by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

In March of 1996 while attending a National Nutritional Convention , I was introduced to a new supplement by a most impressive gentleman. He was fighting an uphill battle, since he was trying single-handed to introduce a product that nobody, at that time, had heard of: Calcium Pyruvate. I stopped and listened to him, and confess this was partly because of a “competition” he was running to spark interest in his product. He had been a competitive body builder , and was still a fine figure of a man though obviously no longer in his prime: what he had was a picture of himself and his wife in bathing suits: the object was to try and guess the combined age of the two individuals in the photo and win some of the product. I guessed 125 years (not because they looked that old, but because obviously they HAD to be older than they looked, or where was the point of the contest?) and was off by 22 years! The answer was 147.  I realize this is beside the point, and I know they weren’t JUST using Calcium Pyruvate – but I was still lastingly impressed, and recently when articles began to appear about Pyruvate, I read them with great interest.Pyruvate is part of the glucose molecule, a product of the breakdown of sugar for the production of energy: many studies have been done on its influence on weight loss, and rebound weight gain, mostly at Pittsburgh University. Pyruvate can be bound to a number of different carriers, and caution needs to be used to make sure you are not getting SODIUM Pyruvate, which could throw off the sodium ratio in your diet. While it is also possible to get too high a level of calcium, most people actually do not get enough: therefore the calcium form of Pyruvate is currently the one to look for. The studies show definite benefits for dieters who add Pyruvate to their regimen, both in terms of weight and fat loss, (almost double the weight loss over those study participants taking the placebo) and also appeared to raise the basic metabolic rate of the women using it in the study, which is extremely helpful for sustained weight loss. CALCIUM PYRUVATE

The interesting thing to me, though, is that there were many accompanying health benefits: increased oxygenation of the heart, lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure, and some positive effects for diabetics. Being part of the glucose molecule, it appears to have an effect on insulin resistance, a term used when the cells of the body will not allow sugar to enter, thereby upsetting the balance of sugar in the bloodstream. There are other nutrients that enable the entry of sugar into the cells, notably chromium and vanadium – we may have to add Pyruvate to their number. CALCIUM PYRUVATE

The only thing that takes the edge off this rosy picture is the high amounts of Calcium Pyruvate that were taken to achieve the results: doses used ranged from 30 to 50 grams – remember, there are 1000 milligrams in a gram: so one would be looking at 60 x 500 mg capsules, or 30 of the 1000 mg strength. One would have to be both rich and determined to carry out that schedule!

Some of the companies marketing the supplement are suggesting that results can in fact be obtained on much lower levels of the Calcium Pyruvate,  they suggest between 3 and 5 grams daily, which is a far more reasonable amount both financially and physically to swallow: I have had anecdotal reports that it works at even lower levels, and my feeling is that if the overweight is a result of faulty carbohydrate metabolism (as it often is) then Calcium Pyruvate may indeed be a helpful adjunct to the dieter.

Apart from its use in weight loss, some studies have been done on its use by athletes, and have definitely suggested it may improve endurance both because of its sparing effect on muscle glycogen ( also known as “muscle sugar” ), and its ability to increase the efficiency of oxygen use.

I know I give the impression of praising with faint damns here: my main reservation is because of the levels of the supplement needed to achieve the test results: once I see some convincing studies using the lower levels, I will be able to be much more enthusiastic – in the meantime, my verdict is – Maybe! CALCIUM PYRUVATE

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