Coenzyme Q10 and PQQ may be the perfect power couple when it comes to
keeping the lights bright in your brain.
ATP is the power-currency for all cells in our body – including and especially neurons (nerve cells). ATP is made by the mitochondria (power generators) inside our cells. If our mitochondria fail to produce adequate power, our neurons cannot function properly and will eventually die.
When mitochondria decrease, or their output decreases, our brains implement a kind of “loadshedding” in the form of brain fog, fatigue, memory issues, difficulty concentrating and even depression or anxiety – there simply isn’t enough “power” to go around.
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential ingredient in the generation of energy in the mitochondria, while PQQ has been shown to increase the number of mitochondria (Jonscher, Chowanadisai & Rucker, 2021). If you have more of these essential compounds to generate power, and you have more power generators (mitochondria) to do it, then it would make sense that “loadshedding” is less likely to affect your brain.
As we age our bodies produces less CoQ10 so we become more dependent on external sources (such as organ meats or supplementation). Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant that has a protective function against neurological decline (Braun & Cohen, 2010).
This essential cofactor ensures our mitochondria are generating power at optimal levels and protects our valuable “generators” from oxidative damage. Power generating equipment needs ongoing maintenance if we are to ensure optimal function and CoQ10 may assist in doing this by reducing oxidative stress.
Our brain is the organ most affected by stress, it not only perceives the stressor but also determines and orchestrates the subsequent psychological and physiological response. Chronic stress has been shown to cause an imbalance in our neural circuitry which can have a detrimental effect on our cognition, decision making ability, anxiety, and mood (McEwen, 2017).
CoQ10 levels are reduced due to chronic stress, and as Maes et. al. (2009) showed, more than 50% of depressed patients had lowered levels of CoQ10 (the same was shown for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome). According to a 2020 study, fatigue, cognitive impairment, and difficulties coping with the stressors of daily life can be positively influenced by CoQ10 supplementation (Maguire, Hargreaves & Gill, 2020).
There is no doubt that increasing neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to modify, change, and adapt) can increase our “healthspan” and promote full enjoyment of life, as well as help us function at our peak cognitive ability. According to researchers, PQQ can potentially assist with this, through its ability to stimulate nerve growth factor (Yamaguchi, et. al., 1993).
In their small trial Nakano et. al. (2012) showed that vigour, fatigue, tension-anxiety, anger-hostility, and confusion were all improved after 8 weeks of BioPQQ® consumption. Sleep quality, duration as well as sleep onset and maintenance were also all significantly improved. Whenever we are well rested we feel full of vitality, our anxiety and irritability is decreased and we are able to focus and maintain optimum mental performance. Pyrroloquinoline quinone can help us achieve just that – optimum mental performance – which is why PQQ is often seen as a nootropic (a class of substances that can boost brain performance).
Whether our power generators decrease as we age, or perhaps our modern lives require more energy than what our equipment was previously designed to generate, both PQQ and CoQ10 can help us by building more cellular power generators, ensuring we continue to produce the energy we need to function.
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|Braun, L. & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs and Natural Supplements (3rd ed.) Elsevier|
|Jonscher, K. R., Chowanadisai, W., & Rucker, R. B. (2021). Pyrroloquinoline-Quinone Is More Than an Antioxidant: A Vitamin-like Accessory Factor Important in Health and Disease Prevention. Biomolecules, 11(10), 1441. DOI|
|Maes, M., Mihaylova, I., Kubera, M., Uytterhoeven, M., Vrydags, N., & Bosmans, E. (2009). Lower plasma Coenzyme Q10 in depression: a marker for treatment resistance and chronic fatigue in depression and a risk factor to cardiovascular disorder in that illness. Neuro endocrinology letters, 30(4), 462–469. PubMed|
|McEwen B. S. (2017). Neurobiological and Systemic Effects of Chronic Stress. Chronic stress (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 1, 2470547017692328. DOI|
|Maguire, Á., Hargreaves, A., & Gill, M. (2020). Coenzyme Q10 and neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders: relevance for schizophrenia. Nutritional neuroscience, 23(10), 756–769. DOI|
|Nakano, M., Yamamoto, T., Okamura, H., Tsuda, A., & Kowatari, Y. (2012). Effects of oral supplementation with pyrroloquinoline quinone on stress, fatigue, and sleep. Functional Foods in Health and Disease, 2(8), 307. DOI|
|Yamaguchi, K., Sasano, A., Urakami, T., Tsuji, T., & Kondo, K. (1993). Stimulation of nerve growth factor production by pyrroloquinoline quinone and its derivatives in vitro and in vivo. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 57(7), 1231–1233. DOI|