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Pyruvate is a stabilised form of pyruvic acid that plays a key role in the Krebs cycle, which is the process by which the body converts food into energy and eliminates waste from the body. An ample supply of pyruvate ensures that the Krebs cycle turns at high speed, which in turn promotes an efficient, active metabolism (more calories are burned). Pyruvate has demonstrated an ability to promote weight loss and to burn fat, and may help improve athletic performance as well.
Supplemental pyruvate can actually boost metabolism and energy levels by increasing the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. ATP fuels the mitochondria that that provide energy to every cell in the body; having access to more ATP makes the mitochondria burn faster, and the end result is not only an increase in vitality, but a decrease in stored body fat. In addition, pyruvate supplementation may improve athletic performance by increasing the amount of glucose and protein transported to muscle cells, which helps them function more efficiently.
Pyruvate has shown some promise as a treatment for obesity. In one study, obese women taking pyruvate lost 37 per cent more weight and 48 per cent more fat than the placebo group after taking 30 grams of pyruvate each day for three weeks. Another study reported that over time participants who continued to take pyruvate supplements after resuming a normal diet gained back 55 per cent less weight than those that did not continue to take it. In addition, research indicates that pyruvate can prevent the loss of muscle mass that usually occurs when following a low-calorie or intense workout regime. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine reported that pyruvate supplementation increased fat loss in subjects by up to 48 per cent while minimising their protein loss.
Pyruvate helps lower both blood pressure and cholesterol, and also provides the body with some antioxidant protection. In addition, because pyruvate increases the efficiency of the heart muscle, it may be helpful for treatment of conditions characterised by poor circulation, such as cardiac ischaemia.
The body manufactures and recycles its own continuous supply of pyruvate, but this substance is found in many foods as well, including red apples, red wine, dark beer, and some cheeses. Pyruvate supplements are also available in capsule, tablet, and bulk powder form at most health food stores and from online distributors. Pyruvate is sometimes used in combination formulas marketed as fat burners, or combined with creatine in supplements used to boost athletic performance.
There have been no toxic side effects reported with pyruvate supplements, although taking large doses may cause stomach pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging.
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