PQQ: Boost The Energy In Your Cells To Do Everything Better
By: Dave Asprey
January 21, 2015
If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your mitochondria and boost your energy with zero crash, look no further than PQQ, or pyrroloquinoline quinone, a supplement on the forefront of anti-aging science. Anti-aging starts at the cellular level and PQQ is an easy way to protect your cells, all while helping to improve the most mitochondrial-dense parts of your body like your brain and heart.
What is PQQ?
PQQ is a micronutrient that acts as an antioxidant in your body, protecting your cells (and specifically your mitochondria) from damaging free radicals. Most of the research around it has to do with mitochondrial density and function, which is why I found it so fascinating when I started researching supplements years ago. The more mitochondria you have and the better they function, the more energy and longevity you can expect.
You can find PQQ naturally in many foods, but not in super high amounts. It’s especially high in green tea, fermented soy (natto), spinach parsely, and green peppers. However, the more I learn about PQQ supplementation, the more I suggest taking it in higher amounts than you can find in a salad.
PQQ and Your Mitochondria
Mitochondria are the tiny organelles working to produce cellular ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, the energy currency of your cells. All the energy in your body – your movements, your breath, and your thoughts – ultimately come from mitochondria. Mitochondria are in every cell in your body, but mitochondrial density is greatest in the areas of your body that require the most energy, like your brain and your heart. That’s why a lot of the science around PQQ is for brain and heart function. And it’s showing some really promising results.
Mitochondrial dysfunction, on the other hand, is one of the main biomarkers of aging and disease. In fact, researchers can link mitochondrial dysfunction with nearly every disease associated with aging, from Alzheimer’s to heart failure. The good news is, you can make your mitochondria stronger.
My own mitochondrial function has been a focus of biohacking for years. A huge number of the things I do have a direct impact on how mitochondria work. Things like ketosis, Brain Octane Oil, high-intensity exercise, Bulletproof intermittent fasting, and avoiding the toxins that make you weak all help strengthen your mitochondria and create new ones.
If you find a way to improve your mitochondrial function, you’ll make energy more efficiently. One of the most exciting ways I’ve found of increasing mitochondrial function is the compound pyrroloquinoline quinone.
The Benefits of PQQ
There is a lot of research (note that most of these studies are in rats) supporting PQQ’s ability to kick your mitochondria into high gear. Specifically, research shows it can:
- Increase mitochondrial density to give you more energy
- Reduce inflammation
- Boost metabolism
- Combat oxidative stress
- Improve fertility
- Improve learning and memory ability
- Protect your heart
How PQQ Works
One of the most impressive qualities of PQQ in humans is its antioxidant effects. It’s about 100 times as powerful as vitamin C and increases Nrf2, a critical pathway that increases natural antioxidant production.
PQQ is also known for preventing the development of damaging proteins associated with Parkinson’s disease and can stimulate the release of nerve growth factor cells in the brain.
PQQ also affects the way your genes work. That’s right, it can activate the PGC-1a gene, sparking mitochondrial biogenesis (aka the growth of new mitochondria). This is one of the main reasons I teach people that it’s never too late to start biohacking. You can actually repair and regrow your mitochondria!
What Type of PQQ Should You Take?
I started taking 30-40mg of the common form of PQQ every day years ago. However, unlike other mitochondrial energizers, I never felt any effect. It’s possible it was doing something, but nothing detectable. PQQ is an expensive supplement, and I’m now convinced I was wasting my money and time on it.
The likely reason I didn’t feel any energy from large doses over an extended time is that it is sold as the “stabilized” disodium salt form because it’s more convenient for the manufacturer. Unfortunately, in humans, disodium salts precipitate when they are exposed to even small amounts of stomach acid. That means all that expensive PQQ I took was turning into little rocks in my stomach, and not helping my mitochondria the way I wanted it to.
PQQ Salt Verses Active PQQ
So what’s a biohacker to do?
You know what they say…if you want it done right…
I set out to synthesize PQQ directly, targeting an acid form of PQQ that would be at home in stomach acid, and bypass the problem with standard PQQ supplements. That is how ActivePQQ was born. ActivePQQ is the main ingredient in one of my favorite supplements to date: Unfair Advantage.
ActivePQQ improves PQQ absorption by creating a pre-colloidal and colloidal suspension with particle sizes so small they remain suspended in water. Unfair Advantage uses colloids – permanently suspended nanoparticles – of ActivePQQ and CoQ10 to create a supplement that activates mitochondria so powerfully that you can feel it work very quickly.
ActivePQQ and CoQ10 work well together as colloids because the CoQ10 helps the PQQ absorb – that’s why there’s a 2:1 ratio of CoQ10 to ActivePQQ. (I recommend you take larger doses of CoQ10 separately too!)
Unfair Advantage is the most important supplement I’ve ever created, and I’m really excited about it.
You owe it to yourself to take care of your mitochondria because mitochondrial dysfunction is behind nearly every degeneration that happens as you age. Whether or not you use Unfair Advantage, make sure you do something to grow your mitochondria and keep them healthy, like heavy resistance training, Bulletproof Intermittent fasting, cold thermogenesis, Brain Octane Oil, or even bright red LED light therapy.
Strong mitochondria make for strong people!