PQQ Benefits: 9 Reasons It’s a Key Nutrient for Healthy Aging & Energy
Tiny organs inside your cells — mitochondria — work hard every day, turning the food you consume into energy. But with age, the number of mitochondria naturally declines. A molecule found in your body called pyrroloquinoline quinone, or PQQ for short, has many benefits for your health, most notably boosting the production of mitochondria.
Referred to as an all-natural “fountain of youth,” PQQ's ability to power up your mitochondria does a lot for your health and longevity.
When you have more mitochondria, it impacts your energy level, metabolism, and resilience to disease. PQQ also protects against oxidative stress with its super-antioxidant power — and may keep you feeling young for many years to come.
What Is PQQ?
Scientists first discovered pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) as a “coenzyme” in biochemical reactions in bacteria. But in the late 1990s, scientists found that PQQ plays a role in mammalian biochemistry, as well.
Scientists have found PQQ in interstellar dust, which means it's as ancient as the stars — living organisms have been exposed to it and have likely used it in their bodies since the beginning of time.
Did you know that PQQ helps your body make new mitochondria?
Most importantly, PQQ stimulates “mitochondrial biogenesis” — the making of new mitochondria. Until recently, scientists only thought that strict caloric restriction, exercise, and certain medications could do that. This is big news!
As you get older, your mitochondria become worn down, causing your cells to age more rapidly. This deterioration can lead to age-related diseases. Researchers have discovered that individuals over the age of 70 have 15 times more mitochondrial damage than individuals in their 40s.
Could PQQ help? Let's learn more.
Top PQQ Benefits
PQQ can positively impact your health in numerous ways. Let's explore how PQQ can benefit your health.
Supports Mitochondrial Function
Mitochondria are the “energy production plants” in your cells. Virtually all of the energy used to keep your body functioning comes from these tiny microscopic organelles. As you get older, the number of healthy mitochondria within the body declines.
It may take only 3 days to boost mitochondrial function using PQQ!
According to several studies, PQQ helps cells produce more mitochondria.[2, 6] While human studies are limited, at least one clinical trial found that PQQ supplementation boosted mitochondrial function. Individuals taking PQQ had enhanced mitochondrial functions after only three days!
Protects Brain Health
Not too long ago, scientists widely believed that damaged neurons (nerve cells) could not repair themselves. Eventually, researchers discovered the nerve growth factor (NGF) — a small protein that protects existing neurons and encourages new ones to grow.
It turns out the molecule PQQ stimulates normal levels of nerve growth factor production, which, in turn, protects nerve cells and supports healthy nerve cell growth.
In one preliminary study, PQQ protected brain cells against damage when exposed to toxins. In other words, PQQ may be “neuroprotective” which means it helps protect healthy brain cells.
Improves Learning & Memory
Did you know that free radicals can impact your attention span and learning skills?
When rats were first exposed to oxidative stress, and later fed PQQ, it improved their memory and reduced signs of oxidative stress.
If you find yourself growing more forgetful, PQQ might help. One research study gave 41 older adults a PQQ supplement each day for 12 weeks. The results were promising — participants reported improvements in their focus and ability to remember.
Promotes a Healthy Heart
Your heart contains more mitochondria than any other organ in the body. This is because your heart pumps 24/7 and requires a lot of energy to keep it running properly.
Take heart: PQQ also supports your cardiovascular system with its potent antioxidant and mitochondria-making properties. Studies have found that PQQ supports normal low-density lipoproteins (LDL) levels, which promotes a healthy heart.
Recent research into the role that mitochondria play in heart health has given a glimpse into new, potential strategies for maintaining a healthy heart while aging. Because PQQ supports mitochondrial health and function, it is known as a cardioprotective nutrient.
Reduces Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between harmful free radicals that enter the body from the environment and the antioxidants that work to eliminate them. In older adults, oxidative stress can lead to poor health, chronic swelling in the body, and frailty.
