Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH

PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone) & MITOCHONDRIA


A relatively recent discovery – PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone), also called methoxatin, is new super potent antioxidant, cofactor, or enzyme booster, and nootropic, regarded by many as supercharged CoQ10 and stronger than other antioxidants.

PQQ, is a minor quinone molecule which has the ability to be a redox (reduction oxidation) agent. It means that when an antioxidant molecule neutralises an oxidised one and finally loses its own antioxidant properties PQQ (as a redox agent) can restore or recycle itself and other used up antioxidants, such as glutathione, back to the usable form. PQQ is so potent that it appears capable of reprocessing several thousand cycles of redox before it finally gets used up.

In our body PQQ is concentrated especially in the most vital organs such as the heart and the brain as they require the most energy.

Inside our cells PQQ is very active especially inside mitochondria (cellular power stations) protecting them against oxidative damage and thus boosting our mental and physical energy. According to Dr Derrick DeSilvas PQQ can even help to produce more mitochondria!

Human body contains 50-100 trillion cells and around 200 different types of cells. Each one of them is equipped with very important power stations called mitochondria which produce energy in the form of the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that our cells use for their own metabolic functions and detoxification. The same generated by mitochondria energy we use to complete everyday tasks like thinking, talking, working, etc. Unfortunately, due to the lack of exercise, high levels of toxins and free radicals, chronic stress, deficiency of antioxidants and nutrients mitochondria are unable to function properly and as a result we feel tired, can’t focus, have poor memory, weak immune system, and sluggish metabolism.

Researchers have looked extensively at the impact PQQ has on mitochondria and found that it can protect them, improve their efficiency, and increase their number. In this way it greatly benefits our metabolism, energy, cognitive function of the brain, and immune system.


Small amount of PQQ are most commonly found in kiwi, green peppers, fermented foods, beans, papaya, tofu and parsley.

PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone)


PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone), also called methoxatin, is found in soil and foods such as kiwifruit, as well as human breast milk. It is a cofactor similar in function to B vitamins and works as an extremely potent antioxidant capable of reducing damaging effect of free radicals and then being recycled by glutathione back into an active form. PQQ is capable of catalysing continuous cycling (the ability to perform repeated oxidation and reduction reactions) to a much greater degree compared to other antioxidants. PQQ is thought to be involved in a huge number of over 20,000 catalytic processes. Vitamin C, for instance, is involved in only four processes.

It has been suggested that PQQ should be added to the list of B vitamins due to its structural similarity especially to vitamin B2 and B3, and because we are unable to synthesise PQQ and therefore have to get it from foods such as parsley, green peppers, kiwi fruit, papaya and tofu. Unfortunately, even these foods contain only about 2-3 mcg per 100 grams.

If PQQ is deficient in diets of mammals it leads to growth impairment, weak immunity, and abnormal reproductive function. The nervous and immune system seem to be particularly sensitive to low levels of PQQ. PQQ deficiency may possibly contribute to multiple defects in immune function and loss of white blood cells to respond properly, leading to increased risk of infections, cancer and autoimmune diseases).

PQQ is found in mitochondria helping maintain their proper function by acting as a cofactor in various reactions. It helps create the energy carrying ATP from ADP. PQQ can not only increase the functional effectiveness of the mitochondria, but also their number, thus increasing energy production in all body cells and brain.

In addition, PQQ has a positive impact on NGF (Neuro Growth Factor) which is vital to the growth, repair and maintenance of neurons that transmit messages in the brain and to the rest of our body. PQQ can also increase nerve growth by as much as 40 times! In this way it can have a huge positive influence on cognitive improvement, mood, sleep, as well as nerve regeneration and function helping to prevent and treat various neurodegenerative problems including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions (>, >).

The evidence suggests that PQQ has also a radio-protective effect and may help alleviate fat-induced insulin resistance by increasing mitochondrial biogenesis in muscle cells, similar to exercise (>).

Seventeen adults (male and female) participated in a study attempting to evaluate the effectiveness of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) on stress, fatigue, quality of life and sleep. Participants ingested 20 mg of PQQ per day for 8 weeks. The results revealed that all measures of vigour, fatigue, tension, anxiety, depression, anger, sleep, obsession and pain, were improved significantly. The results also showed significant improvement in sleepiness at awakening, sleep onset and maintenance, and sleep duration (>).

PQQ has also demonstrated ability to protect against the likelihood of severe stroke in experimental animals (>, >).


PQQ is a very powerful antioxidant which prevents mitochondrial damage and promotes generation of new mitochondria in ageing cells, thus imposing a tremendous benefit on energy levels, immune and neurological health, metabolism and other numerous functions and aspects of health.


With regards to improving brain cognitive function, although PQQ is effective on its own, when it is combined with Coenzyme Q10 – even better results have been achieved. For instance, in one study involving 71 people aged between 40-70, supplementation with 20 mg per day of PQQ resulted in improvements on tests of higher cognitive function, but in the group taking a daily dose of 20 mg PQQ combined with 300 mg of CoQ10 the results were even better. Such outcome shouldn’t be surprising as both PQQ and CoQ10 are involved in mitochondrial energy production and also because the daily dose of CoQ1o in that experiment was really high.

High strength CoQ10 (100-300mg per day) are suggested for people over 50 and those on statins or other cholesterol lowering drugs as they are very effective in depleting this precious antioxidants from body cells (especially heart). In this case taking 20mg of PQQ with 100-300mg of CoQ10 seems to be a right choice, but otherwise 30-50mg of CoQ10 should be enough, all the more since PQQ is active on its own.


Although, the recommended daily intake for PQQ has not been established, it has been suggested that the nutritional requirements for this novel vitamin-like substance should be probably similar to folate (folic acid) or biotin. Therefore, the nutritional requirement of PQQ should be probably about 300 mcg to 1 mg a day.

However, in order to accomplish an effective therapeutic effect a higher doses of 10 to 20 mg of PQQ daily are recommended as it is based upon the equivalent dose in animals which has consistently improved various mitochondrial functions. There are also some clinical and observational studies that justify this dosage, especially 20 mg for enhancing memory.


A human trial using 20mg of PQQ alone or in combination with 300mg of CoQ10 concluded that there were no harmful side effects associated with 3 month treatment.


– Is PQQ the Next Nutrient Superstar?

– Coenzyme Q10 


– Summary of Pyrroloquinoline quinone: https://examine.com/supplements/pyrroloquinoline-quinone/#ref162

– Kobayashi M, et al. Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) prevents fibril formation of alpha-synuclein. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. (2006)

– Zhang JJ, Zhang RF, Meng XK. Protective effect of pyrroloquinoline quinone against Abeta-induced neurotoxicity in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Neurosci Lett. (2009)

– Nakano M, et al. Effect of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) on mental status of Middle-Aged and Elderly Persons. Food Style. (2009)


– Rucker R, Chowanadisai W, Nakano M. Potential physiological importance of pyrroloquinoline quinone. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):268-77.

– Paz MA, Martin P, Fluckiger R, et al. The catalysis of redox cycling by pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), PQQ derivatives, and isomers and the specificity of inhibitors. Anal Biochem 1996;238:145-149.


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