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How PQQ delays aging (and speeds up fat loss)

PQQ's full name is pyrroloquinoline quinone [structural formula on the right]. The substance is found in lots of anti-aging supplement available in online stores. Products containing PQQ sell well, according to our sources. And if you read the in-vitro study that nutritionists at the University of California in Davis published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, you'll understand why.

PQQ is found in plant-based foods. Interesting sources include fermented soya beans, kiwis, green bell peppers and tofu. [Biochem J. 1995 Apr 15; 307(Pt 2): 331-333.]

Why PQQ delays aging (and speeds up fat loss)

After some animal studies [Science. 1989 Aug 25;245(4920):850-2.] researchers thought for a while that PQQ was a vitamin [Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):268-77.], but this is no longer the case. Nevertheless, lab animals don't react well to a diet without PQQ. [Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2003 Feb;228(2):160-6.] [J Nutr. 1994 May;124(5):744-53.]

The researchers exposed liver cells from mice to fairly small concentrations of PQQ.

The figure on the left below shows that PQQ boosted the activity of the mitochondria in the cells. The mitochondria are the cells' powerhouses. They convert nutrients into energy. The figure on the right below shows that PQQ boosted the cells' oxygen consumption. And the middle figure shows that the number of mitochondria increased as a result of PQQ.

Why PQQ delays aging (and speeds up fat loss)

How PQQ probably works is shown in the figures below. They show that PQQ increased the concentration of the signal molecule PGC-1-alpha. PGC-1-alpha plays a key role in biosynthesis and the functioning of the mitochondria.

Why PQQ delays aging (and speeds up fat loss)

Why PQQ delays aging (and speeds up fat loss)

Researchers can imitate cellular aging by exposing cells to the broad-spectrum pesticide rotenone [structural formula shown here]. Rotenone sabotages mitochondria. As you can see in the figures above, PQQ negates the effect of rotenone on oxygen consumption, and it also negates the effect of rotenone on the viability of cells.

That would suggest that PQQ is an anti-aging substance. Aging is to large degree the consequence of the declining function of mitochondria.

Substances that activate the functioning and production of mitochondria are interesting for endurance athletes as they may help boost performance. They are also interesting for people who want to reduce their fat mass, because they boost calorie burning. And they are interesting for people who want to delay the aging process.

How PQQ delays aging (and speeds up fat loss)
When the researchers compared the effect of PQQ with that of other nutrients that boost mitochondrial activity, it was PQQ that came out on top.

"Although other phytochemicals are associated with the activation of cell signaling pathways important to mitochondrial function, PQQ has properties that set it apart from other compounds", the researchers wrote in the conclusion of their publication. "As an example, resveratrol and genisten have been demonstrated to affect cell-signaling pathways, including those important for mitochondrial biogenesis."

"Resveratrol can induce deacetylation of PGC-1-alpha and AMP-activated protein kinase activation, which are potential mechanisms for PGC-1-alpha activation. Both resveratrol and genistein are relatively insoluble in water, and increasing its water solubility does not increase resveratrol absorption, although genistein bioavailability can be increased by complexing genistein with cyclodextrins. In contrast, PQQ is relatively water-soluble (more than 1 g of PQQ/liter of water) and is easily absorbed at low dietary concentrations intakes."

"Although genistein can induce PGC-1-alpha protein expression and mitochondrial biogenesis, genistein may also have phytoestrogenic properties because of its ability to activate the estrogen receptor."

"The observed effects of PQQ are also observed at concentrations lower than those for resveratrol and genistein, particularly in vivo. In cell cultures in vitro, PQQ causes changes in mitochondriogenesis and function at concentrations similar to those reported recently for small molecule activators of SIRT1, which are being explored for their therapeutic potential."

"These observations suggest that further study related to PQQ is warranted."

J Biol Chem. 2010 Jan 1;285(1):142-52.

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