in place.
Acetyl l Carnitine is another option.
Hoodia is a cactus plant extract from the Kalahari desert in South Africa that has been getting a lot of attention lately.
Lipoic acid is mostly used by those with diabetes for blood sugar control
Green tea extract has some appetite suppressing properties.

Calcium pyruvate side effects
Only minor calcium pyruvate side effects have been reported thus far such as gastrointestinal symptoms including bloating and nausea.

Research
Effects of calcium pyruvate supplementation during training on body composition, exercise capacity, and metabolic responses to exercise.
Nutrition. 2005. Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Medical School, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
We evaluated the effects of calcium pyruvate supplementation during training on body composition and metabolic responses to exercise. Twenty-three untrained females were matched and assigned to ingest in a double blind and randomized manner either 5 g of calcium pyruvate or a placebo (PL) twice daily for 30 d while participating in a supervised exercise program. No significant differences were observed between groups in energy intake or training volume. No significant differences were observed between groups in maximal exercise responses or metabolic responses to submaximal walking: Results indicate that calcium pyruvate supplementation during training does not significantly affect body composition or exercise performance and may negatively affect some blood lipid levels.

Exogenous pyruvate supplement prevents stress-evoked suppression of mitogen-stimulated proliferation.
Brain Behav Immun. 2004. Departments of Neuroscience and Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
To test the hypothesis that energetic shortages compromise immunity, we evaluated the effectiveness of pyruvate supplement, to prevent stress-evoked suppression of mitogen-stimulated splenocyte proliferation. Male C57BL/6 mice were subjected to 2h of restraint once daily for 14 days. Consistent with previous studies, mitogen-stimulated splenocyte proliferation was reduced after restraint; in contrast, mice that received pyruvate injections immediately following each episode of restraint did not reduce splenocyte proliferation. In addition, restraint-evoked corticosterone elevation did not habituate in animals treated with pyruvate supplement, suggesting that glucocorticoids are not exclusively immunosuppressive. The ratio of pyruvate to lactate, an index of aerobic metabolism, was elevated in mice exposed to restraint suggesting that mice exposed to restraint were preferentially using aerobic metabolism and producing more ATP per unit of pyruvate than non-restrained mice. Furthermore, two of the effective doses (0.5 and 500.0mg/kg) altered glucose levels suggesting a metabolic function of the supplement. These results support the hypothesis that stress-evoked immunosuppression may be a function of metabolic energy shortages and can be prevented via pyruvate supplementation.

Pyruvate-enhanced cardioprotection during surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass.
J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2003.
To determine whether pyruvate -fortified cardioplegia solution provides cardioprotection superior to lactate-based cardioplegia solutions in patients undergoing elective coronary revascularization, with specific attention to post-surgical recovery of left ventricular performance as well as biochemical markers of ischemic injury. Pyruvate -fortified cardioplegia mitigated myocardial injury during coronary artery bypass surgery and facilitated postsurgical recovery of cardiac performance. Thus, pyruvate -enhanced cardioplegia may provide cardioprotection superior to lactate-based solutions during surgical cardiac arrest.

Pyruvate ingestion for 7 days does not improve aerobic performance in well-trained individuals.
J Appl Physiol. 2000.
The purposes of the present studies were to test the hypotheses that lower dosages of oral pyruvate ingestion would increase blood pyruvate concentration and that the ingestion of a commonly recommended dosage of pyruvate (7 g) for 7 days would enhance performance during intense aerobic exercise in well-trained individuals. Nine recreationally active subjects (8 women, 1 man) consumed 7, 15, and 25 g of pyruvate and were monitored for a 4-h period to determine whether blood metabolites were altered. Pyruvate consumption failed to significantly elevate blood pyruvate, and it had no effect on indexes of carbohydrate (blood glucose, lactate) or lipid metabolism (blood glycerol, plasma free fatty acids). As a follow-up, we administered 7 g/day of either placebo or pyruvate, for a 1-wk period to seven, well-trained male cyclists (maximal oxygen consumption, in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial. Subjects cycled at 74-80% of their maximal oxygen consumption until exhaustion. There was no difference in performance times between the two trials (placebo, 91 +/- 9 min; pyruvate, 88 +/- 8 min). Measured blood parameters (insulin, peptide C, glucose, lactate, glycerol, free fatty acids) were also unaffected. Our results indicate that oral pyruvate supplementation does not increase blood pyruvate content and does not enhance performance during intense exercise in well-trained cyclists.

