Pyruvate is produced in the human body during sports activities and any kind of physical stress in which the muscles are working. Since pyruvate is also involved in cellular respiration and other important biological processes in our body, it can be described as an important biological molecule. Besides the term pyruvate, the synonym “salt of pyruvic acid” is also used.
Pyruvate is understood to be a molecule with three carbon atoms, which also has two so-called functional groups. These groups are atoms that are responsible for the characteristics of the molecule. The two functional groups are called ketone and carboxyl group.
In the body, pyruvate is created by splitting carbohydrates or breaking them down into their individual parts and then introducing them into the citric acid cycle, which is used to produce energy. However, the body can also produce energy directly from pyruvate and thus skip a step of energy production. Pyruvate also has the advantage that it cannot be so easily converted into fat.
Effect as a supplement
Pyruvate is also used as a dietary supplement in weight training and endurance sports, where it is intended to promote muscle building and positively influence endurance. Pyruvate is supposed to increase the glycogen level in the muscle cells and thus increase strength and endurance while reducing appetite. Pyruvate is also said to accelerate the energy supply and to ensure that more fat and less carbohydrates are burned in the muscle cells.
In addition, pyruvate ensures that glucose and proteins reach the muscle cells more quickly, which also has a positive effect on muscle growth. So far, many studies have been conducted on the effect of pyruvate as a supplement. It has been proven that pyruvate has a positive effect on athletic performance and also helps to lose weight.
The supply of energy is optimized and thus the intake of pyruvate as a supplement can lead to significant increases in muscular endurance. A study has shown that when supplemented with 25 grams of pyruvate daily, endurance of the upper and lower extremities could be increased by up to 20 percent. At the same time, pyruvate ensures a higher transport of glucose from the blood into the muscle cells and thus ensures the supply of energy for a longer period of time.
This effect also affects the athlete’s endurance performance. For athletes who want to lose weight, pyruvate has also shown significant success and has led to a reduction in weight through improved fat burning. In combination with a low-energy diet, supplementation with pyruvate can lead to weight loss.
This was shown in a study in which 20 grams of pyruvate were supplemented daily for three weeks. The weight loss is characterized to a large extent by a loss of fat mass. However, the exact mechanism behind this has not yet been sufficiently investigated.
One assumption is that pyruvate leads to an increase in energy demand. However, since less carbohydrates are available in the body due to the low-energy diet, the body resorts to the burning of fat as an energy source and thus reduces body fat. Pyruvate was also attributed a better body feeling by the study participants, who felt better and fitter after supplementation with pyruvate. However, there are also studies that disagree about the positive effects of pyruvate as a dietary supplement, as these studies often refer to overweight people who have had little or no exercise.