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Calcium Pyruvate

 

Calcium pyruvate and a chemically-related compound called dihydroxyacetone are known to protect against the development of fatty liver in rats fed ethanol.

Further investigations have shown that a combination of the two (called ‘DHA-P’) reduces fat storage in rats by about 30%, which is at least partly due to an increase in basal metabolic rate.

This research naturally makes pyruvate a candidate for the ‘weight loss’ marketers and capsules containing calcium pyruvate are often promoted as powerful ‘thermogenic’ agents with the added benefit of increasing energy levels.

The facts are unfortunately rather less exciting. While research has confirmed that pyruvate has some fat control benefits in humans, the doses required are relatively large and the effects are relatively modest. Most trials have used the original combination of pyruvate and dihydroxyacetone in conjunction with calorie-restricted diets, both during dieting and during the return to a normal diet.

The results show slight increases in weight loss compared with the control group - typically around a pound per week more - and also reduced weight gain when the diet finishes. However, these effects are only observable when 30-90 grams/day of DHA-P are taken - the equivalent of approximately 30-90 pyruvate diet capsules daily! At a cost of around 5-10 pence (10-20 cents) per capsule, this makes an effective dose quite an expensive proposition at around £50/$100 per month.

Not only that but most studies have been on the combination of pyruvate and dihydroxyacetone and there is little research confirming any beneficial effects of pyruvate alone. There is also the fact that large doses of DHA-P can cause quite severe gastrointestinal upsets.

Just one study shows positive effects at relatively low doses. This study, published in ‘Nutrition’ in May 1999 showed that lower dosages of calcium pyruvate may accelerate fat loss when combined with a program of regular exercise. The subjects of the trial ate normally (about 2,000 calories per day). They were divided into two groups, both or which completed 45-60 minutes of circuit training, three times each week. One group were given placebos while the other were given 6g of pyruvate per day. At the ened of the 6-week program it was found that the pyruvate group had lost on average 6 pounds of fat, while the placebo group remained at their starting weights.

If this result could be confirmed, then calcium pyruvate might be considered useful when used as part of an exercise regime but unfortunately no follow-ups appear to have been conducted.

 

 

 

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