What is PQQ? Is it a vitamin? Is it another kind of nutrient? And most important of all, is PQQ a nootropic?
Well, for starters, I can tell you what we know.
PQQ was first discovered accidentally in some space dust on a NASA shuttle. Ironically, it was later discovered that it’s also in the foods we eat, and the soil we grow it in.
You might be thinking, if it’s so common, what makes it so special?
Research has shown that PQQ is a very potent antioxidant. It can help prevent cancer, neurological disorders, and slow down the aging process.
In fact, scientists have suggested that ‘The Fountain of Youth’ might not be a place, but this powerful micronutrient.
Supplementing with PQQ has also been proven to dramatically increase energy levels, mental clarity, and learning ability.
But how exactly does PQQ provide all of these benefits? How does it work?
Let’s take a closer look…
What is PQQ? – What does it do?
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone, or PQQ, is also known as Methoxatin.
It acts like a fertilizer for mitochondria, encouraging them to grow in number, and helping them generate energy more efficiently.
Mitochondria are tiny organelles that live inside our cells. In the diagram below, they’re the oval shaped structures that look like Venus Fly Traps.
They convert energy sources like glucose into ATP, or Adenosine Triphosphate, which our cells use to power all of their operations.
When mitochondria are plentiful, and operating at full capacity, the entire body works better.
Naturally, any organ that uses a lot of energy has more mitochondria in it’s cells. This includes the heart, liver, kidneys, and brain.
Not surprisingly, PQQ has significant effects on brain cell function and overall cognitive performance.
Unfortunately, as we get older, the number of mitochondria in our cells declines.
Luckily, PQQ can counteract this process, which explains why it’s regarded by many as the ‘Holy Grail’ of anti-aging compounds.
You might be wondering at this point, if PQQ is so important, why didn’t I get the memo?
Shouldn’t it have been on the news or something?
Is PQQ a Vitamin? – The Classification Conundrum
The truth is, PQQ isn’t really a secret.
In 2018, the scientific community agreed that PQQ is a very unique ‘longevity vitamin’ that is necessary for long term health.
Are you confused yet?
So PQQ is now considered a micronutrient with vitamin-like qualities that isn’t actually a vitamin.
That’s how we understand PQQ today.
Clear as mud, right?
Speaking of mud…
I think it’s ironic that we found PQQ in space dust first, and later discovered that it’s here on Earth; in the earth.
Then we realized it’s in a lot of common foods…
PQQ Foods – Is it Essential for Good Health?
Researchers have found that when PQQ was purposely removed from the diet, growth impairment occurred in animal test subjects.
Based on these findings, we probably don’t want to suffer the consequences of PQQ deficiency, or conduct any human trials.
(Insert sarcasm here)
Luckily, PQQ is abundant in all kinds of foods like beans, potatoes, cocoa, kiwi, and spinach. It’s also found in human breast milk.
Clearly, PQQ is important to human health, so Nature has provided us with a steady supply.
The takeaway from this study is that any interruptions in energy metabolism can have a negative impact on physical development.
If a lack of PQQ can cause these kinds of issues in our body, what about the mind? Does PQQ deficiency lead to impaired brain development?
Furthermore, can the opposite be true? Can having extra PQQ in our diet increase energy levels enough to super charge our brains?
More to the point, does PQQ qualify as a nootropic?
What are Nootropics? – Can PQQ Pass the Test?
In order to determine whether PQQ is a genuine nootropic, we need a clear definition of a nootropic substance.
Nootropics are a class of compounds that enhance mental capacities with virtually no side effects.
The term ‘Nootropics’ was first coined by a Romanian psychiatrist named Dr. Corneliu Giurgea in 1972.
It comes from the Greek ‘noos’ meaning mind and ‘tropein’ meaning towards.
In order to consider a substance a nootropic, it has to possess these characteristics:
- Improves Memory & Focus
- Enhances Speed & Efficiency
- Protects the Brain from Damage
- Virtually No Side Effects
Based on these criteria, does PQQ make the grade?
Let’s dig a bit deeper, shall we?
PQQ for Brain Health – Mechanisms of Action
There are 3 main optimization pathways that PQQ uses to enhance cognitive function:
PQQ encourages the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain, which in turn accelerates the replication of mitochondria and brain cells.
Additional PQQ has also been shown to help mitochondria function more efficiently.
This enhances communication between neurons, leading to improved mental clarity and flexibility.
Last but not least, PQQ has been found to act as a powerful antioxidant, providing valuable protection for both mitochondria, and brain cells.
