Calcium / Sodium Pyruvate Review: Does Pyruvate Work for Weight Loss?
Pyruvate (available as either sodium pyruvate or calcium pyruvate), is a “gateway” compound in a process called the “Krebs” cycle. The “Krebs” cycle is the intercellular process in which glucose (sugar derived from carbohydrates), is converted into energy.
This energy takes the form of a chemical called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Since pyruvate is a critical element of this cycle, supplementing with pyruvate, it was surmised, might stimulate “cellular respiration” (the speed of activity in the cell). This may indirectly contribute to weight loss.
Best of all, there is some clinical data to back up pyruvate’s fat-blasting abilities. Several studies suggest that pyruvate, when used in combination with a low calorie diet, increases weight loss (see Am J Clin Nutr 1992;56(4):630-5, Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59(2):423-7). While positive, keep in mind that both of these were relatively small studies.
Other studies (see Nutrition. 2005 Mar;21(3):312-9) were inconclusive — showing that pyruvate did not have a positive effect on either body composition or exercise performance.
OK, so what’s the bottom line here? Will pyruvate really help you lose weight, or stimulate greater performance and/or endurance?
As you just saw, there is some data showing it may be useful for weight loss, but the results were hardly conclusive. Worse still, one of the studies ( Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59(2):423-7) was performed using an outrageous amount of pyruvate — between 22-44 grams of daily.
Since I originally reviewed pyruvate, it has come down in price significantly — making it a little more affordable to supplement with — even at such huge dosage levels. For example, BodyBuilding.com sells the Now brand Pyruvate for just over $10.
Each capsule contains 2,000 mg of pyruvate and there are 90 caps per serving. You’d probably want to take a minimum of 15 caps per day, so that you are right in the middle of the dosage level found helpful in the study referenced above. One bottle therefore, would last you 6 days — meaning of course, that you require 5 bottles for a month’s supply. So you’re looking at slightly over $50 to experiment for a month.
Keep in mind however, that the results for pyruvate, although positive, were not earth shattering. That means that on a dollar-for-dollar basis, there are much better weight loss supplements to spend your money on (the product I recommend the most, Isatori’s Lean System 7 — reviewed here — costs much less and comes with a money-back guarantee).
That also means that you’re unlikely to experience any positive results taking the daily allowances recommended by supplement manufacturers. And any product that only contains a few milligrams of pyruvate on the label? Forget it… it’s only there as “label dressing.”