Our heart is a vital organ responsible for maintaining circulation of blood to all parts of our bodies. Blood provides life-supporting oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, including to the heart itself. As one could imagine, complete or partial blockage of the heart can lead to nutrient deprivation and suffocation of the heart, causing cardiac ischemia. Interestingly, PQQ has been shown to play a crucial role in remediating the negative effects of cardiac ischemia15-19.
In a study by Zhu and fellow scientists, they found that PQQ treatment of heart cells reduced both mitochondrial depolarization and oxidative damage18! Furthermore, PQQ was shown to have a protective effect against heart damage when administered following the unblocking of an occluded cardiac blood vessel in animal models17-19. Even more remarkably, PQQ administration before and after triggering of a heart attack in mice resulted in 100% survival/recovery, whereas a significant percentage of death occurred in cohorts that did not receive PQQ (Table2).
Another study indicated that PQQ administration ranging from 5-20mg/kg inversely correlated to the area of damage in the heart resulting from cardiac ischemia; this indicated that the more PQQ that was given, the less of a damaging affect the cardiac ischemia caused15. These studies provide strong evidence of PQQ and its cardio-protective role. Not only does PQQ likely aid in recovery of the heart, it seems to help prevent heart damage as well!
More often than not as we age, we feel our cognitive capacity decreasing. This concept is nothing new to the general public and the medical field alike. Luckily, several studies have shown PQQ to have a positive effect on learning and memory function in animal models. An exciting study in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition showed in pre-clinical models that that administration of PQQ-supplements resulted in improved memory and learning rate (Figure 2)19. The authors of this study conclude that PQQ seems to be a supplement that has the potential for long-term memory and function support.
Not only has PQQ been known to have a multitude of effects to benefit brain function, but it has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect as well! Blood supplies to the brain provide vital nutrients and oxygen required for proper brain function and maintenance. Sadly, this supply can become blocked resulting in ischemia (oxygen deprivation) and damage. PQQ has actually been shown to have a neuroprotective effect in hypoxic conditions as well as in the case of oxidative stress and spinal cord injury20-27!
A large body of evidence provided a basis for PQQ’s vital role in neurological health. This lead a group of researchers to test the effects of PQQ in the context of Parkinson’s disease, and they found that PQQ helps guard against the development of a protein that has been linked to early onset of Parkinson’s26. In addition, PQQ has also been found to have a preventative effect in the formation of amyloid-beta molecular structures which have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease27. With cutting-edge research still ongoing, only time will tell what additional, neurological benefits PQQ will provide us.
It’s 3 o’clock on a Monday afternoon and somehow even though you’re on your third cup of coffee, you just don’t seem to have the energy to get through the day! Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before? Could it be the case of the Mondays? Do you need another cup of coffee? Granted these may be viable explanations and temporary solutions, but none provide a more long-term solution for lack of energy. On the other hand, PQQ has actually been shown to significantly improve long-term energy utilization by aiding in mitochondrial creation and function26-31.
The mitochondria are the “powerhouse” of the cell. These subcellular organelles play a large role in metabolism and provide energy for your body to use in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Mitochondria exist throughout your body, from the neurons in your brain to the cells in your muscles to even your immune cells! PQQ has been shown to be vital for optimal mitochondrial function and participates in optimizing energy use.
A groundbreaking clinical study conducted by scientists from University of California Davis (UC Davis) showed that PQQ helps drive efficient energy usage of the mitochondria in humans by decreasing oxidative byproducts and metabolites6. They further found that PQQ enhanced mitochondria-related functions in participants, resulting in reduced inflammation6.
In addition to improving mitochondrial function, PQQ is also responsible in the process of making more mitochondria for increased energy production, called mitochondrial biogenesis31,32. Chowanadisai and colleagues famously elucidated the causal mechanism by which PQQ increases mitochondria production and function32. They showed that PQQ increases mitochondria production through increased expression of an important protein factor called PGC-1α, which has been known to directly increase mitochondria biogenesis. By increasing number of mitochondria, PQQ offers a more robust and reliable means of increasing energy potential for our bodies. This sentiment was further emphasized in a study where scientists provided proof-of-concept data that PQQ causes increased mitochondrial biogenesis in pre-clinical models33. The study showed that as little as a few micrograms of PQQ supplemented in the diets of mice lead to a significant increase in mitochondria production as well as increased energy utilization (Figure 3) 33. Because of the ubiquitous presence of the mitochondria in providing energy to multiple systems in our body, we can truly appreciate what an important role PQQ takes in helping us maintain energy.
PQQ has been shown to be a particularly effective antioxidant. During everyday activities we get exposure to toxic substances that induce the creation of free radicals. Free radicals emanate and accumulate from both endogenous sources as well as toxins we get exposed to and damaging effects from the sun. These free radicals then run rampant to cause damage throughout our bodies, and have been indicated in aging and cancer.
Antioxidants are a vital line of defense that our bodies use to help eliminate these free radicals. Several studies have shown that PQQ acts as a more potent antioxidant and has the highest potential of catalytic cycles, even compared to Vitamin C4,11,12!
Subsequent studies in human clinical trials by Harris and colleagues showed a direct correlation of PQQ and antioxidative potential (Figure 1)15. Based on measures of circulating PQQ in patient blood following oral administration of PQQ showed an immense increase in antioxidant potential based on increased levels of PQQ. In addition to the clinical evidence of decreased antioxidative stress, they also found that PQQ also reduced indications of inflammation15.