Pyruvate is a substance that is made by the body when it metabolizes sugar (glucose). Your body makes all of the pyruvate that it needs, but you can also consume pyruvate in food such as an apple (450 mg) or beer and red wine (75 mg). Some people also take a pyruvate supplement to gain certain health and body benefits.
The body produces pyruvate when it breaks down sugar (glucose). Pyruvate is available as a supplement.
Pyruvate is used for weight loss and obesity, high cholesterol, cataracts, cancer, and improving athletic performance.
Pyruvate is used topically for scaly, flaky skin.
Pyruvate’s mechanism of action in weight loss is unknown. One proposal is based on the reversible conversion of pyruvate to phosphoenolpyruvate, another glucose metabolite. This may be a “futile cycle” where the reaction runs forward and backward, continuously expending energy.5 This theory is supported by the greater heat production and energy expenditure found in animal studies.
One limited study demonstrated a small effect on body composition when test subjects consumed 6 grams of pyruvate for six weeks and participated in a program of mild physical activity.
However, a literature review conducted in 2014 concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the use of pyruvate supplements for weight loss. The authors also note that there is not enough information about the safety of the supplements.
According to the National Institutes of Health, even though pyruvate supplements claim to help boost fat and calorie metabolism, few high-quality studies have been able to support these benefits.
Studies in humans with pyvuate supplementation show promise at high dosages when pyruvate replaces dietary carbohydrates.
Pyruvate has a lacklustre pharmacodynamic profile, and is not well absorbed. Some studies fail to note increases in blood pyruvate or muscle pyruvate in response to supplementation due to its inability to be absorbed and utilized well. Low doses of pyruvate (3-5g) tend to return null results rather than positive results in healthy persons.
Due to its poor absorption, high dose pyruvate is known to cause stomach distress and loose stools in dosages exceeding 15g.
Only a few studies have examined the effects of pyruvate supplementation in humans. Although some of these studies suggest that pyruvate decreases body weight and body fat, others do not. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 26 overweight men and women (BMI ≥25) were given 6 g/day pyruvate or placebo for 6 weeks . All participants received counseling to follow a 2,000 kcal/day diet and completed 45–60 minutes of circuit training three times per week. At the end of the trial, the pyruvate group had significant decreases in body weight (mean loss of 1.2 kg), body fat, and percent body fat compared to baseline but no significant changes in lean body mass. In the placebo group, these measurements did not change significantly compared to baseline.
Pyruvate is a dietary supplement that is marketed to sedentary, active, and athletic adults. The most popular claims centre about its purported ability to:
- “significantly” increase fat and weight loss;
- improve exercise endurance capacity;
- effectively reduce cholesterol, and;
- serve as a potent antioxidant.
However, these contentions are based mainly on faulty extrapolations of preliminary or inconclusive evidence.
Pyruvate , also called dihydroxyacetone pyruvate (DHAP), supplies the body with pyruvic acid, a natural compound that plays important roles in the manufacture and use of energy. Pyruvate supplements have become popular with bodybuilders and other athletes based on slim evidence that pyruvate can improve body composition. 49-52 However, at the present time, the evidence regarding pyruvate as an ergogenic aid is weak and contradictory at best. 53-56 One study failed to find that pyruvate supplements improved body composition or exercise performance; furthermore, pyruvate appeared to negate the beneficial effect of exercise on cholesterol profile . 152
Both pyruvate and dihydroxyacetone appear to be quite safe, aside from mild side effects, such as occasional stomach upset and diarrhea. Very weak evidence (too weak to get very concerned about) hints that pyruvate supplements might adversely affect cholesterol profile by negating the positive effects of exercise on HDL (“good” cholesterol).
Supplement manufacturers package pyruvate as the bulk powder or as 500 mg capsules, sometimes adding 10 mg DHA. Being anionic, pyruvate is compounded with a variety of cations, usually sodium or calcium. Newer “enhanced” pyruvate products include other supplements like creatine, carnitine, or chromium.
Providers recommend taking 1-5 g pyruvate daily, usually broken into 2-3 doses. Pyruvate can be added to flavored drinks, either by breaking the capsules or using bulk powder.