Pyrroloquinoline quinone, abbreviated PQQ, and sometimes called methoxanin, was discovered in 1979 in bacterial cultures.
This molecule is found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables and is passed from mother to child in breast milk. The research team Kasahara et al elevated it to the status of the 14th vitamin in 2003, and their scientific report sparked a lot of interest in the research world.
PQQ is experiencing significant growth today, both through the numerous scientific studies it undergoes and through its success as a dietary supplement. In this article, we explain to you the reasons for this madness.
- PQQ is essential for the health of mitochondria, the “power plants” in our cells.
- This molecule promotes the production of ATP, the main source of cellular energy.
- PQQ has much greater antioxidant potential than Vitamin C, thus protecting our mitochondria from free radicals.
- In addition to its powerful antioxidant action, PQQ stimulates the growth of new mitochondria, a process called “mitochondria.”
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What are mitochondria?
To understand the benefit of pyrroloquinoline quinone supplements, we first need to understand what our mitochondria are.
Our body consists of 30 trillion cells. In order to function properly, every cell must constantly accumulate energy in the form of a crucial molecule: ATP. Proper synthesis of this energy/ATP is essential to our health as our cells use it to accomplish their multiple functions.
For example, the production of body proteins or cell divisions (cell renewal) require ATP.
ATP is also used to perform functions specific to each cell type: for example, our cellular fibers use it to carry out muscle contraction, our neurons use it to transmit nerve impulses, and so on.
We will then understand that the good production of this energy plays an absolutely central role in the proper functioning of each of our cells and thus in the proper functioning of our organs and our body as a whole.
We then understand that improving our cellular ATP synthesis benefits our health in an effective and systematic way.
Well, in our cells there are several small compartments shaped like little dried grains: these are the mitochondria.
It is within these mitochondria that 90% of our cellular energy or ATP is produced.
This ATP is manufactured at the mitochondrial level through a very important process called cellular respiration.
The health of our mitochondria
The crucial involvement of mitochondria in our good health has given rise to the term “mitochondrial health.”
We now know that the more mitochondria a cell has, and the more structurally good these mitochondria are, the more optimal that cell is able to function.
This situation drives scientific research to better understand how to improve our mitochondrial health, i.e. micronutrients or other molecules that help protect our mitochondrial structures as well as increase their number.
Pyrroloquinoline quinone increases the health of our mitochondria
Pyrroloquinoline quinone or PQQ, the subject of this article, is a molecule that is currently being extensively studied for its highly beneficial effects on mitochondria.
This molecule is a true marvel for our mitochondrial health because it has a dual role: it protects our mitochondria from free radicals thanks to its powerful antioxidant effects. In addition, it increases the growth of new mitochondria in our cells. It is said to stimulate the formation of mitochondria, and in this way PQQ stimulates cell growth.(1).
Antioxidant power and mitochondrial protection
It should be noted here that PQQ is significantly more effective than other biological antioxidants. In fact, it is, for example, 30 to 5,000 times more effective than vitamin C.
It owes this exceptional antioxidant action to its macromolecular stability. PQQ can therefore perform thousands of electron transfers and neutralize thousands of free radicals before they are destroyed, unlike other biological antioxidants which are much less stable.
PQQ specifically neutralizes free radicals of the superoxide type and hydroxyl type, which are significantly involved in the degradation of mitochondrial structures and which are therefore particularly involved in mitochondrial dysfunction.
And the benefits of PQQ don't stop there! Mice and rats fed a diet low in PQQ have been shown to have a reduced amount of mitochondria(2).
Using mouse Hepa1-6 cells, PQQ was shown to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, the famous formation of mitochondria.(3).
Other biochemical actions and early clinical effects of PQQ
PQQ is also known to be an enzyme cofactor, meaning it is necessary for these enzymes to function. PQQ in particular is found as a cofactor in alcohol dehydrogenase and methanol dehydrogenase, as well as in quinoprotein glucose dehydrogenase.
At the clinical level, some of the first studies on PQQ reported that this molecule promoted lowering blood sugar levels.(4).
PQQ has been shown to prevent decline in brain function in the elderly, especially loss of attention and memory during intellectual work.(5).
It showed an improvement in tissue recovery after a heart attack(6).
However, this clinical research is in its early stages and other biochemical roles and clinical benefits of PQQ are certainly yet to be discovered.
(tags for translation) What are mitochondria?
Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) and mitochondrial health