• Supports brain function and neuroprotection
      • Supports healthy gut microbiota
      • Supports mitochondrial efficiency
      • Supports antioxidant defenses


Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is regarded as a nonvitamin growth factor, impacting metabolism and gene expression.


Even though it is not a cofactor (i.e., helper molecule) in any biochemical reaction, it does seem important for continued growth and function.


PQQ is often referred to as a mitochondrial nutrient, meaning that it promotes the efficiency of mitochondrial function, making dietary fats and sugars more capable of converting into energy.


In addition to assisting the gut microbiome, the immune system, antioxidant defenses, and cognition, PQQ plays a role in promoting health.


With aging, it seems to play an especially important role in supporting healthy memory and cognition.


Soy, spinach, parsley, and kiwifruit are some of the best food sources.


Mitochondrial biogenesis


  • Upregulates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha (PGC1α)[1–3]
  • Upregulates nuclear transcription factors of mitochondrial biogenesis (Nuclear Respiratory Factor 1 [NRF-1], NRF-2, mitochondrial transcription factor A [TFAM])[1–3]
  • Upregulates mitochondrial size/density/number[1,3]
  • Supports mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) amount[1–3]


Mitochondrial function and efficiency


  • Supports citric acid cycle function[1,2,4]
  • Supports mitochondrial complex I-V performance[1,2]
  • Upregulates the NAD+ pool[3]


Mitochondrial structure


  • Supports mitochondrial membrane potential[5]


Cellular metabolism


  • PQQ upregulates the enzymatic activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) to convert lactate to pyruvate via the oxidation of NADH to NAD+[6]
  • By upregulating pyruvate levels, PQQ supports ATP production via the mitochondrial citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation[6]


Signaling pathways


  • Upregulates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling[3]
  • Upregulates liver kinase B1 (LKB1)[3]
  • Upregulates SIRT-1[3]


Antioxidant defenses


  • PQQ is reduced to PQQH2 by reaction with reducing agents such as NADPH or glutathione; PQQH2 has antioxidant properties[7]
  • Downregulates oxidative stress and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS)[4,5,8,9]


Brain function


  • Neuroprotective against neurotoxic agents[8–11]
  • Upregulates nerve growth factor (NGF) production[12]
  • Supports cerebral blood flow[13]
  • Supports attention and working memory[13]
  • Supports sleep and protects from fatigue and stress[14]


Gut microbiota


  • Regulates the composition of the gut microbiota[15]
  • Supports gut barrier function[16]
  • Downregulates gut oxidative stress[16]
  • Regulates gut cytokine signaling[15,16]


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[1] W. Chowanadisai et al., J. Biol. Chem. 285, 142–152 (2010).
[2] E. Tchaparian et al., Biochem. J. 429, 515–526 (2010).
[3] K. Saihara, R. Kamikubo, K. Ikemoto, K. Uchida, M. Akagawa, Biochemistry. 56, 6615–6625 (2017).
[4] C. B. Harris et al., J. Nutr. Biochem. 24, 2076–2084 (2013).
[5] R. Tao et al., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 363, 257–262 (2007).
[6] M. Akagawa et al., Sci. Rep. 6, 26723 (2016).
[7] M. Akagawa, M. Nakano, K. Ikemoto, Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 80, 13–22 (2016).
[8] Q. Zhang, M. Shen, M. Ding, D. Shen, F. Ding, Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 252, 62–72 (2011).
[9] J.-J. Zhang, R.-F. Zhang, X.-K. Meng, Neurosci. Lett. 464, 165–169 (2009).
[10] E. Aizenman, K. A. Hartnett, C. Zhong, P. M. Gallop, P. A. Rosenberg, J. Neurosci. 12, 2362–2369 (1992).
[11] J. Kim, R. Harada, M. Kobayashi, N. Kobayashi, K. Sode, Mol. Neurodegener. 5, 20 (2010).
[12] K. Yamaguchi, A. Sasano, T. Urakami, T. Tsuji, K. Kondo, Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 57, 1231–1233 (1993).
[13] Y. Itoh et al., Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 876, 319–325 (2016).
[14] M. Nakano, T. Yamamoto, H. Okamura, A. Tsuda, Y. Kowatari, Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2, 307–324 (2012).
[15] J. E. Friedman et al., Hepatol Commun. 2, 313–328 (2018).
[16] X. Yin et al., J. Anim. Sci. (2018), doi:10.1093/jas/sky387.