Pyruvate

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Pyruvate is an energy intermediate in cells, derived from both glucose and fatty acids to produce ATP. Despite this importance, human studies are not overly promising and the high doses needed are sometimes limited by intestinal side-effects.

Pyruvate is most often used for

Summary

Pyruvate is a 3-carbon energy intermediate produced in cells from glucose, en route to creating ATP (the main energy currency of working cells). Pyruvate supplementation has been proposed to enhance work output and weight loss by providing more efficient energy that bypasses the ability of the body to store glucose as body fat.

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.

Dosage information

Most studies on pyruvate substituted dietary carbohydrates for pyruvate as pyruvate itself does contain calories. The dose used in studies showing most fat loss is in the range of 20-50g daily, or replacing 10-20% of caloric intake (initially from carbohydrates) with supplemental pyruvate.

The lowest effective range noted in the aforementioned studies is replacing 6-12g of carbohydrates with pyruvate, but even then the results seen with pyruvate are variable and lacklustre enough to warrant caution in buying this supplement.

Join our supplement information course

Enter your email for a FREE five-day course on supplements. Get only the information that’s 100% backed by science. We take an independent and unbiased approach to figure out what works (and what’s a waste of time and money).

Examine is the only 100% independent company in the nutrition and supplement industry. While everyone else sells supplements and works with sponsors, we exclusively analyze research.

    The only 100% independent company. While everyone sells supplements, we only analyze research.

    Examine Database: Pyruvate
    What works and what doesn't?

    Unlock the full potential of Examine

    Get started

    Don't miss out on the latest research

    Become an Examine Insider for FREE to stay on top of the latest nutrition research, supplement myths, and more

      References
      2.^Stanko RT, Robertson RJ, Spina RJ, Reilly JJ Jr, Greenawalt KD, Goss FLEnhancement of arm exercise endurance capacity with dihydroxyacetone and pyruvateJ Appl Physiol.(1990 Jan)
      3.^Egras AM, Hamilton WR, Lenz TL, Monaghan MSAn evidence-based review of fat modifying supplemental weight loss productsJ Obes.(2011)
      8.^Koh-Banerjee PK, Ferreira MP, Greenwood M, Bowden RG, Cowan PN, Almada AL, Kreider RBEffects of calcium pyruvate supplementation during training on body composition, exercise capacity, and metabolic responses to exerciseNutrition.(2005 Mar)
      9.^Kalman D, Colker CM, Wilets I, Roufs JB, Antonio JThe effects of pyruvate supplementation on body composition in overweight individualsNutrition.(1999 May)
      11.^Stanko RT, Robertson RJ, Galbreath RW, Reilly JJ Jr, Greenawalt KD, Goss FLEnhanced leg exercise endurance with a high-carbohydrate diet and dihydroxyacetone and pyruvateJ Appl Physiol.(1990 Nov)
      12.^Robertson RJ, Stanko RT, Goss FL, Spina RJ, Reilly JJ, Greenawalt KDBlood glucose extraction as a mediator of perceived exertion during prolonged exerciseEur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol.(1990)