Do I need PQQ?

Do I need PQQ?

Margie GanderFeb 25, '20

I meet a lot of tired people. Their tiredness really worries them, and me. It's as if their bodies are screaming out for help and they know it but don't know what to do. If this sounds like you, you may very well need PQQ. 

To help you identify your tiredness, you may find that the following applies to you:

  1. You hit a mid-day or a late afternoon slump, craving coffee or sugar.
  2. You have brain fog. You have difficulty remembering small things or focusing.
  3. You struggle to motivate yourself to exercise but when you do, you feel energised.
  4. You get sick often.
  5. You feel inflamed either in your GUT or in your joints and muscles.
  6. Your CRP markers are high.
  7. You are tired yet you struggle to sleep well.
  8. You are ageing faster than your friends at the same age.

Many of these symptoms are an indication of chronic oxidative stress and inflammation. If you don't deal decisively with winding these back, you may very well be setting yourself up for more serious health problems. Enter PQQ. 

What is PQQ?

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is one of the most powerful anti-ageing and cognitive health nutrients. PQQ stimulates growth and serves as a cofactor for a special class of enzymes involved in cellular function including cellular growth, development, differentiation, protection, and survival.

PQQ is also an extremely powerful antioxidant capable of catalyzing continuous cycling (the ability to perform repeated oxidation and reduction reactions) to a much greater degree compared to other antioxidants. For example, around 100 times more effective than vitamin C at eliminating free radicals. 

Discovered in the late 1970s in Japan, PQQ is a small quinone molecule with now 100’s of clinical studies and real-world evidence supporting its positive effects on human health and wellbeing. Perhaps the most notable of these studies is PQQ’s impact on mitochondria. Mitochondria provide our cells with energy (ATP) and regulate cellular metabolism. Researchers have looked extensively at the impact PPQ has on mitochondria and has found that PQQ can increase the number of mitochondria as well as improve their functioning. You can see why I refer to PQQ as my "cellular energy, go-to-nutrient" - it goes to the very heart of what makes us vital.

What are the clinical uses of PQQ?

Given the important nutritional and biochemical effects of PQQ, there are considerable benefits of using PQQ in conditions that revolve around low mitochondrial function including in ageing, many brain and neurological diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease), and many other chronic degenerative diseases.

In health and wellness, PQQ can be used for:

  • Mitochondrial biogenesis – the creation of new mitochondria.  Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of human cells as they create adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the main source of energy in humans. As we age we have fewer and fewer mitochondria, PQQ is, therefore, able to counter this process.
  • Enhance Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) by 40-fold. As its name suggests, NGF is involved primarily in the growth, maintenance, survival of nerve cells and stimulating neurogenesis the creation of new neurons in the brain.
  • Reduces inflammation. A study revealed users of PQQ reduced c reactive protein (CRP) by up to 45%. CRP is a major inflammatory marker.
  • Improved sleep and well-being.
  • Improved mental cognition and memory recall
  • Activatation of your NrF2 pathway

Which foods are rich in PQQ 

Humans make 100 to 400 nanograms of PQQ each day. PQQ is most commonly found in: 

  • Breast milk
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Green peppers
  • Parsely
  • Celery
  • Egg
  • Meat products
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Fermented soybean products
  • Spinach
  • Tofu
  • Green tea 

When should I supplement with PQQ?

The PQQ content of even the most PQQ-rich foods is much lower than the amount you can get from a supplement. 

  • Mitochondria biosynthesis: 0.075 to 0.3mg/kg daily 
  • Inflammation: About 20mg in an average adult

  • More importantly, if you know that you have genetic variants in the key mitochondrial, and inflammation genes listed below; AND you can identify with the list of symptoms above; then you need to supplement with PQQ in order to better support these protein-coding pathways, your predisposition for oxidative stress and inflammation and protect yourself for cognitive decline. 

    If you would like to add in PQQ, we recommend this product due to its bioavailability in the recommend, clinical dosage of 20mg:



    Which genotype would benefit? 

    If you have a cellular defense, oxidative stress and/or inflammation genotype coupled with APOE4, then you are a great candidate for PQQ.

    PQQ depletion affects the way many genes are expressed. 

