Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ): Methoxatin, A Nutrient Borne of Interstellar Dust
Nutritional Products & Supplements
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ): Methoxatin, A Nutrient Borne of Interstellar Dust
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone, is a lesser-known supplement that's promoted to be good for your brain. Identified in 2018 as a "longevity vitamin," PQQ was heralded by researchers as necessary for long-term health.
By Mark Zuleger-Thyss
Your body contains four metabolically active organs - the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart. Metabolic processes involve the utilization of energy. In essence, it's how your body converts what you eat and drink into the fuel that fires it up.
The brain is one of the most metabolically active organs in the body. Together with the heart, liver, and kidneys, it consumes about 60% of the body's energy requirements. The brain’s energy needs are important, but make no mistake, it's the liver that is the high achiever.
Benefits of PQQ | Why Your Brain Cells Need It
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone, or PQQ for short, is a multi-functional nutrient commonly found in plant foods. First discovered in 1964 as a cofactor for enzymatic reactions in bacteria, many scientists believe PQQ should be categorized as an essential nutrient. It is a vital substance that can protect the mitochondria from free radicals.
Brain function slows with age. It becomes more challenging to recall facts and learn new information with each passing year. Nootropics, also referred to as “smart drugs, are natural supplements that are designed to improve mental performance and brain function.
Enter Pyrroloquinoline Quinone. PQQ is a nootropic which means it does good things for your gray matter. It can enhance brain functions like memory, mental focus, motivation, and creativity. Today you can find PQQ in supplement form sold as capsules or soft gels. They are also available as chewable tablets or lozenges.
PQQ has gained a reputation for its positive effects on energy, longevity, and well-being. But is there any merit to these claims? And is it really a vitamin or a non-vitamin growth factor?
PQQ | Vitamin or Non-vitamin Growth Factor?
Pyrroloquinoline quinone, otherwise known as methoxatin, is a redox cycling orthoquinone. It was first discovered in 1964 as a cofactor for enzymatic reactions in bacteria, in which it serves a similar function to that of B vitamins for humans.
Pyrroloquinoline quinone may be a novel vitamin because it is essential for normal growth and development. The redox-cycling ability of PQQ enables it to scavenge or generate superoxide (an enzyme that helps break down potentially harmful oxygen molecules in cells).
PQQ is a coenzyme in bacteria, but this role does not appear to extend to humans. And since it does not, the designation of PQQ as a vitamin compound has fallen through, and it is only considered "vitamin-like" at best.
It is a remarkably effective antioxidant – around 100 times more effective than vitamin C at eliminating free radicals.
PQQ is a natural compound that already exists in our cells. Found in high levels in human breast milk, PQQ is presumed to be a non-vitamin growth factor. The primary source of PQQ in mammals, however, is dietary. It's commonly found in leafy vegetables, fruits, and legumes, especially soy. It's also found in soil and interstellar dust.
The Bottom Line | Pyrroloquinoline Quinone
For now, PQQ seems to be all the above, or until someone can provide a more accurate description. For the purposes of this article, let's agree on this definition:
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone | Plays a Vital Role in Human Health
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone was discovered in the metabolism of bacteria found in soil. (PQQ), also called methoxatin, is a redox cofactor and antioxidant. It is a water-soluble vitamin-like compound that exists naturally in soil and various foods, including spinach, kiwi, soybeans, fermented soy, and human breastmilk. But in the body, it is only produced in small amounts. It is found in the cytoplasm of cells, where it does its work as a cofactor in many enzymatic reactions.
Starring Role | PQQ Boosts Mitochondrial Biogenesis
Mitochondria are the beautifully delicate organelles that house the respiratory chain, provide cellular energy, and are the site of biosynthetic pathways.
Most cellular functions rely on a constant supply of energy from mitochondria for essential activities such as growth, repair, and reproduction. More vital mitochondria, and more significant numbers of them, produce more cellular energy (ATP). But over time, cell energy diminishes as mitochondria weaken and die. The result is accelerated aging throughout the body.
When it comes to Pyrroloquinoline Quinone, most of the research focuses on how PQQ helps grow new mitochondria in aging cells. While the exact mechanisms are undecided, PQQ energizes and supports proper mitochondrial function and the cellular development of new mitochondria. This growth might be helped by PQQ's potent antioxidant effects. Test-tube studies indicate that PQQ increases cellular mitochondria production, but there is little evidence to conclude that it has a similar impact on humans.
Findings by researchers show that Pyrroloquinoline Quinone restores youthful function and, in animal studies, enhances lifespan. Poor mitochondrial health is linked to various health conditions, such as mental decline, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
PQQ has been found to prevent the accumulation of abnormal proteins associated with the progression of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Of interest to older individuals is PQQ’s ability to protect against stroke-induced brain damage.
Mitochondria can continue to grow, repair, and replenish themselves even in later life, and giving them a boost; well, that's where PQQ comes in. Physicians and scientists continue to acknowledge the importance of PQQ due to evidence that shows how crucial it is for healthy cellular functions.
Food as Medicine Recommendations | Foods with a high-PQQ content
Start off your day with this PQQ-rich menu:
- A cup of green (oolong) tea in the morning
- A fruit salad with kiwi, banana, apple, and some nuts and almond yogurt for brunch
- A green salad with spinach leaves, celery, parsley, and a boiled egg in the afternoon
- A carrot-and-sweet potato curry soup with coconut milk and chicken slices
PQQ's main job is in supporting healthy mitochondrial function. You can take it as a supplement to promote brain health and you can also get it from certain foods.
You can find Pyrroloquinoline Quinone in its natural form in these foods:
- Bell Peppers
- Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes
Taking PQQ in Supplement Form
PQQ supplements carry few risks. Early research has not observed any adverse effects when taking the recommended dose. PQQ is sold in 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg capsules as a supplement. Start out at a dosage of 10mg per day, then monitor the effects and adjust the dosage accordingly over time.
There are many formulations on the market. Products are offered in their pure form, and other brands of PQQ add Co-Q10. Some formulations come with extra valuable components, such as pea fibers. You can find brands produced without gluten, that are vegan, and made without the use of genetic engineering.
PQQ Soft Gels with added Co-Q10
In studies testing products for their PQQ content, the highest amount was found in natto (fermented soybeans), which is also a source of vitamin K.
Look for PQQ capsules not produced through chemical synthesis but rather naturally through bacterial fermentation. These formulations contain the purest form of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone available.
PQQ has been attracting a lot of attention in the wellness world. Adding it to your supplement protocol is a powerful way to support the health of your whole body. As always, it's also good to get PQQ from food sources. Pyrroloquinoline Quinone offers a range of benefits, including stimulating mitochondria biogenesis, producing nerve growth factor, providing powerful antioxidant activity, reducing inflammation, and reducing oxidative stress.
Always consult your healthcare provider and be sure to choose a high-quality product that’s tested for purity and potency.
© 2021-2022 Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing. All rights reserved.
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