PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is the latest and greatest nutrient found in veggies. When you get enough of it, you can quadruple your energy levels within days. Your body’s biggest energy hogs – brain and heart – benefit the most from PQQ. It is a rising superstar among a host of so-called “anti-aging” nutrients. Here is what you need to know about why it is so important and how to get enough of it to make a positive impact on your health.
Quick Overview of PQQ
I am so smitten with this nutrient that I’ve already posted one article on it (A New Energy Vitamin in Your Veggies?). It is one of the few supplements that I take daily.
The good news, as mentioned above, is that it is a common nutrient in many foods. Bacteria also make it, which means that we probably get a small dose from our own friendly gut bacteria, too. We can hardly get through a day without getting at least a little PQQ into our bodies.
Fortunately, supplement manufacturers have caught onto PQQ, thereby providing a myriad of products containing it.
The key for capitalizing on its benefits, as for all nutritional ingredients, is getting enough. Even though human research on PQQ is still in the early stages, a good daily dose is generally agreed upon to be 10 milligrams.
Can you get this much from foods? Let’s do a little math here.
The chart in my previous post lists quantities of PQQ in different foods. The greatest amount in any food is found in natto. The fact that this stinky fermented soy product is not popular outside of certain Asian countries means that it is not a common source of PQQ worldwide.
Nevertheless, if you eat natto, this is what you can expect:
Avg. contents: 61 ng/g (i.e., 61 billionths of a gram of PQQ in every gram of natto)
To get the amount that produces results in clinical research (i.e., 10 mg), you would have to consume 6.1 kg (or, 13.45 lbs) of natto every day.
Levels drop off steeply in other foods. Except for parsley (34.2 ng/g), nothing else has even half the amount of natto.
All this means is that getting the RDA of PQQ is not practical from dietary sources.
That’s where supplements take up the slack. My supplement, like most, provides 10 mg. Just right. I’ll have some advice and cautions about PQQ supplements later in this post.
Why PQQ is Such a Superstar Nutrient?
Chew on this for a moment…
in the parts of cells called MITOCHONDRIA.
You can see what I mean in my earlier overview of these little cellular powerhouses: Live Long And Prosper With Healthy Mitochondria.
Let’s not mince words here. You can a live long and healthy life when your mitochondria are working properly. You get sick and die young when they are not.
I bring this up because PQQ is one of the most valuable nutrients of all time for mitochondrial function. (It goes hand in hand with a couple of other supercritical mitochondrial nutrients – namely, DHA and CoQ-10 – but that’s another part of the story.)
Among other things, PQQ is a powerful antioxidant that can carry out 20,000 catalytic conversions, as compared with 4 for vitamin C. This property alone can account for its extensive list of health benefits (see list in PQQ article linked above).
Its most valuable property, which is unique among all nutrients, is its ability to foster the production of new mitochondria. That’s right…it drives mitochondrial biogenesis. This is crucial in light of the ephemeral nature of mitochondria. They quickly grow old and have to be replaced. That’s where PQQ does its magic.
Remember what I said about the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in disease? It is at the root of everything. Anything that you can do to reinvigorate your mitochondrial population will, therefore, help you against ALL of your health problems.
PQQ vs My Biggest Concern
That would be brain health. More than ever I am concerned about staving off mental deterioration, especially in the face of the growing epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease that plagues us in modern times.
I know that, for example, Alzheimer’s disease is a nutritional problem. Hoity-toity high-tech molecular biology research has missed that point (instead, mistakenly focusing on genetics and drugs).
If you really want to dig into this perspective, I highly recommend the best book I’ve found on the topic: The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dr. Dale E. Bredesen.
You can also get a brief feel for Dr. Bredesen’s work in his 2014 review online (no charge) from this reference:
Bredesen, DE. 2014. Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program. Aging 6(9): 707–717.
I’d like to have a sit-down with Dr. Bredesen some day, if anything to educate him on the role of mitochondria in brain health. He only touches lightly on this topic in his book and review article. He does mention PQQ in his journal article, although not in his book. Extremely important gaps to be filled, in my opinion.
Choosing a Good Supplement
In general, when I look for a supplement, I use two initial criteria:
1) Fewest “other” ingredients
Supplement manufacturers, bless their hearts, spend a great deal of effort making each product better than similar ones from other companies. They do this, in part, by adding so-called “boosting” agents or other ingredients that supposedly make the product in question sound like the best thing since sliced bread.
Throwing in a bunch of “other” ingredients may or may not make a product better. There is no way to tell. Research on branded formulas is very rare, so you probably won’t find studies comparing any mixture with any other.
Thus, for a PQQ supplement, I use one that has only PQQ, 10 mg per capsule, with whatever filler is added for rounding out the capsule contents. Typically such a product would have 240 mg of non-PQQ filler with its 10 mg of PQQ.
Many products fit this criterion. As an example, Life Extension sells a product called PQQ Caps with BioPQQ that contains 10 mg of PQQ disodium salt (“BioPQQ”) plus fillers (rice bran, rice flour, silica).
It typically costs around $18 for a 30-day supply.
2) Reasonable pricing
This is tied to item #1. Unnecessary additives add to the price. An example is a product called Ultra Accel II with BioPQQ and Tocotrienols. It does provide the usual 10 mg of PQQ.
It also contains ascorbyl palmitate (7mg), vitamin E as d-alpha tocopherol (6 IU), ubiquinol (CoQ-10, 50 mg), mixed tocotrienols complex (10 mg), and Gynostema leaf extract (150 mg).
This product sells for a whopping $70 for a month’s supply.
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this product if you want all those other ingredients. Even so, it is a bit overpriced.
SIDENOTE: The “BioPQQ” moniker is designed to make you think it is somehow better than just “PQQ,” although that is just marketing. It is simply a disodium salt of PQQ.
PQQ for the Golden Years
The greatest impact of PQQ for mitochondrial health happens where you have the most mitochondria per cell. Brain cells, heart cells, and skeletal muscle cells are at the top of the list.
This means that, for me, PQQ is most important for my brain, heart, and muscles. Those are exactly the areas that deteriorate fastest as we age. In other words, PQQ is crucial for Baby Boomers, on up to centenarians, where it counts the most.
One More Thing … Just for Baby Boomers
My research helps me make better decisions for my own health. I have discovered some surprising truths about what that means for me and all others in my age group and older.
Sometimes I feel as though we are all racing against the clock, and that modern medicine is speeding up time. Basically, conventional medicine has failed us. In a nutshell, it it makes us age faster and die younger.
Natural approaches, on the other hand, slow down the effects of aging.
Getting the word out to my fellow Baby Boomers about what I discover is why I created an outlet specifically for learning how to be healthy in spite of modern medicine.
That outlet is the Baby Boomers Health Center. It is a place where I explain how we can be healthy in the face of all diseases of civilization – especially those that seem to prey on us.
Age-related illness and frailty are absolutely unnecessary.
Don’t put up with it. Take a look at that website to see what you can do to be truly healthy in your 60s, 70s, and beyond.
All the best,