The benefits that result from these mechanisms are:
- Increased Mental Energy
- Better Memory
- Improved Learning
- Enhanced Mental Clarity
- Faster Decision Making
- Augmented Physical Endurance
- Improved Mood
When the mitochondria and brain cells are constantly being replenished, mental energy and flexibility are naturally improved.
This leads to a more fluid state of mind that allows faster reaction times and a higher level of performance.
People that supplement with PQQ also find that they have more ‘pep in their step’, and experience a feeling of overall well being.
This is all good.
But how does PQQ protect the brain? What are some of its’ other advantages?
Antioxidant Effects – PQQ for Improved Vitality
PQQ shields the body and nervous system from damage in the following ways:
- Protects DNA from Oxidation
- Prevents Glutamate Toxicity
- Blocks Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
Basically, it has the ability to form a chemical bond with free radicals, and render them harmless.
Anti-Aging Effects – How does PQQ Protect our Cells?
Free radicals are molecules that are chemically unstable, and are desperate to latch onto other structures in order to balance themselves out.
Kind of like a party goer that’s had one too many, but really really small.
If free radicals successfully hitch themselves to DNA or brain cells, they can do a lot of damage; at the molecular level.
This often results in tissues that are inflamed, extreme immune responses, and can even lead to cancer.
How potent is PQQ as an antioxidant? Just to put it into perspective, PQQ can neutralize free radicals 5,000 times as effectively as vitamin C!
That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me…
But we’re not done yet! PQQ also prevents glutamate toxicity.
What is Glutamate? – How can it cause Brain Damage?
Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that activates our ‘Fight-or-Flight’ response, and if it accumulates in our brain, bad things can happen.
We need glutamate to survive when we’re being chased by a bear, but too much can overstimulate our neurons.
When brain cells start vibrating like a harp string, they can die prematurely.
PQQ prevents this from happening by regulating glutamate activity in the brain.
PQQ for Alzheimer’s – How can it Help?
The density of mitochondria in our brain cells diminishes as we get older.
This results in less mental energy, opening a window of opportunity for neurodegenerative diseases to set in.
PQQ has also been shown to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease by reviving brain cells that are suffocating from energy depletion.
Pretty cool, huh?
So now that we know PQQ improves mental capacities, how should we use it for best results?
PQQ Dosage – Recommendations for Best Results
It’s estimated that we receive 100-400 mcg of PQQ every day from our regular diet.
However, in order to enhance our health and cognition, we need a lot more as a supplement.
PQQ is available in tablets and capsules, and the recommended dosage is 10-20 mg/day.
Older individuals can safely take up to 30 mg/day if they feel they need it to see significant improvements in their mental capacities.
PQQ was first found in space dust, and then later found to be all around us here on Earth.
It’s a naturally occurring micronutrient, and is very well tolerated by just about everybody.
PQQ Side Effects – How Safe is it?
There are no side effects to make anyone aware of other than increased energy levels and elevated mood.
Pronounced improvements in mental clarity and recall speed have been noticed by most people supplementing with PQQ.
The effects of PQQ have also been found to be cumulative; they build up the longer you take it.
Furthermore, when PQQ and CoQ10 are taken together, they support one another. They actually enhance each others effects!
This is why it’s common to see PQQ and CoQ10 pre-mixed in a lot of supplements on the market. Why sell them separately when they work better as a team?
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty impressed. PQQ has tons of benefits, and it’s extremely safe.
I think we have a winner!
Now that we’ve gone over how to use PQQ for best results, let’s take stock of everything we’ve learned…
Is PQQ a Nootropic? – Final Verdict
In answer to the question, “Is PQQ a nootropic”, I would have to say yes.
It meets all 4 criteria I mentioned above to be classified as a nootropic.
It improves cognition, enhances performance, protects brain cells from damage, and has no side effects.
In fact, I think PQQ could be a great addition to any cognitive enhancement plan.
It’s also readily available, and very affordable.
I just can’t see a down side to supplementing with it.
If you’re interested in trying PQQ, I recommend Performance Lab Energy.
PLE combines PQQ and CoQ10 so they augment each other’s effects, but it also contains ALCAR and ALA for the same reason.
It’s a fantastic nootropic stack. I highly recommend it. If you want to find out more, just use the link below:
In any case, if you need an energy boost, or are looking for a ‘Longevity Vitamin’, PQQ is your best choice.
Thanks for reading!
In my next article, I’ll be talking about Phenylethylamine, otherwise known as PEA.
It should be an interesting read, so don’t miss it!
See you there,