Calcium Pyruvate Benefits

Runners - couple running
Aerobic respiration such as running requires oxygen. (Image: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images)

Calcium pyruvate is a natural substance made in our bodies that contributes to metabolism and the digestion of carbohydrates. The unstable form of this substance, known as pyruvic acid, is stabilized by the addition of sodium or calcium. Calcium pyruvate is the compound that starts the Kreb's Cycle, by which our bodies make adenosine triphophate (ATP) or energy during aerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration is that which occurs in the presence of oxygen, during exercises, such as running and jogging. Natural sources of pyruvate include apples, cheese, dark beer and red wine.

Fat Loss

Many claim that calcium pyruvate can help with weight and/or fat loss. In theory, since it is the raw material for cellular respiration, supplementing with calcium pyruvate should increase the amount of energy burned, therefore allowing for more fat burning. The question is whether this is actually the case. A study done by Dr. Ronald Stanko at the University of Pittsburgh concluded that calcium pyruvate does have this fat burning effect. Obese women were put on a 1,000-calorie diet for 21 days during this study. The group receiving calcium pyruvate experienced 48 percent higher fat loss, amounting to 3.2 extra pounds. However, very large doses of 30 grams per day were used to elicit this result. The common recommendation of 5 grams per day may not be enough to produce similar results. The expense of high dosage supplementation with calcium pyruvate may be too expensive for some. Diet-and-Health.net discounts the research, claiming that there is still no solid evidence for weight loss benefits.

Energy and Endurance

Calcium pyruvate supplementation may benefit endurance athletes whose bodies are constantly turning over ATP production for sufficient energy to perform sustained bouts of exercise. Transporting glucose and protein to muscle cells and making optimal levels of ATP available are the theoretical benefits of calcium pyruvate. Anecdotal accounts of increased energy and less fatigue from endurance athletes abound, yet solid research is somewhat elusive. However, one published, peer-reviewed study, published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology" showed that 25 grams of calcium pyruvate, combined with 75 grams of dihydroxyacetone caused a 20 percent increase in tricep muscle endurance over seven days of supplementation. Once again, these compounds in such high amounts may be unavailable to mainstream and recreational trainees.

Other Benefits, Dosage and Side Effects

Some suggest that other potential benefits of calcium pyruvate supplementation may include antioxidant activity for antiaging, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, increased glyogen storage and utilization, increased muscle building and retention, increased resting metabolic rate and higher fatty acid utilization. While all known studies showing supplemental benefits have used a high dosage, 5 grams per day is usually recommended. There are few, if any, studies showing benefit from such a small dosage. Calcium pyruvate is naturally made and used in the body, so an overdose would be unlikely. However, side effects, such as diarrhea, bloating, gas and increased bowel movements have been recorded. For those with heart disease, be sure to get calcium pyruvate, as compounds stabilized with sodium may increase blood pressure to dangerous levels.

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