What is Pyruvate?
Pyruvate is a form of pyruvic acid, a substance manufactured by the body that participates in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) ATP is an important biological energy source. Pyruvate can also be found in foods such as red apples, dark beer and red wine
What are the Health Benefits of Pyruvate
Research on pyruvate demonstrates two key benefits to athletes: increased exercise performance and enhanced fat loss. Let’s take a look at just how it works.
Pyruvate & Exercise Performance
Two human studies conducted by premier pyruvate researcher Ronald T. Stanko, MD, from the Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition Division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, found that supplementation with pyruvate along with another three-carbon molecule, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), for seven days significantly increased muscular endurance in both the arms and legs by 20%. More specifically, the pyruvate mixture increased the time it took to exhaust arm muscles by 23 minutes and leg muscles by 13 minutes.
In the world of athletics, a 20% increase in endurance – whether in your workouts or in some type of aerobic competition – is highly significant. This result is supported by a third study that found when subjects ingested the pyruvate/DHA mixture, they noticed a more than 20% decrease in perceived level of exertion, meaning they felt that the task was easier to do.
The dose used in the three endurance studies was either a 100-gram mixture of pyruvate and DHA (25 grams of pyruvate per 75 grams DHA) or 100 grams carbohydrate (placebo) daily for seven days, at which time subjects were tested for endurance, switched to the other diet for seven more days and then retested. “The reason such large doses were used was because we wanted to see a response,” says Stanko, “No one knew at the time that lower dosages were just as effective.”
Since then, published data, as well as more than 1,000 pages of unpublished data produced by a leading United States pharmaceutical company, have revealed that the optimal dose isn’t 100 grams but rather 5 grams a day. Says Stanko, “We see a linear response between 2 and 5 grams a day and then the response plateaus. In other words, the response with 10 or 15 grams or more is the same as with 5 grams.”
Increased Weight/Fat Loss
Following his studies on exercise endurance, Stanko focused on pyruvate’s effects on fat loss. His interest stemmed from the fact that pyruvate had already been shown to reduce fat accumulation in the liver of alcohol-treated animals. In a word, Stanko’s results were phenomenal. Two well-controlled human studies conducted at the Clinical Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that pyruvate had a significant impact not only on weight loss but, more importantly, on fat loss.
The most recent study found that when obese female subjects were given pyruvate for three weeks, they lost 37% more weight (13 pounds vs. 9.5 pounds) and 48% more fat (8.8 pounds vs. 5.9 pounds). In practical terms, this 48% increase in fat loss translated into a loss of nearly an extra pound of body fat a week. These women were quite obese (average weight 244 pounds), were on a liquid diet consisting of only 1,000 calories a day and were ingesting 30 grams of pyruvate daily (the control group consumed an equal amount of carbohydrates). As noted above, subsequent research has determined the maximum effective dose to be 5 grams of pyruvate daily.