Recently, I’ve been doing a bit of research into some forgotten nutritional supplements; the ones that never quite panned out in the real world, but look good on paper.
A study published in 2005 by researchers at the University of Tennessee showed that 10g of calcium pyruvate did not significantly affect body composition or exercise performance and may negatively affect some blood lipid levels. A Canadian study performed in 2000 showed that oral pyruvate supplementation does not increase blood pyruvate content and does not enhance performance during intense exercise in well-trained cyclists. A 1999 study conducted on American Football players concluded that pyruvate supplementation was ineffective at increasing performance, strength, or lean body mass (i.e., it didn’t do anything). And I could go on, and on…but the moral of the story is that numerous studies have been conducted on supplemental pyruvate, and they’ve all concluded that it doesn’t do sh!t.
I’m of the opinion that pyruvate could (potentially) be used in a worthwhile nutritional supplement, if it were combined with something (else) that makes sense. As an example, for the bio-geeks out there, if you understand the (re)cyclic conversion of ATP to ADP and vice versa, and have a grasp of the Krebs Cycle, then you could understand how something like creatine pyruvate “makes sense” – and in fact could actually work. But that’s not important (*for now), because I discovered that a group of researchers has figured out how to make pyruvate supplementation work:
All you need to do is conduct a study, while you’re on the payroll of Muscular Development, while MD is owned by Twinlab, and Twinlab has a newly released pyruvate supplement on the market (ostensibly named “Pyruvate Fuel”), and … holy sh!t, this stuff works, even though almost every other (credible) study says it’s garbage.
Nutrition. 1999 May;15(5):337-40.
The effects of pyruvate supplementation on body composition in overweight individuals.
Kalman D, Colker CM, Wilets I, Roufs JB, Antonio J.
Peak Wellness, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830, USA.
A 6-wk, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was done to ascertain the effects of pyruvate supplementation (6 g/d) on body weight, body composition, and vigor and fatigue levels in healthy overweight Caucasian men and women. Twenty-six individuals were randomly assigned to a placebo group (seven men, seven women) and a pyruvate-supplemented group (three men, nine women). In addition, all subjects participated in a 3 d/wk exercise program, which consisted of a 45-60 min aerobic/anaerobic routine. After 6 wk of treatment, there was a statistically significant decrease in body weight (-1.2 kg, P<0.001), body fat (-2.5 kg, P<0.001), and percent body fat (23.0% pre versus 20.3% 6 wk post) in the pyruvate group. Furthermore, Profile of Mood States fatigue and vigor scores improved significantly for the pyruvate group (P<0.05) at 6 wk (vigor) and 4 and 6 wk (fatigue). There was no significant change in total lean body mass in the pyruvate group. The placebo group demonstrated a significant increase (P<0.05) for POMS vigor at 2 and 4 wk with no changes occurring in any of the remaining parameters measured. Thus, the ingestion of 6 g of pyruvate for 6 wk, in conjunction with mild physical activity, resulted in a significant decrease in body weight and fat mass.
PMID: 10355844 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
In fact, out of the reams of data I examined, I could only find one study that was enthusiastic about the effects of pyruvate supplementation – and it was written by guys who were cashing their paychecks from a company who sells the stuff. And unlike the other studies, this one wasn’t performed by a University, it was done out of a place called “Peak Wellness” – which is owned by one of the authors of the paper. That fact alone is very telling, since all of the authors have strong University contacts, and/or a teaching job where the study could have taken place instead. Unless…for some reason…they didn’t want to perform the study at their own schools….
Against mountains of data to the contrary, these intrepid researchers were able to figure out a way to make pyruvate a worthwhile nutritional supplement.
Interestingly, when the test subjects in this particular study performed 45-60 minutes of exercise 3x week, and used pyruvate, they lost weight. But when they were given a placebo, they didn’t lose weight. Apparently, exercise doesn’t work unless you also use pyruvate. Oh…and you’re on the payroll of a company selling the stuff. As a matter of fact, a book authored by the same people who conducted this study, examined this same “phenomenon” although it mentioned that the results should be examined with caution. With caution? The F*ckin authors of the book were the same f*cking people who conducted the G*ddamned study!
And of course, half of these guys still write for MD and work in the nutritional industry. Have I mentiond that many of these same authors have been rebuked for distorting the facts contained in their so-called “studies” by both The New England Journal of Medicine, as well as The NY Times? Of course these studies were also paid for by companies with a vested interest in the outcome…and court transcripts clearly show that the data was altered for the profit of the company who had hired them. But don’t take my word for it, or The NY Times, or the New England Journal of Medicine….do your own research and evaluate the authors of this study, and make your own decision(s).
I’d also like to invite my readers to check out www.pubmed.com , which is a huge database of published studies, where they can do their own research on pyruvate supplementation, and see what conclusions they reach on their own. Go ahead…I dare you…because what you’re going to see is exactly the same thing I saw: That if lying to readers were a sport, the authors of this study (and MD in general) would win the gold medal, the World Series, the Superbowl, and the World Cup.
[Oh…and I’d also like to mention that some of these same people are decent guys (or whatever), and are also friends of mine on Facebook, as is the owner of MD, and every blog post I make is automatically updated to their pages via their friend-feed. I mention this because I don’t want anyone to think that I’m trying to fly under the radar here, or attack people who have no idea that I’m talking about them.]