    For example, PQQ inhibits TrxR1(thioredoxin reductase) an enzyme that reduces thioredoxin (thioredoxin is a class of small redox proteins known to be present in all organisms. It plays a role in many important biological processes, including redox signaling. In humans, thioredoxins are encoded by TXN and TXN2 genes). Inhibition of TrxR1 activity increases NrF2 activity, ultimately leading to an increase in antioxidant production.

    Another key gene affected by PQQ is PGC-1. By activating PGC-1a, PQQ causes mitochondrial biogenesis (growth of new mitochondria) as well as a host of other beneficial effects.


    Gene Function  Test
    Vital for antioxidant activity within the cell, especially within the mitochondria.



    Encodes the pro-inflammatory marker C-reactive protein which assists in binding foreign and damaged cells to enhance phagocytosis by macrophages. Macrophages use the process of phagocytosis to engulf particles and then digest them. This is an important part of the immune regulation.





    IL-6 is essential for reducing the inflammatory process by promoting the synthesis of anti-inflammatory cytokines and by negatively regulating inflammatory targets. This protein has therefore been classified as having both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties.



    The protein encoded by the IL-1B gene is a member of the interleukin 1 (IL-1) cytokine family. IL-1 is an important regulator of immune responses and mediator of the inflammatory process and is involved in a variety of cellular activities, including cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis.



    Provides instructions for making a protein called apolipoprotein E. This protein combines with fats (lipids) in the body to form molecules called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are responsible for packaging cholesterol and other fats and carrying them through the bloodstream.



    Encodes is a basic leucine zipper protein that regulates the expression of antioxidant proteins that protect against oxidative damage triggered by injury and inflammation.



    Involved in several functions related to cellular energy balance including mitochondrial biogenesis, glucose, and fatty acid metabolism, and skeletal muscle remodeling.


    A deeper dive  

    1. Inflammation and Oxidative Stress: One human study used PQQ in 10 subjects (5 females, 5 males) the ages of 21–34 years. The subjects were given PQQ in a single dose (0.2 mg PQQ/kg) after which multiple measurements of plasma and urine PQQ levels and changes in antioxidant potential over a 48-hour period. Results indicated a significant increase in antioxidant potential even after this only one dosage. The same subjects were also given a daily dose of 0.3 mg PQQ/kg and had their blood measured for markers of inflammation (plasma C-reactive protein and interleukin (IL)-6 levels) and urinary metabolites related to energy metabolism before PQQ administration and 72 hours later.
    PQQ supplementation resulted in significant decreases in the levels of the inflammatory markers of plasma C-reactive protein and IL-6. Furthermore, the changes in urinary metabolites consistent with enhanced mitochondria-related functions. Healthy people who took 20 mg of PQQ had a significant decrease in the levels of CRP (by 45% after 3 weeks) and IL-6.
    A lower dosage didn’t decrease inflammation. Various urinary markers of oxidative stress also improved, which is consistent with enhanced mitochondrial function.
    2. Sleep and Fatigue: PQQ may improve sleep quality and lessen the time it takes to fall asleep. One study that used 20 mg of PQQ for 8 weeks in 17 people with fatigue or sleep-impairing disorder noted that PQQ was able to significantly improve sleep quality, with improvements in sleep duration and quality appearing at the first testing period after 4 weeks.
    It also led to a decrease in the time it took to fall asleep but required 8 weeks to reach significance.
    3. New Mitochondria: The Role of PGC-1a Mitochondrial biogenesis is linked to many health benefits such as reduced inflammation, increased longevity, improved energy utilisation, and protection from free radicals.
    PGC-1a is a “master regulator” that directly stimulates genes that promote mitochondrial and cellular respiration, growth, and proliferation. 

    4. Brain Function and neuroprotection: PQQ supplementation stimulated the production and release of nerve growth factors in cells that support neurons in the brain. This may help explain why increased PQQ is associated with improved measures of cognition and learning in ageing humans.

    If you would like support on how to improve your inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers, then book a session with me.





    Living in the know and being empowered with knowledge pertaining to your unique genotype and biomarkers, will enable you to make the right choices for your unique body and solve the puzzle of your tiredness.

    Marguerite Doig-Gander
    BA (Speech, Hearing & Lang Therapy) Hons | FMCHC | ReCODE Coach | Men's Health |  HMX Genomics & Biochemistry (Candidate)   


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