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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Amino Acids

Pyruvic Acid

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  • Pyruvate & Pyruvic Acid Description
  • Pyruvate Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Pyruvate Dosage Information
  • Pyruvate Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Pyruvate & Pyruvic Acid Supplement Products


    Pyruvate is also known as 2-Oxopropanoate, 2-Oxopropanoic acid, 2-Oxypropanoic Acid, Acetylformic Acid, Acide Acétylformique, Acide Alpha-Kéto, Acide Oxo-2 Propanoïque, Acide Pyruvique, Alpha-Keto Acid, Alpha-Ketopropionic Acid, Calcium Pyruvate, Calcium Pyruvate Monohydrate, Creatine Pyruvate, Magnesium Pyruvate, Monohydrate de Pyruvate de Calcium, Piruvato, Potassium Pyruvate, Proacemic Acid, Pyruvate de Calcium, Pyruvate de Créatine, Pyruvate de Magnésium, Pyruvate de Sodium, Pyruvic Acid, Sodium Pyruvate.

    The body produces pyruvate when it breaks down sugar (glucose). Pyruvate is available as a supplement. Pyruvate is used for weight loss and obesity, high cholesterol, cataracts, cancer, and improving athletic performance. Some people apply pyruvic acid, a liquid form of pyruvate, to the skin to reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging. Pyruvic acid is sometimes applied to the skin as a facial peel.


    Pyruvate is a crucially important compound in biochemistry because it is the end product of gylcolysis. Glycolysis is the first step in all cellular respiration and pyruvate stands at the junction between anaerobic and aerobic pathways. Pyruvate is the anion of pyruvic acid. In anaerobic respiration, pyruvate is used as the starting point for fermentation, yielding either ethanol or lactate. For aerobic respiration, pyruvate is transported to the mitochondria to be used in the TCA cycle.


    Pyruvic acid is an organic acid found in most biological systems. It is a colorless liquid that is represented chemically as CH3COCO2H. When pyruvic acid loses a hydrogen atom it acquires a negative charge and is called pyruvate. Pyruvate is essential to many metabolic pathways required by living organisms and is represented chemically as C3H3O3.

    Pyruvate is used in metabolic reactions to provide energy to an organism. Glucose (more commonly known as sugar) can be broken down in a process called glycolysis which results in the creation of pyruvate. The pyruvate can then be converted into acetyl-coenzyme A, which is necessary to start a series of reactions known as the Krebs cycle, also known as the citric acid cycle. In the Kreb's cycle, oxygen is used to convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water, generating energy in the process.

    In a separate process, pyruvate can be converted into a compound called oxaloacetate, which is also a necessary component of the Kreb's cycle. Oxaloacetate is an intermediary in glyconeogenesis, a process where the body is able to make glucose during times of extreme stress. This usually occurs during periods of starvation or intense exercise.

    Pyruvate can also be used to manufacture Alanine, an amino acid used to create proteins. Alanine and pyruvate are readily interchangeable through a reversible, tranamination reaction.

    In the absence of oxygen, pyruvate can be broken down in humans and animals to create lactate. The conversion of pyruvte to lactate usually only occurs during intense activity, when the demand for energy is very high. When the same reaction occurs in plants or bacteria, the end product is ethanol, the central ingredient in all alcoholic beverages.

    Essentially, pyruvate is required for many metabolic reactions that serve many different purposes biologically. Although it is formed from glucose, pyruvate can be converted into energy via the Krebs cycle, to carbohydrates for the storage of energy by gluconeogenesis, to protein in the form of the amino acid alanine, and to ethanol in anaerobic reactions. Interestingly, because pyruvic acid is so simple chemically and essentiall to many reactions necessary for sustaining life, some people think that it was one of the first organic compounds and a catalyst for origins of life on Earth.


    Athletes, especially those who compete in endurance sports, commonly use calcium pyruvate to increase their level of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which might provide energy needed to sustain physical activity over a long period of time. ATP is produced in the human body by calcium pyruvate and is responsible for transporting glucose and proteins to the muscles. Supplements are also popular with body-builders. Studies of the substance in rats showed it raised the resting metabolism rate, but the research was not repeated using humans.

