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Scientist examining cells and mitochondria and promoting production with PQQ

PQQ Revitalizes Aging Cells

PQQ promotes production of new mitochondria. Human studies continue to validate its efficacy. A recent animal model showed PQQ increased lifespan by 30%.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Marsha McCulloch, MS, RD.

Family smiling and laughing with promoted new mitochondria production

The mitochondria are referred to as the energy powerhouses of our cells.

But like parts in a machine, they become damaged and dysfunctional over time.1

Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with an array of age-related health problems, including insulin resistance, macular degeneration, cognitive decline, and osteoarthritis.2-4

A compound called pyrroloquinoline quinone(PQQ) helps stimulate the creation of healthy new mitochondria.5-8

This has the potential to ward off multiple health issues including blood sugar dysregulation, neurodegeneration, and more.9-12

In an animal model used to study longevity, PQQ increased lifespan by an average of 30%.13,14

Consider including 10 mg to 20 mg of PQQ each day as part of an anti-aging program.

What Is PQQ?

PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a water-soluble, vitamin-like compound found in plants, yeast, and certain bacteria.15

PQQ plays a key role in supporting mitochondria. These "power plants" of cells generate the energy that cells need to function.16

Mitochondria are critical regulators of cell processes, including immune system activation, cellular signaling, and inflammation.1,17,18

As we age, mitochondria become damaged.19 That can interfere with the function of many organs and tissues, especially ones with higher energy requirements. These include the heart, brain, retina, kidney, liver, pancreas, and musculoskeletal system.20

Supporting the Mitochondria

Wife and husband supplementing with PQQ to fortify mitochondria health

PQQ fortifies mitochondria in a few distinct ways:

  • In animal models, it has been shown to enhance the action of enzymes that help mitochondria increase energy production.21,22
  • In mice, it has improved mitophagy, the clearing out of defective mitochondria.23 Damaged mitochondria must be cleared to ensure cell survival.24
  • It promotes the creation of healthy, new mitochondria to replace those that are damaged or dysfunctional.5,25

PQQ boosts the synthesis of new mitochondria by activating a protein called PGC-1 alpha.11,26

In a study of healthy men who completed a 6-week aerobic training program, those given 20 mg of PQQ daily more than doubled their PGC-1 alpha levels. Men given a placebo had a significantly smaller increase of this mitochondrial-generating protein.6

In mouse models, PQQ helps undo the harm caused by dysfunctional mitochondria, reducing the tendency of chronic inflammation, and preventing oxidative damage.22,27

Promoting Longevity

The potential benefits of PQQ are so extraordinary, one of the world’s leading nutritional scientists has called it a "longevity vitamin."28

Increasing the number of healthy mitochondria can preserve youthful function and vitality.

Preclinical research has shown PQQ helps prevent or delay chronic, low-grade inflammation in cells. This inflammation is so closely tied to the aging process, it is sometimes referred to as inflammaging.29

When human lung cells were pretreated with PQQ and then exposed to inflammatory cytokines (signaling proteins), fewer dysfunctional senescent cells developed, compared to untreated cells.29 These senescent cells are a major driver of disease and accelerated aging.

Other research has shown PQQ promotes the activity of longevity genes.29 It also promotes resistance to oxidative stress, which helps ward off premature aging.13

These benefits add up. In a roundworm model used to study longevity, PQQ was found to increase lifespan by an average of 30%.13,14

Brain and Nerve Protection

Researcher examining dopamine structure that is reduced from Parkinson's disease

Mitochondrial function is vital for the health of the brain, which uses about 20% of the energy of the body.16

Mitochondrial production and function are impaired in both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.30,31 Research suggests mitophagy is also impaired in these brain conditions.24

Animal models of Parkinson’s disease show PQQ reduces the loss of neurons that produce dopamine.32 This nerve messenger is essential for regulating movement of the body. Dopamine shortfalls lead to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty walking, hallmarks of Parkinson’s.33

Preclinical research has also shown that PQQ protects nerve cells from damage from beta-amyloid, a harmful protein that accumulates in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.34

An animal model suggests PQQ may even help reduce brain damage when taken before or shortly after a stroke.35

What you need to know

PQQ Promotes Health and Longevity

  • In aging cells, mitochondria become damaged, trigger inflammation, and produce insufficient energy.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with many age-related health problems, including insulin resistance, macular degeneration, brain disorders, and joint pain.
  • PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a compound that can promote the recycling of defective mitochondria and the creation of healthy, new mitochondria.
  • In preclinical research, PQQ helps protect the health of the brain and eyes, reduce blood sugar and cholesterol, defend against kidney and liver damage, combat osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and more.
  • PQQ is sometimes referred to as a "longevity vitamin." In roundworms, it increased lifespan by an average of 30%.

