The Health Benefits of Calcium Pyruvate

Used for Weight Loss, Athletic Performance and Increased Energy

Calcium pyruvate supplements
calcium pyruvate.

Noraishah Mohd Tahir / EyeEm 

In the dietary supplement multi-billion dollar industry, calcium pyruvate holds a high place in a crowded market because researchers have touted its ability to help people lose weight. Although the body naturally produces pyruvate when breaking down glucose, people will consume pyruvate in supplement form with the hope of speeding up this process rather than waiting for what the body does on its own.

This supplement is used to help with other health issues, such as cancer and high cholesterol, although the evidence that this works remains insufficient. Pyruvate can also aid with how well you age. Pyruvic facial peels can slough off dead skin and help reduce and mask wrinkles.

Health Benefits

The evidence varies on the efficacy of calcium pyruvate. You will find peer-reviewed studies backing its ability to aid with weight loss and aging skin. However, you will not find much research that heralds its competence in improving athletic performance, cancer, flaky skin, cataracts, congestive heart failure, or long-term lung disease, as so much advertising of calcium pyruvate states it can do.

You can find research that calcium pyruvate provides the following health benefits:

Losing Fat on a Restricted Diet

In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a group of 14 obese women ate approximately 1,000 calories per day of a diet that consisted of 68% carbohydrates and 22% protein for three weeks. Half of them took 30 grams of pyruvate each day. The other half consumed a placebo. The women in the former group lost nine pounds of fat; the women in the control group lost six.

Losing Fat on an Exercise Program

A study from Nutrition suggests that calcium pyruvate can help with weight loss when starting an exercise program. Researchers assigned 23 non-exercising women into two groups: one that took five grams of pyruvate twice a day and the other that took a placebo twice a day. They all exercised for 30 days in a 45-minute walking test at 70% of V02 pre-training maximum.

Results showed the pyruvate group lost almost a pound of fat. The placebo group gained 2.4 pounds of fat.


Pyruvic acid peels at 50% can potentially become a safe and efficient treatment for facial skin aging, according to a study from Dermatologic Surgery. Researchers treated 20 patients with four peeling sessions at four-week intervals. After which, they found skin with smoother textures, less wrinkles and hyperpigmentation lightening. The patients also reported little to no discomfort in the post-peel period.

Possible Side Effects

You can experience side effects when consuming calcium pyruvate supplements. However, these should lessen with smaller doses. If any of the following apply to you, try moving down to five grams per day and look for pills without any artificial ingredients on the label:

  • Headache. You should try drinking a full glass of water with each supplement.
  • Nausea or vomiting. You could potentially solve nausea and/or vomiting by taking the pills with food rather than on an empty stomach.
  • Diarrhea or constipation. If you have any stomach ailments, calcium pyruvate can exacerbate the issue. You should speak with your doctor about taking the supplement before you do.
  • Uticaria (hives). This could indicate an allergic reaction and you should stop taking the pills immediately.
  • Weakness. This could get solved by taking calcium pyruvate on a full stomach. If you still feel weak, you should discontinue use.

Dosage and Preparation

For weight loss, the recommended dosage for calcium pyruvate is 5 to 44 grams per day. Pyruvate can also be used on your skin topically to help with aging. In this case, a 50% pyruvic acid peel can be applied once per week for four consecutive weeks.

As always, you should speak with a medical professional before taking any dietary supplements. The doctor will look at your medical history, diet and exercise regime, and use these to determine if a supplement such as calcium pyruvate can complement your health.

What to Look For

You should look for calcium pyruvate’s other names on labels:

  • Potassium pyruvate
  • Pyruvate de calcium
  • Pyruvic acid
  • Sodium pyruvate
  • Oxopropanoate
  • Oxopropanoic acid
  • Acetylformic acid
  • Alpha-Keto Acid
  • Calcium pyruvate monohydrate
  • Acetylformic acid
  • Pyruvate de Creatine
  • Pyruvate de Magesium

You should also make sure the label doesn't say this product can cure or treat a disease. This is not legal per the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). If you do see this, immediately discard the bottle.

To consume the healthiest type of calcium pyruvate, look for labels that say the supplement contains no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, gluten or allergens, and is Good Manufacturing Products (GMP) certified. 

Other Questions

Does calcium pyruvate come with any safety concerns?
Yes, anyone pregnant or nursing should avoid taking the supplement. This is because of the little sufficient evidence available that suggests calcium pyruvate remains 100% safe and effective.

You should also avoid consuming the supplement if you have diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome, as any amount could worsen these conditions.

Can you take too much calcium pyruvate?
Pyruvate doesn’t have a set upper intake level because so few negative effects have occurred with high dosages, according to the National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine. However, for best practices, you should follow the recommended dosage and speak with your medical professional before you begin adding this to your diet.  

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Ghersetich I, Brazzini B, Peris K, et al. Pyruvic Acid Peels for the Treatment of Photoaging. Dermatologic Surgery. 2004. January 30;1:32-36.

  • Koh-Banerjee P K, Ferreira M P, Greenwood M, et al. Effects of Calcium Pyruvate Supplementation During Training on Body Composition, Exercise Capacity, and Metabolic Responses to Exercise. Nutrition. 2005. Mar;21(3):312-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2004.06.026

  • National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. 2001.

  • Stanko R T, Tietze D L, Arch J E. Body Composition, Energy Utilization, and Nitrogen Metabolism with a 4.25-MJ/d Low-Energy Diet Supplemented with Pyruvate. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1992. October;56(4):630-5. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/56.4.630

By Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, CPT
Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, is a certified personal trainer, freelance writer, and author of "Growth Mindset for Athletes, Coaches and Trainers."