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Neuroprotective and Cardioprotective Effects of Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ)

By Kelly C. Heim, Ph.D.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) was first identified in 1979 as an enzyme cofactor in microorganisms. This unique compound has since been characterized as an important growth factor in bacteria and plants and is widely distributed in nature. Significant dietary sources of PQQ include tea, green peppers, parsley and beans. PQQ is found naturally in human organs and tissues, with the highest levels in the spleen, pancreas, lung, kidney and breast milk. The chemistry and stability of PQQ enable it to efficiently catalyze successive oxidation and reduction reactions (redox cycles), which are essential to the function of many enzymes. The same properties lend PQQ powerful antioxidant activity, which has been demonstrated in a variety of experimental models. Although PQQ shares functional similarities with essential B-vitamins, it is not classified as such. However, significant physiological roles of PQQ are evident in studies of mice with PQQ deficiency, which exhibit growth impairment, immunosuppression, reduced fertility and mitochondrial dysfunction.

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