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Mind Your Ps and Qs

PQQ may be the antioxidant answer you are looking for to prevent or reverse age-related mental decline.

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PQQ (short for pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a vitamin-like compound found in plant foods that shows a wide range of benefits for brain function and energy production. Learn more about PQQ with the following Q&A.

What Exactly Does PQQ Do?

PQQ is an extremely potent antioxidant that is able to carry out the role of an antioxidant in the body more than 20,000 times, which is a rare thing. For example, other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are only able to accomplish this “cycling” process about four times.

Are There Any Food Sources of PQQ?

PQQ has been found in all plant foods analyzed to date. Particularly PPQ-rich foods include parsley, green peppers, kiwi, papaya, and tofu. These foods contain 2-3 mcg of PQQ per 100 grams. Green tea provides about the same amount per 4-oz. serving. While these amounts appear to be sufficient in helping our cells carry out their basic functions, research indicates that boosting PQQ through supplementation can produce some amazing effects.

Is PQQ an Essential Nutrient?

Based on research, there is no question that PQQ plays a critical role in human nutrition. The immune system seems particularly sensitive to low levels of PQQ.

What Is the Most Important Function of PQQ?

Energy production. In addition to PQQ’s powerful antioxidant effect, the nutrient helps protect mitochondria (the part of a cell responsible for generating energy) from oxidative stress. It also promotes the formation of new mitochondria within aging cells-this effect is a “fountain of youth” for the body’s mitochondrial function.

What Are PQQ’s Health Benefits/Uses?

PQQ offers considerable benefits for conditions revolving around low mitochondrial function, including aging, neurological diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), and chronic degenerative diseases. Current research has focused primarily on PQQ’s ability to protect memory and cognition in both aging animals and humans. Here are some of the effects noted in animal studies:

  • PQQ protects against a gene involved in an early stage of Parkinson’s disease.
  • PQQ protects brain cells against oxidative damage in models of strokes.
  • PQQ blocks the formation of several compounds that are especially damaging to brain cells, including mercury and oxidopamine (a potent neurotoxin used by scientists to induce Parkinson’s in laboratory animals).
  • PQQ protects nerve cells from the damaging effects of the beta-amyloid-protein linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

Has PQQ Been Studied on Humans?

Yes, preliminary clinical studies are encouraging and several larger trials are in process. While PQQ has been shown to be effective on its own at improving brain function, the best results have been seen when PQQ is combined with CoQ10.

What is the Proper Dosage for PQQ?

Based on research, a therapeutic dosage is 10-20 mg daily. There are also some clinical and observational studies that support using 20 mg daily for memory enhancement.

9 Natural Ways to Reduce Your Alzheimer’s Risk

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disorder associated with progressive dementia-a deterioration of memory and cognition. From a natural medicine perspective, the primary areas of intervention are prevention and treatment with natural measures to improve mental function in the early stages of the disease. Here are some therapies to consider:

  1. Take measures to improve blood sugar control and improve insulin sensitivity-these appear to be important steps in the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
  2. Polyphenols, found in grapes, grape seed extract, and red wine, have been shown to prevent beta-amyloid formation, a marker of Alzheimer’s.
  3. Take a magnesium supplement daily to help decrease the absorption of aluminum, a known neurotoxin.
  4. Take vitamin B12 daily, particularly if you are a senior. Studies show that a significant percentage of the geriatric population is affected by B vitamin deficiencies (particularly B12) linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
  5. Make sure you’re getting enough zinc-it’s one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the elderly and has been suggested as a major factor in the development of Alzheimer’s. Studies used 27 mg daily of zinc aspartate.
  6. Take 1,500 mg daily of acetyl-L-carnitine: results of using this nutrient to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s have been outstanding.
  7. Add a curcumin or turmeric supplement to your daily regimen. There is considerable experimental evidence that curcumin (a compound in the spice turmeric) protects against age-related brain damage and Alzheimer’s.
  8. Consider trying phosphatidylserine (PS), a major phospholipid in the brain. It plays a significant role in determining the integrity and fluidity of cell membranes.
  9. Don’t forget omega-3 fats: Regularly consuming fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids is a key dietary factor in Alzheimer’s prevention. If you don’t eat fish on a regular basis, take a fish oil supplement daily.