At the cell level, PQQ is a biochemical growth factor for mitochondria, the tiny dynamos within our cells that generate over 90 percent of our life energy.5 PQQ promotes mitochondrial survival, proliferation, and energy-generating performance.1-3 Beyond its mitochondrial effects, PQQ also can regulate cell development, cell signaling, even gene functions.2,6
In rats and mice, PQQ is known to be a vitamin-like “biofactor” necessary for healthy growth and fitness.1-3,7 For mice, having PQQ in the diet is necessary for healthy circulation, fertility, gastrointestinal function, and immunity. Mice made deficient in PQQ show reduction in both the numbers of mitochondria and the total volume of mitochondria per cell.7 These mitochondria also function at lower efficiency.1,7
PQQ is found in many common human foods, albeit in very small quantities,1,2 and is readily absorbed when taken by mouth.8 It is also present in human breast milk.9 PQQ has stimulated growth in cultured human cells, even when present at very low levels.10 In cultured human nerve cells, PQQ stimulated the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), an important growth factor for nerve cells located within and outside the brain.11
Two competently performed clinical trials are currently available to document PQQ’s human benefits.12,13 The first was conducted in Japan, on office workers with stress-related complaints.12 PQQ (20 mg per day for 8 weeks) improved fatigue recovery, sleep quality, and other quality of life measures. Appetite, vigor, tension, mood, self-control, and confusion were significantly improved. PQQ also significantly improved sleepiness at awakening, sleep onset and maintenance, and sleep duration.
An American clinical trial with PQQ was published in summary form, pending full publication.13 In this trial PQQ showed potent antioxidant and other tissue-supportive effects, and positively influenced mitochondrial function. The full potential of PQQ for human health remains to be elucidated, but it is highly probable that exciting new benefits will be discovered for this biochemically unique nutrient.
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