Background: Several slimming aids being sold as food supplements are widely available. One of them is pyruvate. Its efficacy in causing weight reduction in humans has not been fully established. The objective of this systematic review was to examine the efficacy of pyruvate in reducing body weight.
Methods: Electronic and nonelectronic searches were conducted to identify all relevant human randomized clinical trials. The bibliographies of all located articles were also searched. No restrictions in language or time were applied. Two independent reviewers extracted the data according to predefined criteria. A fixed-effect model was used to calculate mean differences (MD) and 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results: Nine trials were identified and 6 were included. All had methodological weaknesses. The meta-analysis revealed a statistically significant difference in body weight with pyruvate compared to placebo (MD: -0.72 kg; 95% CI: -1.24 to -0.20). The magnitude of the effect is small, and its clinical relevance is uncertain. Adverse events included gas, bloating, diarrhea, and increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Conclusion: The evidence from randomized clinical trials does not convincingly show that pyruvate is efficacious in reducing body weight. Limited evidence exists about the safety of pyruvate. Future trials involving the use of this supplement should be more rigorous and better reported.