I first read about Pyrroloquinoline Quinone or PQQ about 15 years ago. It was discovered in 1979 and was found to be an essential growth factor for bacteria. That led to the idea that PQQ may be the first new vitamin discovered in about 80 years. For while, it was thought to be essential to the growth process in humans, since that's the way it functioned in bacteria. But it turned out that the same growth process that occurs in bacteria isn't duplicated in humans. As such, PQQ soon lost its candidacy as a new vitamin. But PQQ turned out to have a few other qualities, mainly related to the development of new mitochondria in cells. The mitochondria are cigar-shaped organelles located in the portion of cells outside the cell nucleus known as the cytoplasm. Mitochondria are often called the "powerhouse" of cells, and the designation is fitting because the mitochondria are the site of both energy production that leads to adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the most elemental form of cellular energy, as well as the site of fat oxidation in a process called beta-oxidation. As such, mitochondria supply both energy to cells and affect the ability to oxidize fat. These are important features to anyone involved in bodybuilding, fitness, or sports. In recent years, however, the importance of mitochondria has reached new heights as ongoing studies show that they are heavily involved in the aging process, as well as maintaining energetic tissues of the body, including those in the brain and heart. Some scientists think that the aging of muscles is largely due to a gradual loss of mitochondria in muscle over the years. When mitochondria die out in cells, eventually the cell itself either dies or undergoes cellular senescence, which means that the cell is still there, but is not functioning or replicating anymore.
When animals are made deficient in PQQ, growth, and reproduction ceases. Indeed, this is what made scientists initially consider PQQ as a new vitamin for humans. But subsequent studies showed that PQQ didn't have the same effect in humans as it does in animals, which is why animal studies should always be considered just preliminary studies, not evidence for similar effects in humans. On the other hand, PQQ does exist in high levels in human milk, although exactly what it's doing there isn't known. It is also produced in minute amounts in the human body. In the body, PQQ binds to quinoproteins and modifies their activity. It may also work with another nutrient called coenzyme Q10, which also works as an antioxidant and promoter of mitochondrial activity. One interesting thing about PQQ is that it is a potent redox substance. That means it both promotes and prevents oxidation in the body. And as an antioxidant, it is far more potent than other common antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamins C and E. Some studies suggest it may be . . .