It’s rare to find a compound that both boosts exercise performance and longevity at the same time.
Some herbs or compounds can do both, but they also frequently come with side effects.
What I’m about to share with you is a compound produced naturally in the body, that you can also supplement.
The compound is called pyruvate.
Pyruvate has been shown to enhance exercise performance by:
- Increasing phosphocreatine recycling, by reducing the inhibition of PCr resynthesis. More phosphocreatine and faster replenishing will lead to more power output more frequently.
- Enhancing muscle contraction through the reduction of H+ concentration.
- Enhancing NAD levels, which takes the brakes off glycolysis, leading to more ATP production.
- Having a mild alkalization effect on blood pH and increasing bicarbonate (it’s not as strong as sodium bicarbonate, so they should pair well). “PYR supplementation resulted in a stronger ergogenic effect on RSE performance compared to other common buffers that only obtained a 2–3% increase in power output during single sprints or RSE.” (R)
- Stimulates pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) and acts as a substrate for that enzyme, which boosts aerobic energy production. Aerobic system plays an increasingly important role in maintaining performance during repeated sprints. 1 module of glucose creates 2 ATP through glycolysis, but 36 ATP through aerobic metabolism. The resynthesis of PCr is dependent on aerobic metabolism, and therefore, higher levels of aerobic metabolism accelerate ATP-PCr resynthesis during the recovery periods and maintains subsequent sprint ability.
- Restore the hypertrophy response in the elderly. When an older person exercises, they create more senescent cells, which then blunt hypertrophy. Using synolytics such as pyruvate can prevent this and boost hypertrophy (R).
I think this supplement is fantastic since not a lot of supplements enhance exercise performance past the 2-3 set. Pyruvate has been shown to enhance exercise performance past set 5 (they only did 5 sets in the study above).
How would you like to push harder, for longer, more quickly? I know I do.
I benefit the most from using it on leg days or when resting relatively short.
Here is one example from my experience.
I was doing belt squats and didn’t take pyruvate. I did 3 sets of 8 reps with 4 min rest between sets. Next time I did that workout, I took 10g calcium pyruvate. I did 3 sets of 10 reps with 2 min rest, and 2 min rest felt too long. The next time I did that workout again but without the pyruvate, I did 3 sets of 11 with 3-4 min rest and was feeling much more winded compared to the previous workout. Definitely a strong pro-endurance, pro-recovery supplement.
Next time I’ll pair it with sodium bicarbonate for a stronger buffer effect. Perhaps also with beta-alanine, GABA and taurine.
Pyruvate is likely one of my favorite longevity supplements out there.
It helps with longevity because it can:
- Bypass impaired glycolysis (where glucose or fructose might be insufficient) and maintain mitochondrial respiration in the brain as well as other tissue.
- Stimulate pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), the rate limited enzyme in proper glucose oxidation, and also acts as a substrate for that enzyme. PDH activity is closely pertained in healthy aging and age-related diseases contributed from disturbances of mitochondrial bioenergetics homeostasis (R).
- By stimulating PDH, it has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties (R).
- Correct severe metabolic acidosis
- Inhibit apoptosis (cell death) and senescence. Senescence cells, that is, cells at a stress-induced irreversible growth arrest: naturally generated “zombie cells” in life, but actually are metabolic active with more glycolytic state mimic to cancer cells. The accumulation of these cells in various tissues and organs over time is speculated to intimately associated with organ dysfunction, diabetes, tumorigenesis, and aging (R).
- “Pyruvate probably as both a NAD+ substitute and a novel senolytic agent may be more beneficial than NAD+/senolytics, per se, due to its multifactorial salutary protection of cell function, including DNA repairing in different molecular mechanisms from NAD+” (R).
- Protect mitochondria.
- Repair DNA damage better than equimolar amounts of NAD.
- Increase the NAD to NADH ratio. The direction of LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) redox reaction occurred spontaneously in each cell depends on the law of mass action of reactive substrates: the ratio of pyruvate/lactate and the LDH activity. Meaning, if pyruvate is more that lactate, more pyruvate can be converted to lactate, which will regenerate NAD. NAD is then used in glycolysis and the Kreb cycle for energy production.
- Suppress the stimulated sorbitol pathway in diseases, such as diabetes, reducing the NAD+ consumption and preserving the NAD+/NADH ratio.
- Promote oxidative phosphorylation, reconverting NADH to NAD+ in electron transport chain and producing ATP in mitochondria.
- Enhance cellular hypoxia tolerance, which helps to reverse glucometabolic disorder (Warburg effect) by preserving glycolysis, via the 1) enhancement of NAD+/NADH ratio, and promoting oxidative phosphorylation with 2) reactivation of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) activity, leading to reversal of lethal hypoxia lactic acidosis and the Warburg effect.
- Have potent duel (direct and indirect) anti-oxidative and anti-nitrosative stress and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Anti-viral effects
- “The virus may efficiently display enhanced replication in senescent cells, indicating that the accumulation of senescent cells with aging and age-related diseases may play a role in the severity in old people and senotherapies may improve the clinical outcome and efficacy of vaccinations of Covid-19 virus infection.38,39 A new striking finding in old mice demonstrated that senolytic drugs before or after the Covid-19 virus exposure significantly reduced cellular senescence, leading to increased anti-viral antibodies and declined mortality, 40 evoking an additive therapeutic approach in elderly with Covid-19 viral infection.” (R)
- Protect the mitochondrial structure and endoplasmic reticulum function. Therefore, pyruvate protects against multiorgan (especially vital organs) dysfunction and improves survival in a diversity of pathogenic injuries, including cardiac, hemorrhagic, traumatic, and septic shock, liver cirrhosis, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, mitochondriopathy, and even cancer and aging. Also, several reports demonstrated that pyruvate has therapeutic effectiveness and safety in various diseases as well as skin injuries.
- Improve muscle health, possibly restoring energy metabolism and lowering inflammation (R).
- Increase explorative behavior and decrease passive avoidance, likely via increasing brain glycogen storages, restoring energy metabolism and lowering inflammation (R).
- Rescue hypoxic and hypoglycemic states. “Neuronal cell death resulting from hypoglycemia and hypoxia is the result of a series of events triggered by reduced energy availability, and the normalization of blood glucose and oxygen levels does not necessarily block or reverse this cell death process once it has begun. Recent research has shown that cells that would otherwise die after the cascade of excitototic activity could be rescued by providing pyruvate. Insulin was used to induce hypoglycaemia and then terminated through (i) glucose administration, and (ii) combined glucose and pyruvate administration. The results of the study showed that in the four brain regions studied (CA1, subiculum, dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, and piriform cortex) combined glucose and pyruvate administration led to a reduction in neuronal death by 70–90%.” (R)
- (In this case ethyl pyruvate; which is fat soluble) exert strong protection against the delayed cerebral ischemic injury with significant reduction in infarct volume accompanied by the suppression of the clinical manifestations associated with cerebral ischemia, including motor impairment and neurological deficits (R).
- Increase mitochondrial biogenesis (R).
- Promotes longevity (at least in worms) (R, R).
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Great stuff, keep it up my man
Honestly bro this guy knows so much, I thought I knew a lot but after I found Hans my trajectory in health and fitness genuinely changed. Thanks so much for all the knowledge Hans
Pyruvate is a compound made naturally in the body with heaps of benefits.
I prefer to use ethyl pyruvate and calcium pyruvate together, vs just one or the other.
Benefits I experience:
- Better cognitive function. Being active to focus for longer.
- Pushing harder in the gym with shorter rest.
- Higher dopamine state
And then I also benefit from all the other things, which I can’t necessarily feel.