Pyruvate for Weight Control
Also known as: Pyruvic Acid
What is it?
Pyruvate (the buffered form of pyruvic acid) is a product created in the body during the
metabolism of carbohydrates and protein.
Where is it found?
Pyruvate is formed in the body as a byproduct of the normal metabolism of carbohydrates and
protein and is present in several foods, including red apples,
cheese, dark beer, and red wine. Dietary supplements of pyruvate are also available.
Why do dieters use it?*
Some dieters say that pyruvate
- helps boost metabolism.
- helps them lose inches.
- helps improve energy levels.
What do the advocates say?*
Pyruvate appears to promote weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate. There is good
research based on human studies showing that pyruvate helps to promote weight loss in
overweight people on low-fat diets.
Although pyruvate promotes weight loss, which is good for heart health, it is important to
monitor cholesterol levels as it may reduce HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
How much is usually taken by dieters?
Pyruvate, a compound that occurs naturally in the body, might aid weight-loss
efforts.1 A controlled trial found that pyruvate supplements (22 to 44 grams per
day) enhanced weight loss and resulted in a greater reduction of body fat in overweight adults
consuming a low-fat diet.2 Three controlled trials combining 6 to 10 grams per day
of pyruvate with an exercise program reported greater effects on weight loss and body fat than
that seen with a placebo plus the exercise program.3 4 5
Animal studies suggest that pyruvate supplementation leads to weight loss by increasing the
resting metabolic rate.6
Are there any side effects or interactions?
High intakes of pyruvate can trigger
gastrointestinal upset, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. One preliminary study in exercising women
found 10 grams per day of pyruvate reduced blood levels of HDL (the “good”
cholesterol) after one month.7
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions
*Dieters and weight-management advocates may claim benefits for
pyruvate based on their personal or professional experience. These are individual opinions and
testimonials that may or may not be supported by controlled clinical studies or published
scientific articles on pyruvate. For more complete and detailed information, including
references and safety information, see Pyruvate as
a nutritional supplement.
1. Stanko RT, Tietze DL, Arch JE. Body composition, energy utilization,
and nitrogen metabolism with a 4.25-MJ/d low-energy diet supplemented with pyruvate. Am J
Clin Nutr 1992;56:630–5.
2. Stanko RT, Reynolds HR, Hoyson R, et al. Pyruvate supplementation of a
low-cholesterol, low-fat diet: Effects on plasma lipid concentration and body composition in
hyperlipidemic patients. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:423–7.
3. Kalman D, Colker CM, Wilets I, et al. The effects of pyruvate
supplementation on body composition in overweight individuals. Nutrition
4. Kalman D, Colker CM, Stark S, et al. Effect of pyruvate
supplementation on body composition and mood. Curr Ther Res
5. Kreider R, Koh P, Ferreira M, et al. Effects of pyruvate
supplementation during training on body composition & metabolic responses to exercise.
Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998;30:S62 [abstract].
6. Ivy JL, Cortez MY, Chandler RM, et al. Effects of pyruvate on the
metabolism and insulin resistance of obese Zucker rats. Am J Clin Nutr
7. Koh P, Kreider R, Ferreira M, et al. Effects of pyruvate
supplementation during training on hematologic and metabolic profiles. Med Sci Sports
Exerc 1998;30:S155 [abstract].