Effects of in-season (5 weeks) creatine and pyruvate supplementation on anaerobic performance and body composition in American football players.
Int J Sport Nutr. 1999.
The purpose of this investigation was to study the efficacy of two dietary supplements on measures of body mass, body composition, and performance in 42 American football players. Group 1 received creatine monohydrate, Group 2 received calcium pyruvate, Group 3 received a combination of calcium pyruvate (60%) and creatine (40%), and Group PL received a placebo. Tests were performed before (T1) and after (T2) the 50 week supplementation period, during which the subjects continued their normal training schedules. Compared to Pyruvate and PL, CM and creatine - pyruvate showed significantly greater increases for body mass, lean body mass, 1 repetition maximum (RM) bench press, combined 1 RM squat and bench press, and static vertical jump power output. Peak rate of force development for SVJ was significantly greater for CM compared to Pyruvate and PL. Creatine and the combination supplement enhanced training adaptations associated with body mass/composition, maximum strength, and SVJ; however, pyruvate supplementation alone was ineffective.

The effects of pyruvate supplementation on body composition in overweight individuals.
Peak Wellness, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830, USA.
Nutrition. 1999.
A 6-wk, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was done to ascertain the effects of pyruvate supplementation (6 g/d) on body weight, body composition, and vigor and fatigue levels in healthy overweight Caucasian men and women. Twenty-six individuals were randomly assigned to a placebo group (seven men, seven women) and a pyruvate -supplemented group (three men, nine women). In addition, all subjects participated in a 3 d/wk exercise program, which consisted of a 45-60 min aerobic/anaerobic routine. After 6 wk of treatment, there was a statistically significant decrease in body weight and percent body fat (23.0% pre versus 20.3% 6 wk post) in the pyruvate group. Furthermore, Profile of Mood States fatigue and vigor scores improved significantly for the pyruvate group (P<0.05) at 6 wk (vigor) and 4 and 6 wk (fatigue). There was no significant change in total lean body mass in the pyruvate group. The placebo group demonstrated a significant increase for POMS vigor at 2 and 4 wk with no changes occurring in any of the remaining parameters measured. Thus, the ingestion of 6 g of pyruvate for 6 wk, in conjunction with mild physical activity, resulted in a significant decrease in body weight and fat mass.

Pyruvate supplementation of a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet: effects on plasma lipid concentrations and body composition in hyperlipidemic patients.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1994.
The effects of the three-carbon compound pyruvate on plasma lipid concentrations and body composition were evaluated in hyperlipidemic patients consuming a low-cholesterol (165-180 mg), low-fat (22-24% of energy; 18-20% of energy as saturated fatty acid) diet. After consuming the above diet for 4 wk, during which time plasma lipid concentrations decreased, 34 subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 22-44 g pyruvate (n = 17) or 18-35 g polyglucose (placebo, Polycose, n = 17), iso-energetically substituted for a portion of carbohydrate energy for 6 wk. Despite greater weight and fat losses with pyruvate, plasma concentrations of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride were not different between the two groups of subjects. We conclude that subsequent to diet-induced reduction in plasma lipid concentrations, pyruvate supplementation of a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet providing 6.7-7.6 MJ/d for 6 wk has no effect on plasma lipid concentrations but enhances body weight and fat losses. Pyruvate kinase.

Sodium Pyruvate Info
Anti-inflammatory activity of sodium pyruvate--a physiological antioxidant.
Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2000.
The anti-inflammatory activity of sodium pyruvate was evaluated in acute and chronic models of inflammation in rats. Oral administration of sodium pyruvate at three different dose levels of 125, 250 and 500 mg/kg body weight significantly inhibited the carrageenan induced acute paw edema in a dose dependent manner. The effect of 500 mg/kg sodium pyruvate was comparable to that of 12.5 mg/kg of standard diclofence. To conclude, sodium pyruvate exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity in both the models of inflammation which could be attributed to its antioxidant properties.


Emails
Q. I see it sold as calcium pyruvate or sodium. Is there a difference?
   A. Practically speaking there should not be much of a difference between the two.

Testimonial
I enjoy your website and use it often as one of the good sources for info on supplements. After reading yourarticle I just wanted to share my experience with it. I've recovered from some health problems, and my doctor has helped with correcting a few deficiencies. I take a good multivitamin-mineral formula, extra Vitamin C and D, and omega oils. coq10 makes me jumpy so I take it once a week or so. But still have fluctuating energy levels and have gained some weight, so Pyruvate sounded like a good supplement to try. I've been on it for a few days now, taking a 750 mg tablet with two or three meals a day. So far, I have noticed that my energy level is getting steadier and my appetite is stronger. This may be related to the 'stress response' you mentioned -- it's possible that it is helping me to get back to normal energy levels. I am still sleeping normally. I plan to stick with it for a while.

 

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