Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a small molecule that has the ability to increases the rate at which mitochondria can transfer foods into ATP – thus allowing for more energy to be produced.
You can find PQQ in foods grow in soil, such as kiwi fruit, parsley, and vegetables. Another place where PQQ is in high concentration is within breast milk.
PQQ is known as a glucose dehydrogenase; which means it’s one of the quinoproteins – where it’s used as a glucose sensor, increasing the rate at which the mitochondria uses glucose to produce adenosine triphosphate, ATP.
In short, PQQ can accelerate signaling, and is thought to support mitochondrial function.
Where Was PQQ Discovered?
PQQ was first discovered as a coenzyme co-factor in bacteria by Hauge JG in 1964, stating that; “Glucose dehydrogenase of bacterium anitratum: an enzyme with a novel prosthetic group”. (01)
However, it wasn’t until 2003 that Tadafumi Kato (brain researcher) found that PQQ played an important role in humans and other mammals for energy production – such as assisting the mitochondria in energy production.
PPQ And The Mitochondria
While the studies surrounding PQQ aren’t as vast supplements such as creatine, they do, however, suggest that PQQ is vital for the production and processes that take place within the mitochondria.
The mitochondria: The mitochondria is a cell within the body that produces energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate ATP.
Without sufficient levels of mitochondrial activity, we simply wouldn’t have adequate energy levels to function our day-to-day activities, let alone in sports or performance.
A lack of mitochondrial activity would result in the onset of fatigue, and even some illnesses that result from oxidative stress or a weak immune system. In normal circumstances, the mitochondria would support and assist the body in healing.
Not enough can be said to make sure your mitochondria cells are functioning properly. Therefore, any supplement, diet, or holistic methods to increase the mitochondria’s ability to create more energy should be paramount in your life choices.
What Else Does PQQ Do?
PQQ assists in the ability of brain neurons to work at their peak – thus resulting in alertness, focus, and concentration.
This could be important for those who need sharp attention and focus. For example: in sports professionals, gamers, coders – or simply those who wish to think faster.
PQQ also eliminates free radicals that may cause damage to the body’s immune system and brain.
In short, PQQ acts as a protector and also a health/energy enhancer.
Interestingly, PQQ is used in every cell in the human body. And while it may be classed by some as a vitamin (where it promotes the same healing benefits) it’s actually a standalone ‘redox cofactor’ – “a non-protein chemical compound or metallic ion that is required for an enzyme’s activity.” (02)
How Musch PQQ Do We Have In Our Bodies?
As we age, the amount of PQQ we produce begins to take a sharp decline.
It’s at the ages of 19-21 that we see the highest production rates of PQQ within the body. (03)
The ‘peak‘ production is around 500 and 1,500 mg at any given time. Hence the popularity in supplementation with PQQ.
It’s also worth mentioning that obtaining the required amount from foods can be very difficult, as cooking or preparation denatures the amount available once ingested.
However, if you do wish to aim for your daily targets (200-400 micrograms per kg of body weight) below is a list of the most common food groups containing PQQ.
Main Foods Containing PQQ:
|1.||Natto (Fermented Soybeans)||61.0|
Main Beverages Containing PQQ:
What Does PQQ Do For Performance?
As we’ve already touched on, PQQ is important for allowing the mitochondria to work at its peak.
It helps the processes within the mitochondria to supply energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate – ATP.
You can think of PQQ as a tool which the mitochondria uses to transport elements such as ketones, fatty acids, and also glucose – to be converted into adenosine trisphosphate.
Here are the most common, and most noticeable effects felt when supplementing with PQQ:
Increased mental sharpness and activity:
As the mitochondria are important for brain functioning, we can see a direct correlation between the importance of PQQ and the ability it has on energy transfer support – and also, how well the brain can function.
The mind prefers glucose as its main fuel source, even more so under times of intense activity, where glucose gets used up at an incredible rate.
What does PQQ have to do with glucose usage?
