Nearly 95% of the energy required to fuel our daily activities is provided by the tiny cellular powerhouse structures known as mitochondria. By the time we reach the age of 70, more than half of these critical energy-producing bodies have become damaged or are dysfunctional. Researchers now understand that the rate of mitochondrial decay is directly related to our length of life. Information presented in The Journal of Biological Chemistry provides startling evidence that a natural compound called pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) can protect mitochondria from free radical damage and stimulate the growth of fresh mitochondria.
PQQ exists in virtually every plant species tested. Most natural foods supply the nutrient in varying concentrations, though the human body is not capable of synthesizing the compound. It is therefore considered an essential micronutrient and studies published in The FASEB Journal show that PQQ must be supplied through diet to avoid the energy draining effects of mitochondrial decay.
A diet deficient in PQQ can lead to stunted growth, compromised immunity, impaired reproductive capability and fewer numbers of mitochondria in critical organs including the liver, heart and brain. Foods that have been processed or refined are void of PQQ and lead to lower energy levels and ultimately to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementia.
PQQ works at the cellular and genetic level to provide protection against mitochondrial damage and to promote the synthesis of new mitochondria structures. Organs with a high energy demand are the most vulnerable to loss of functional ability. The heart, brain and liver are among the most metabolically active and critical organs in the human body, and they benefit most from the protective nature provided by PQQ.
PQQ naturally occurs in most foods (in miniscule amounts) although the highest levels can be found in:
• Fermented Soybeans products such as Nattō (highest estimate of 61+/-31 ng/g wet weight, lower estimates in the range of 1.42 +/- 0.32ng/g)
• Green Soybeans (9.26+/-3.82ng/g wet weight)
• Spinach (7.02 +/- 2.17ng/g fresh weight)
• Rape blossoms (blossoms of the brassica napus plant at 5.44 +/- 0.8ng/g fresh weight)
• Field Mustard (5.54 +/-1.50ng/g fresh weight)
• Tofu (24.4+/-12.5ng/g wet weight)
• Teas from Camellia Sinensis, aka Green Tea (around 30ng/g dry weight of leaves) with the lower range of estimates at 0.16 +/- 0.05
• Green peppers, Parsely, and Kiwi fruits (around 30ng/g wet weight or so) although some estimates are lower (2.12 +/- 0.40ng/g for green peppers)
• Human Breast milk at 140-180ng/mL (total PQQ and IPQ)
Overall content of PQQ in foods seems to range from 0.19-7.02ng/g fresh weight in one study up to 3.7-61ng/g in another, low numbers may not adequately reflect total content in foods due to excluding IPQ in the measurements whereas higher levels tend to include both PQQ and IPQ.
The Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition provides research that highlights the importance of PQQ to the health and proper function of the entire central nervous system. The compound has been shown to reverse the cognitive impairment caused by chronic oxidative stress on delicate neurons, and it can improve performance on standardized memory tests. As this stress is believed to be a precursor to the development of Parkinson`s and Alzheimer`s disease, nutritional researchers believe the nutrient may be a key component in the prevention of these devastating conditions.
PQQ has demonstrated efficacy as a cardio-protective agent as it provides a powerful shield against free radicals that damage the heart muscle and mitochondrial DNA after a heart attack. Studies have shown that PQQ is more effective than health-damaging medications typically prescribed after a cardiac event. The compound boosted the energy producing capacity of the organ by protecting against acute oxidative stress.
Many scientific researchers now believe that mitochondrial dysfunction and the loss of cellular energy are linked to the development and progression of virtually all diseases of aging. The combination of CoQ10 to maintain mitochondrial function and PQQ to stimulate the development of new mitochondria is a natural way to preserve energy as we age.
Experts advise an intake of 20 mg per day of PQQ, the amount available from 8 to 10 servings of fresh vegetables (spinach, green pepper, parsley, tomato), to optimize energy production and lower risk from chronic disease of aging.
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