Our cellular energy comes from mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cell. Mitochrondria are the tiny organelles working to produce cellular ATP, the energy currency of any living cells.
Energy needs are highest in the brain, and therefore mitochondrial density is highest there too. The amount of mitochondria is not static, it may increase or decrease depending on how much 'brain work' you require them to do.
Inside the mitochondria the most important energy cycle is called the Krebs cycle (or citric acid cycle) which is how energy is derived from either glucose (from carbohydrates in food) or ketones (from fats in food or body fat).
PQQ or pyrroloquinoline quinone happens to be able to improve mitochondrial efficiency and produce more energy.
PQQ has a measurable impact on mitochondrial function and even induces the growth of new mitochondria.
PQQ also functions as an antioxidant, resulting in decreased inflammation and oxidative stress.
There is a lot of research supporting PQQ’s ability to enhance the energy output of mitochondria. Specifically, research shows PQQ can increase mitochondrial density, reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, combat oxidative stress, improve learning and memory ability and even improve fertility.
One study showed that PQQ improves the reproductive performance of mice, as well as growth of newborn mice. Mice in the PQQ-supplemented group had almost twice as much offspring than mice in the PQQ-deficient group. This suggests that the mitochondrial health of parents has a significant impact on their offspring’s potential to thrive.
Another study showed that deprivation of PQQ in rats and mice led to a decrease in mitochondrial density, which means that a deficiency in PQQ may be responsible for low energy levels.
PQQ simultaneously improved total energy expenditrure as well as learning ability in rats. While it is unwise to extrapolate results from rats to humans, the rats most definitely got fitter and smarter at the same time!
While most studies concerning PQQ have been conducted on animals, data from humans also shows parallel promise.
Human subjects who received recurring supplementation of PQQ showed significantly decreased levels of inflammatory molecules like C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and showed changes in urinary metabolites that are indicative of enhanced mitochondrial functioning.
Rather than cross a cell membrane, PQQ binds to receptors on the surface of a cell, triggering intracellular reactions and gene expression.
There are two major pathways that are influenced by PQQ. One of these pathways with PGC-1-alpha as the major messenger molecule regulates energy metabolism, determines the skeletal muscle fiber type, as well as the use of brown adipose tissue.
The other major pathway uses DJ-1 as messenger molecule and is involved with protecting neurons against oxidative stress. This explains how PQQ can have a protective effect against neurotoxins.