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.26
Pyruvate, also known as pyruvic acid, is an organic molecule that appears to consist of a 3-carbon backbone. As you may notice, organic chemists do not usually include all the Cs of the carbon atom; the space on the line implies to a carbon. It is important for a molecule to contain three carbon atoms. In order to remember the number of carbon atoms in pyruvate, you can memorize this rhyme, “Mary eats prunes, bananas, and pears.” From 1 to 5 carbons, the organic names are methane, ethane, propane, butane, and pentane.
Additionally, pyruvate is composed of 2 functional groups. A functional group is simply defined as a group of atoms that play an important role for the reactions and characteristic properties of the molecule. Firstly, we have a ketone, and the carboxylate group is on the top. Because of the presence of these two groups, pyruvate is considered to be a keto acid.
The formation of Pyruvate
According to the book “Biochemistry” which was written by Dr. Shawn Farrell and Dr. Mary Campbell, during the process of glycolysis, which means “sugar slitting”, our body forms pyruvate. Glycolysis is the process where our cells begin the process of burning glucose and other forms of sugar to be used as energy. In this process, each glucose molecule splits into 2 pyruvate molecules and generates a very little amount of energy. However, it is possible to furtherly break down pyruvate in order to produce more energy.
Pyruvate as a building block
Our body can build glucose from pyruvate through a process known as gluconeogenesis, which means production of new glucose. You can observe that glucose contains 6 carbon atoms, and as mentioned earlier, pyruvate has 3 carbon atoms, and this is really important. The reason behin this is that 2 pyruvate molecules will join together to provide the backbone for glucose (3 + 3 = 6). On the off chance that your body has decreased amount of glucose, pyruvate can be utilized to produce more. Amazing, isn’t it?
Amino acids are important in our body since these are the ones that make protein. Alanine is known to be one of the twenty essential amino acids. Pyruvate has the ability to directly synthesize alanine and indirectly synthesize other amino acids. Furthermore, pyruvate is also involved in the synthesis of fatty acids and lipids through the secretion of a molecule known as acetyl-CoA, or acetyl-coenzyme A.
What benefits does Pyruvate provide?
Improves athletic performance: Early research studies show that increasing the intake of dihydroxyacetone and pyruvate as a dietary substance for a week could enhance a person’s exercise endurance. On the other hand, numerous studies show that taking pyruvate in combination with creatine or alone via oral administration for up to five weeks, does not enhance athletic performance.
Fight against skin aging: It has been proven by many studies that applying a 50 percent of pyruvic acid skin peel once a week for about 4 weeks could help smoothen skin, decrease dark spots (due to prolonged sun exposure), and decrease wrinkles associated with aging.
Treats alcohol-related liver disease: Recent studies show that administering sodium pyruvate via intravenous administration (by IV) for twenty-five days could help enhance liver function in individuals who are suffering from alcohol-related liver disease.
Congestive heart failure (CHF): Recent studies suggest that administering pyruvate via injection into the vein that delivers blood into the heart could reduce the symptoms associated with heart disease and improve heart function.
Long term lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD): Early research studies demonstrate that inhaling sodium pyruvate by using a nebulizer for about six weeks could help improve lung function in individuals who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Obesity and weight loss: Studies nowadays show that pyruvate could help increase weight loss and reduce the amount of body fat. However, there are no enough evidence are a lot are needed in order to prove this claim.
Coronary artery bypass graft surgery or CABG: Some studies show that combining pyruvate into a solution that is used to stop the heart during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery helps improve recovery and can decrease the complications associated with surgery.
Ichthyosis (flaky, scaly skin): Ichthyosis is commonly seen in patients who have hypothyroidism (insufficient function of the thyroid gland). Recent studies show that topically applying a Eucerin skin cream that contains about 5 percent pyruvate for a minimum of 2 weeks could help increase skin shredding in individuals who have flaky, scaly skin.
Is it safe? What are the side effect of Pyruvate?
Pyruvate was known to be safe when administered orally or inhaled using a nebulizer for a minimum of 6 weeks. Some of the side effects associated with the use of pyruvate include bloating, gas, stomach ache, and diarrhea. These symptoms can occur following the intake of high amounts of pyruvate.
Pyruvic acid facial peels are known to be safe when applied by a qualified medical professional. However, some of its known side effects are serious such as skin burning, so it is highly suggested that it should be applied only to small patches of skin.
Heart condition known as cardiomyopathy: A child who has cardiomyopathy died after an intravenous administration of pyruvate.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There are no enough evidence to prove the safety of pyruvate when taken by pregnant or breast-feeding women. It is always better to stay on the safe side and consult your physician first before deciding to administer this type of supplement when you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS: Some studies show that taking excessive amounts of pyruvate via oral administration could worsen the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Diarrhea: Taking high doses of pyruvate could worsen diarrhea.
How much should you need to take?
Some human studies about weight loss and pyruvate have used as much as 44 grams of pyruvate. However, one study shows that a dose of 6 grams a day combined with exercise was found to be effective. Even though pyruvate appears to be safe and has very low toxicity, excessive intakes could cause gastrointestinal upset.