Essential energy metabolism molecule PQQ may diminish fatigue.
An essential “helper molecule” present in mitochondria, pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is believed to facilitate a number of metabolic processes in the body and may benefit overall energy by:
- Enhancing energy production. One of PQQ’s major roles is to activate cell signaling pathways associated with energy, or ATP production.
- Antioxidant activity. PQQ’s potent antioxidant qualities seem to be particularly helpful for supporting mitochondria – the power-generating structures of cells.
Discovered inside of bacteria in 1979, pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a compound similar in form to the B vitamins that functions as a cofactor – a molecule that facilitates biochemical processes.1 Although the human body does not naturally produce PQQ, an ample supply can be ingested from foods such as soybeans, spinach, and kiwi.
PQQ is key for growth, reproduction, and immune function, and has a number of potential health benefits.2 Its crucial role in cell signaling pathways – which enable cells to communicate with each other – along with its knack for protecting brain cells and cognitive function have collectively sparked the idea that PQQ is a potent nootropic.3
PQQ is also believed to be an indispensable player in energy metabolism, which more or less consists of the generation of ATP in a cell’s mitochondria.
How PQQ May Help With Energy
PQQ has been identified as powerful antioxidant.4 This effect is particularly relevant for a cell’s mitochondria – the structures involved in a cell’s energy production, as well as cell longevity, cellular signaling, and cell growth.5 Mitochondria not only produce reactive oxygen species, but are also highly susceptible to oxidative damage themselves.
PQQ seems to facilitate the effective functioning of mitochondria in a few ways:
- Shielding mitochondria against oxidative stress.6
- Enhancing the performance of mitochondria in the brain.7
- Increasing the amount of working mitochondria.8
Potential modulation of gene expression
More recently, PQQ was also found to increase energy (ATP) levels in the body by making the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) generate pyruvate and NAD+, both of which enhance energy production in the mitochondria.9
PQQ Benefits & Uses for Energy
The principal function of PQQ may very well be its role as a cofactor in energy (ATP) metabolism. Insufficient PQQ levels have been shown to result in serious drops in energy levels, which may trigger fatigue and lead to other health complications.10
As such, PQQ supplements are typically taken to diminish both mental and physical fatigue, enhance mood, and possibly even improve overall quality of life. These uses certainly have some scientific backing, but more clinical trials are needed to conclusively say that PQQ increases energy levels, especially in healthy individuals.
Animal research indicates that PQQ is a core part of energy production in the body, which mainly takes place in the mitochondria.
In this investigation, rats were fed a nutritionally complete diet with either no PQQ (PQQ−) or 2 mg of PQQ/kg diet (PQQ+). Although no major differences were reported in glucose, insulin, and fatty acid levels, energy usage was found to be much better in the PQQ+ group. In addition, PQQ− had a negative impact on normal mitochondrial function.
- The study concluded that “PQQ deficient rats also have defects in lipid and energy metabolism… Taken together, PQQ is a novel metabolic modulator involved in many aspects of mitochondriogenesis, mitochondrial metabolic function as well as being a cardioprotectant.”12
PQQ was reported to support fatigue reduction and improve mood in clinical research. These studies should be interpreted with caution, however, since they are funded by companies that manufacture PQQ supplements.
In this open-label investigation, 17 adults took 20 mg of PQQ in the form of BioPQQ® every day for a period of 8 weeks. PQQ supplementation was associated with improved sleep quality and duration, improved mood, and reduced feelings of fatigue based on Profile of Mood States (POMS) and Quality of Life (QOL) questionnaires.
- The study concluded that “PQQ can be regarded as a potentially useful dietary supplement as it may relate to improving fatigue.”13
In this crossover investigation, 10 adults were given PQQ in a fruit drink either as a 0.2 or 0.3 mg/kg dose. The first dose resulted in increased antioxidant activity according to thiobarbituric acid reactive product (TBAR) assays. The second dose resulted in reduced inflammation and enhanced mitochondria-related functions, which is critical for making energy.
- The study concluded that “pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) influences energy-related metabolism and neurologic functions…consistent with enhanced mitochondria-related functions.”14
Dosage for Energy
- Research studies use 20 mg or 0.2 – 0.3 mg/kg body weight
- Typical supplemental PQQ capsules contain 10 mg
- The clinically-tested version of PQQ in supplement tablets is BioPQQ®, taken at 10 mg daily
Supplements in Review Says
- BioPQQ® 10 mg for energy.
PQQ may be able to increase your energy levels. Research suggests that PQQ is involved in energy production in the body, and clinical trials seem to confirm that supplementing PQQ may be able to reduce fatigue. While we’d certainly like to see more research evidence, the existing findings do back PQQ’s potential as an energy-booster.
Take BioPQQ® at 10 mg for energy. A standardized PQQ supplement capsule like BioPQQ® at 10 mg per day may be the best option for energy. BioPQQ® is actually the first and only PQQ product manufactured according to the FDA’s New Dietary Ingredients guidelines.
- Akagawa M, Nakano M, et al. Recent progress in studies on the health benefits of pyrroloquinoline quinone. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2015;80(1):13-22. ↩
- Steinberg F, Stites TE, et al. Pyrroloquinoline quinone improves growth and reproductive performance in mice fed chemically defined diets. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2003;422:832. ↩
- Zhou L, Too HP. Mitochondrial localized STAT3 is involved in NGF induced neurite outgrowth. PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21680. ↩
- Wang Z, Chen GG, et al. Pyrroloquinoline quinone protects mouse brain endothelial cells from high glucose-induced damage in vitro. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2014 Nov; 35(11): 1402–10. ↩
- McBride HM, Neuspiel M, et al. Mitochondria: more than just a powerhouse. Curr Biol. 2006 Jul 25;16(14):R551-60. ↩
- Tao R, Karliner JS, et al. Pyrroloquinoline quinone preserves mitochondrial function and prevents oxidative injury in adult rat cardiac myocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Nov 16;363(2):257-62. ↩
- Maruszak A, Zekanowski C. Mitochondrial dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Jul 15. ↩
- Chowanadisai W, Bauerly KA, et al. Pyrroloquinoline quinone stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis through cAMP response element-binding protein phosphorylation and increased PGC-1alpha expression. J Biol Chem. 2010 Jan 1;285(1):142-52. ↩
- Akagawa M, Minematsu K, et al. Identification of lactate dehydrogenase as a mammalian pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)-binding protein. Sci Rep. 2016; 6: 26723. ↩
- Rucker R, Chowanadisai W, et al. Potential physiological importance of pyrroloquinoline quinone. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):268-77. ↩
- Misra HS, Rajpurohit YS, et al. Pyrroloquinoline-quinone and its versatile roles in biological processes. J Biosci. 2012 Jun;37(2):313-25. ↩
- Bauerly K, Harris C, et al. Altering Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Nutritional Status Modulates Mitochondrial, Lipid, and Energy Metabolism in Rats. PLoS One. 2011; 6(7): e21779. ↩
- Nakano M, Yamamoto T, et al. Effects of Oral Supplementation with Pyrroloquinoline Quinone on Stress, Fatigue, and Sleep. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2012;2(8):307-24. ↩
- Harris CB, Chawanadisai W, et al. Dietary pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) alters indicators of inflammation and mitochondrial-related metabolism in human subjects. J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Dec;24(12):2076-84. ↩