I think about this subject a lot. I’ve lectured about it… and this whole thing about returning to our roots is something I believe we need to do.
The problem is, when I say that, most people come back at me with, “But Dr. Sears, life was brutish back then.”
So I have to tell them, “I think you misunderstand. I’m not recommending we go back to the stone age. I’m saying that the change in our diet has caused a problem for us in modern times.”
We get a lot of calories, but we’ve been robbed of our main source of energy.
It’s true that our ancestors had a tough life. They were hunter-gatherers. They couldn’t always predict when their next meal would be. Some days they had very little to eat. Other days they feasted.
But here’s the strange thing. Hunger didn’t drain their energy. It increased their energy. Bouts of food shortages kicked up the energy production in their cells.
The good news is, you can tap into this ancient source of energy, too.
It has to do with your mitochondria. More than 95% of your body’s energy depends on tiny “organelles” in your cells. Each of your cells can contain hundreds or even thousands of these little power generators.
Over time, our cellular power plants wear out. They break down. We feel the energy drain as fatigue. But the newest research reveals you can reverse this decline in your mitochondria and have energy to spare.
We can do it through mitochondrial biogenesis. That process can boost the number of mitochondria in your cells.
It used to be that the only reliable way to create new mitochondria for energy was with intense exertion. But now we know of another way. A simple nutrient can do the same thing. It’s called pyrroloquinoline quinone or PQQ.
PQQ is a coenzyme like CoQ10. You probably know CoQ10 as an antioxidant, and the fuel that your cells use to make energy. It protects your mitochondria. It also boosts the energy output from each of your cellular power producers.
But PQQ goes even further. Yes, it protects the power plants you already have. But it also triggers the growth of new mitochondria.1
With new power plants, old cells can produce energy like new cells. That’s critical for your brain and your heart. Those organs use the most energy in your body. They’re “energy hogs” and can have as many as 2,500 mitochondria in every cell.
In animal studies PQQ helped heart muscle cells beat oxidative stress. It did it by boosting mitochondria numbers.2
PQQ also protects your brain, and gives you better memory and clearer thinging. Japanese researchers did a study where they gave some people 20 mg of PQQ every day. Others received 20 mg of PQQ plus 300 mg of CoQ10.
After 12 weeks the PQQ significantly improved their higher cognitive function and their memory. Those taking CoQ10 along with PQQ got an even bigger boost.3
I believe that someday PQQ will be classified as an essential micronutrient. It’s that important. So to help you get more PQQ, here’s what you can do right now:
- Your body can’t produce PQQ on its own. But you can get some from your food.
You can get PQQ in some foods, but the problem is, most people don’t know which ones they are, and that includes doctors and nutritionists.
PQQ-rich foods include parsley, green peppers, kiwi fruit, papaya, and the fermented (naturally produced, not processed) soy food called natto that the Japanese love to eat. These foods have about 2-3 mcg in a 100 gram serving. Green tea has about double that amount in an 8 ounce cup.
- These foods will give you some PQQ, and it’s good to eat them. But to build a lot of new mitochondria, this is a case where you’ll want to supplement.
Studies using 10 to 20 mg per day show extraordinary results. That’s a good place to start.
- You’ll want to be careful because most PQQ supplements on the market right now only give you a fraction of that amount. Make sure you’re getting enough to make a difference in how you feel.
- Take PQQ when you wake up in the morning or at least early in the day. It doesn’t matter if you take it with or without food.
- I also recommend taking PQQ with CoQ10 – not in place of it. CoQ10 is still critical. It helps all your mitochondria – the new and the old – pump out more energy.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Chowanadisai W, et. al. “Pyrroloquinoline quinone stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis through cAMP response element-binding protein phosphorylation and increased PGC-1alpha expression.” J Biol Chem. 2010;285(1):142-52.
2. Tao R, Karliner J, Simonis U, et al. “Pyrroloquinoline quinone preserves mitochondrial function and prevents oxidative injury in adult rat cardiac myocytes.” Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007;363(2):257-62.
3. Nakano M, Ubukata K, Yamamoto T, Yamaguchi H. “Effect of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) on mental status of middle-aged and elderly persons.” FOOD Style 21. 2009;13(7):50-3.