PQQ is an antioxidant that enhances the body's resistance to oxidative stress in laboratory animal models. This is promising news — by reducing oxidative stress in the body, PQQ may give you the opportunity to live a longer, healthier life.
Sick of counting sheep? If you struggle with falling and staying asleep, PQQ could bring more restful nights.
In one study, individuals who experienced daytime fatigue and sleep troubles were given PQQ supplements for eight weeks. Participants reported significant improvements to their sleep in the areas of sleep duration, the amount of time it took to fall asleep, and how alert they felt in the mornings.
Pro tip: Give PQQ supplements a try to promote more restful sleep!
As we continue to explore exactly how PQQ improves sleep, researchers believe it promotes normal levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body, improving sleep quality and leading to happier moods.
Increases Your Energy
It takes a lot of energy to get through our busy days in this modern world. Most of us need a full night of restful sleep each night to feel well-rested and energized. In the previously mentioned sleep study, people taking PQQ over eight weeks also reported significant improvements to their energy levels.
But catching more ZZZs isn't the only reason why PQQ may improve energy. Since mitochondria produce energy for cells and PQQ stimulates the production of mitochondria, you may also see an overall energy increase.[2, 6]
Promotes a Healthy Immune System
You've likely heard that vitamin C is good for the immune system when you're feeling under the weather. Remarkably, PQQ has 100 times more antioxidant power than vitamin C, giving a much-needed boost to the immune system.
PQQ's antioxidant capacity is remarkable! It has 100 times more power than vitamin C.
In a study using animal models, scientists observed that animals deprived of PQQ showed growth impairment and compromised immune systems. Other studies have shown that taking PQQ supplements counteracted free radical damage, which is the essence of what an antioxidant does.
May Help You Lose Weight
Eating a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet and getting regular exercise is the best way to lose extra weight.
In a study using animal models, researchers discovered that animals fed a PQQ-deficient diet not only had fewer mitochondria, but also a slower metabolism.
PQQ activates a “master regulator” known as PGC-1a which tells genes to make more mitochondria. With more mitochondria and more cellular energy comes a better-balanced body weight and metabolism.
Food Sources for PQQ
You can find PQQ in most plant-based foods, but some have higher concentrations of this essential micronutrient. PQQ-rich foods include:
- Kiwi fruit
- Green peppers
- Green tea
PQQ Side Effects & Precautions
Animal models indicate that side effects from short-term PQQ supplementation are rare and unlikely to occur unless consumed in extremely high doses. The long-term effects of PQQ supplementation have not yet been studied in humans.
PQQ supplements have not been tested for safety in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so it is best to stick to food sources if you are pregnant or nursing.
If you are taking a PQQ supplement, it is important to follow the recommended daily quantity to take.
Combining PQQ & CoQ10
PQQ and CoQ10 are effective alone but may be stronger together. Ubiquinone — otherwise known as CoQ10 — is a vitamin-like substance the body needs to convert fats and sugars into cellular energy. Like PQQ, CoQ10 is an antioxidant that supports mitochondrial health.
When paired together, these molecules promoted healthy cognitive function in laboratory rats under oxidative stress better than each alone.
Scientists also observed this synergistic effect in a human clinical trial when three sets of participants were given either no supplement, a PQQ supplement alone, or a PQQ/CoQ10 combo. People who took PQQ and CoQ10 together performed better on visual and verbal memory tests than either supplement alone.
It appears that this combination may boost memory and attention span.
Points to Remember
PQQ has a positive impact on your health and well-being because it appears to promote the production of new mitochondria in the body. Your body needs healthy mitochondria for optimal health — this is particularly important with age. Also, thanks to its antioxidant properties, PQQ does battle with free radicals in your body, promoting better health.
The health benefits of this powerful “fountain of youth” molecule are plentiful: PQQ can promote healthy memory and focus, help you get better sleep and feel more energized, and boost your immune system to help you stay healthy. Not only that, but PQQ may help you maintain a healthy weight and support heart health.
Do you use PQQ? How has it impacted you? Comment below!
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