I wrote here on mitochondrial dysfunction in depth. But as a quick recap: mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cells, generating the body’s energy currency called ATP. They’re the last step in the process of converting glucose into energy.

Therefore, under-functioning mitochondria will have broad-reaching consequences, affecting potentially every body system. Fatigue, of course, is a big potential consequence, but there are many others as well, especially in the nervous system.

While sometimes dysfunction can be genetic, far more often it’s acquired, due to toxic exposures. If mitochondria are not functioning properly, as with anything, treatment should always address the cause—but supplementation can sometimes help. A number of nutrients can directly support the mitochondria, but one of the most promising is pyrroloquinoline quinone, or PQQ.

How PQQ Works

The body can’t make PQQ; it has to come from the diet. You can get it from kiwis, green peppers, and parsley, but it’s of course easier to get in higher concentrations via supplementation.

While most other mitochondrial supplements help sluggish mitochondria work better, PQQ has actually been shown to induce production of brand new mitochondria.

It has also been shown to protect cells against the mitochondrial suppression of certain chemicals–which makes sense, if the existing mitochondria are poisoned by a chemical exposure, and then PQQ helps produce new mitochondria with no such history.

PQQ also works as a great antioxidant, particularly in the nervous system. This is especially important when we’re talking about mitochondria, since oxidative stress has been established as the primary cause of age-related mitochondrial inhibition

Benefits of PQQ

Potential benefits of PQQ include:

The Upshot

While I still love the idea of getting all the nutrients we need from food in theory, unfortunately in our world it’s not usually possible. For this reason, I recommend that nearly everyone take at least four foundational supplements: a multivitamin, an essential fatty acid, a probiotic, and an antioxidant.

Given this list of benefits, PQQ is a great choice for the antioxidant, or a great synergist with other antioxidants. Typical dosing is around 10-20 mg per day.