As PQQ is a glucose dehydrogenase (an enzyme that causes the acceleration of chemical reactions) especially those of a glucose nature within cells. We can see that PQQ will assist the body in efficiently using glucose, and also, improving the mitochondria for enhanced energy dividing and processing.
To summarise: As the mitochondria use glucose, fatty acids, and ketones for energy, PQQ plays an important role in the catalyzing of chemical reactions surrounding glucose usage. (04)
Improved energy levels, especially when taking part in performance activities:
The mitochondria is an interesting ‘double-membrane-bound’ that can produce large amounts of energy, and also, help the body fight off diseases.
However, if we are not active, the mitochondria will not produce energy. It’s only when we begin to move that the mitochondria will kick into action.
Therefore, making sure your mitochondria can produce energy efficiency is key to how much ‘energy‘ you feel you have day-to-day, or when movement takes place.
How to you improve the rate at which the mitochondria improves energy levels?
One way to do this is to exercise often, or with maximum intensity.
When you exercise, your mitochondria will begin to work, supplying ATP throughout your body.
Exercise Improves Energy Levels:
Over long training periods, such as weeks and months, the mitochondria become more efficient at producing energy as the amount you may have in the body multiples.
But, what if you don’t always have time to exercise, or this isn’t something you’re wishing to take part in?
PQQ Accelerates The Rate of ATP Production:
Another way to increase ATP production, is by giving your body efficient levels of PQQ – PQQ works inside the mitochondria to assist in producing more usable energy.
In summary: PQQ speeds up the process at which the chemical reactions take place within the mitochondria – thus allowing for a larger supply of ATP throughout the body and mind.
How Much PQQ Do We Need?
Dr. Steinberg from the University of California has suggested that the amount of PQQ needed is roughly 200-400 micrograms per kg of body weight. (05)
So, in real terms, how much should we be taking?
If you weight 200lbs, the amount of PQQ you will need comes in at 18-36 mg per day.
One thing to mention about obtaining PQQ from foods is that any preparation or additional fermentation (such as those that occur in fruits) denatures the amount of PQQ available.
What does this mean?
This basically means that unless you are eating large amounts of raw vegetables that are obtained fresh from the source – it’s very difficult to hit your daily targets from food alone.
This is why so many people are now looking at supplements as a way to balance out their diet, and therefore increasing health and performance.
As PQQ is created naturally within the body, it’s safe to say that supplementing with PQQ or eating healthy foods containing PQQ will result in limited, if not zero side effects.
With all supplementation that is received for the first time, there may be some side effects in small amounts for some people. These side effects are minor and easily mitigated, such as nausea, stomach issues or dizziness.
With all said and done, there is very limited data or research to suggest PQQ causes any side effects.
Some reports suggest that PQQ works very well initially, but there may be a tolerance build up over time. Therefore, cycling PQQ may be the ideal option. However, more research needs to be done to clarify this. (06)
PQQ Pyrroloquinoline Quinone… could it be for you? Is it worth your time and money?
To answer that, you first need to decide what your goals are:
If you are interested in energy support – allowing for the mitochondria to increase the amount of ATP that is sent around the body, then yes, PQQ may be for you.
Also, if you are concerned with increased ‘nootropic‘ like support for the mind, PQQ has also been shown to promote alertness and cognitive energy.
To summarise, taking PQQ can boost the rate at which the mitochondria produces ATP. It also increases alertness, strength, and stamina. (07)
(01) Hauge Publications on PQQ. (source)
(02) Cofactor (biochemistry). (source)
(03) Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. (source)
(04) Glucose dehydrogenase (acceptor). (source)
(05) PQQ: A VITAL NUTRIENT FOR MITOCHONDRIAL HEALTH, MEMORY, & METABOLISM. (source)
(06) MyGeenFood – I took 10mg of PQQ: here’s what happened. (source)
(07) Dietary pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) alters indicators of inflammation and mitochondrial-related metabolism in human subjects. (source)