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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Pyruvate for Sports & Fitness
Some athletes say that pyruvate helps them lose body fat and also helps boost metabolism and increase endurance.
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.
Three controlled studies of untrained individuals using a combination of 6 to 10 grams per day of pyruvate and an exercise program reported greater effects on weight loss and body fat compared with those taking a placebo with the exercise program.1, 2, 3 However, controlled studies of the effects of pyruvate supplementation on exercise performance have tested only trained athletes, and these athletes did not experience improvements from pyruvate supplementation. Seven grams per day did not improve aerobic exercise performance in cyclists,4 and an average of 15 grams per day did not improve anaerobic performance or body composition in football players.5
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.6
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.
Last Review: 04-22-2015
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