Improved Eye Health

Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness.8

Cell studies from eyes of human donors with macular degeneration show under-functioning mitochondria in the retinal pigment epithelium.8

Without enough energy, this tissue can’t do its job.8

Abnormal mitochondrial function is also frequently found in glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, two other conditions that can lead to blindness.36

In a recent preclinical study, scientists used PQQ to treat retinal pigment epithelial cells from human organ donors who had age-related macular degeneration.8

About half of the tissue samples had a 50%–350% improvement in mitochondrial function of retinal pigment epithelial cells when PQQ was administered, compared to untreated donor cells.

Cells in the PQQ group also had a 59% increase in production of ATP, the energy currency that cells use.

PQQ also regulates antioxidant genes in the retinal cells, helping protect them from further damage.8

Preserving Metabolic Health

Mitochondrial dysfunction can also contribute to metabolic syndrome, obesity, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.21,37,38

Scientists treated obese rats with PQQ for five weeks. These rats had been fed a high-fat, high-fructose diet to induce metabolic dysfunction.21

Compared to an untreated group of obese rats, PQQ significantly:

  • Improved blood sugar control, insulin levels, and insulin sensitivity,
  • Lowered harmful inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-alpha and IL-6, and
  • Promoted healthier blood lipid levels, including total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and HDL ("good") cholesterol.

PQQ may also help prevent unhealthy heart enlargement, based on promising results from a cell-based model. This type of heart enlargement, known as cardiac hypertrophy, can be caused by excessive free radicals and inflammation.39

In this preclinical research, PQQ decreased free radicals in human heart cells by up to 50%. That could help reduce the risk of heart failure and other cardiac conditions.39

Averting Kidney and Liver Damage

High blood sugar and diabetes often lead to kidney damage. PQQ may help counteract these causes of kidney problems.

In an animal model of diabetes, rats given PQQ for four weeks had a significant decrease in free radicals in kidney tissue.40 Structural damage to the kidneys improved significantly and the kidneys worked better with PQQ, compared to the kidneys of untreated rats.

The liver is also vulnerable to the effects of metabolic dysfunction associated with diabetes and obesity.41

In a preclinical study of metabolic fatty liver disease, PQQ protected the liver from damaging fat accumulation. It did this by improving lipid metabolism, supporting the creation of new mitochondria, and boosting antioxidant protection.42

Supporting Musculoskeletal Health

X-ray of knee joint in motion that is supported by PQQ with antioxidant

Animal research has shown that PQQ can help combat the bone disease osteoporosis, in part by increasing antioxidant protection.43-45 Osteoporosis occurs when bone breakdown, a normal process, outpaces bone building.

One potential contributing factor for osteoporosis is an excess of free radicals that hastens bone breakdown. Hormone changes that happen with aging accelerate this process.45

In a postmenopausal animal model, PQQ was as effective as estrogen replacement at preventing bone loss—but without the side effects of hormone therapy.45

The antioxidant benefits of PQQ may also support the healing of bone fractures, according to another study using a postmenopausal animal model.27

Similarly, other research shows that the progression of osteoarthritis is related to oxidative stress.43

Cartilage cells are rich in mitochondria. Disruption of mitochondrial function increases oxidative stress and inflammation and damages the cartilage that cushions joints.46,47

In preclinical research, PQQ significantly decreased mitochondrial damage and dysfunction caused by inflammatory cytokines in the mitochondria of cartilage.48

Supporting mitochondrial health is crucial for healthy aging.


Doctor testing man's knee

Mitochondria, the energy factories of cells, play a key role in regulating the aging process and promoting longevity.

As we age, our mitochondria tend to wear out and become less likely to be replaced.

PQQ is a vitamin-like compound that promotes the production of healthy new mitochondria. It is also a potent antioxidant.

By supporting mitochondria, PQQ promotes the health of organs that are especially vulnerable to energy deficits and oxidative stress, including the brain, eyes, and heart.

In an animal model, it increased longevity by 30%.

Consider taking 10 mg to 20 mg of PQQ daily as part of an anti-aging program.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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