    Pyruvate might contribute to weight loss by increasing the breakdown of fat. Another research project involved obese women who took 30 grams of calcium pyruvate daily. They lost 50 percent more weight than women given a placebo, but some health experts credit the weight loss to a healthy diet and exercise. Another study administered 22 to 44 grams of the supplement each day to overweight women. After six weeks, average weight loss was 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg). Statistically, the benefits of calcium pyruvate for losing weight are usually rejected by the medical community.

    Some people ingest the supplement as an anti-aging aid. As an antioxidant, it is marketed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Pyruvate has also been injected into the coronary arteries to treat heart failure and cardiac shock with some success.

    Pyruvic acid seems to cause the outer layer of skin cells to slough off, which accounts for its use in reversing aging due to exposure to the sun. For aging skin, applying a 50-percent pyruvic acid skin peel once a week for 4 weeks seems to smooth skin, decrease fine wrinkles, and decrease dark spots associated with aging due to sun exposure.



    Calcium Pyruvate is sold as a nutritional supplement marketed as a weight-loss aid that builds muscle mass and decreases the percentage of body fat. Pyruvate represents a salt form of pyruvic acid in its unstable form. Calcium is added to the compound to stabilize the acid for absorption by the body.

    Pyruvate exists in red apples, red wine, cheese, and dark beer in small amounts. Some fruits, vegetables, and cheese are also rich in this nutrient, which helps the body produce energy. The body naturally produces pyruvate in minute amounts, which health experts consider sufficient to digest carbohydrates and regulate metabolism. For example, a person would have to eat 70 apples a day to attain the levels of calcium pyruvate used in weight-loss studies.

    The recommended daily intake of calcium pyruvate is 5 grams (g) a day, or 5,000 micrograms (mg) daily. In weight-loss studies, participants ingested 30 grams, or 30,000 micrograms, a day, which might be considered an expensive supplement as a weight-loss aid. Most calcium pyruvate supplements sold in health-food stores contain 750 micrograms per capsule.



    Pyruvate seems to be safe when taken by mouth short-term (up to six weeks).

    For Pregnancy and breast-feeding women, not enough is known about the use of pyruvate during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

    A heart condition called cardiomyopathy: One death was associated with intravenous use in a child who had cardiomyopathy.

    We currently have no information for Pyruvate Interactions.


    Side effects of the compound in high doses include more frequent bowel movements that might develop into diarrhea. Stomach upset, bloating and excess gas have also been reported when large amounts are taken. Some people who use the supplement notice an increase in appetite because energy is burned more rapidly.

    Pyruvic acid facial peels seem to be safe when applied by a healthcare professional. It can cause severe skin burning and should be applied only to small patches of skin at a time.


  • Pyruvate Supplement Products


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    Calcium Pyruvate is a natural combination of two important nutrients - Calcium and Pyruvic Acid. This combination produces a stable compound called pyruvate salt that is more easily absorbed than calcium alone. Calcium Pyruvate also plays a crucial role in energy production by facilitating the transport of glucose from the bloodstream into the muscles, making this a popular supplement with fitness enthusiasts and body builders.


    HerbsPro: Diet Pyruvate Powder, Source Naturals, 3 oz. (89888)
    HerbsPro: Calcium Pyruvate, Nutricology Allergy Research Group, 110 mg / 530 mg, 90 Caps (46009)
    HerbsPro: Calcium Pyruvate, Natural Balance, 550 mg, 90 Caps (89888)
    HerbsPro: Pyruvate Power, Source Naturals, 750 mg, 30 Caps (7346)
    HerbsPro: Diet Pyruvate, Source Naturals, 750 mg, 30 Caps (6778)
    HerbsPro: Pyruvate Power, Source Naturals, 750 mg, 60 Caps (7347)
    HerbsPro: Diet Pyruvate, Source Naturals, 750 mg, 60 Caps (6779)
    HerbsPro: Pyruvate Power, Source Naturals, 750 mg, 90 Caps (7348)
    HerbsPro: Pyruvate Power, Source Naturals, 750 mg, 90 Caps (6780)
    HerbsPro: Pyruvate, Now Foods, 1000 mg, 90 Tabs (68651)
    HerbsPro: Pyruvate, Extra Strength, Now Foods, 1000 mg, 180 Tabs (85945)


    Amazon: Pyruvate Supplement Products
    Amazon: Calcium Pyruvate Supplement Products

  • Nutrition Basics: Pyruvic Acid / Pyruvate Supplement Information

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