Protect yourself from dementia, stroke and brain injury with PQQ
(NaturalHealth365) According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia among older adults – currently affects roughly 5.5 million Americans. Another 795,000 people suffer a stroke – the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States – every year. But, as we often report at NaturalHealth365, there is hope found in the world of nutrition.
A vitamin-like nutrient known as PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is impressing researchers with its potential to prevent and even reverse this devastating disease. Remember, a ‘sick brain’ tends to always happen inside a ‘sick body.’
Avoiding dementia: PQQ has anti-aging effects
PQQ is an essential micronutrient with potent antioxidant properties. It is found in all plant foods – with potatoes, parsley, papaya, kiwi fruit and green tea serving as particularly rich sources.
The good news about PQQ is that it can help regenerate mitochondria, tiny organelles inside of cells that convert nutrients into energy. Health, energy level – even survival itself – are strongly associated with the number and health of mitochondria.
However, mitochondrial function declines with age – setting the stage for neurodegenerative conditions. In fact, researchers have found 50 percent more mitochondrial damage in the brain cells of people over 70 than in those of middle-aged subjects.
By promoting mitochondrial biogenesis (the growth of new mitochondria) and improving the function of existing mitochondria, PQQ helps to reverse cellular aging – leading to hopes that it could help vanquish debilitating illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
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PQQ suppresses production of toxic brain proteins tied to Alzheimer’s disease
Some of PQQ’s effects seem specifically designed to combat neurodegenerative diseases.
Conventionally speaking, one of the main ‘culprits’ of Alzheimer’s disease is the buildup of amyloid plaque. But, many within the integrative healthcare world have challenged that concept.
Having said all that: Within cell studies, PQQ had robust and powerful effects against these toxic proteins, with researchers noting that the nutrient decreased oxidative damage, prevented the death of brain cells – and even revived cells that had started to die.
In a study published in Prion, the researchers concluded that PQQ inhibited the formation of amyloid beta – and expressed their hope that PQQ could become a “leading anti-neurodegenerative compound.”
Other studies showed that PQQ had similar effects against alpha-synuclein, a toxic protein that contributes to Parkinson’s disease.
PQQ reduces neuroinflammation and post- stroke damage
PQQ also helps relieve inflammation in the brain – which may occur after injury, infection or stroke.
Neuroinflammation causes cognitive decline, speeds the aging process and promotes the onset of dementia.
In an animal study published in Journal of Neurotrauma, researchers found that three days of supplementation with 20 mg a day of PQQ decreased biomarkers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein and interleukin-6.
When given before a stroke, PQQ has been shown to reduce ischemic damage – the harm to the brain caused by loss of blood supply. Ischemic damage can include brain cell death and the loss of function in areas of the brain where the event occurred – with consequences of memory loss, paralysis and even death.
Incredibly, PQQ has been shown to reduce the size of the brain area damaged by stroke – and can even be beneficial when administered after a stroke or other traumatic brain injury.
PQQ protects against oxidative damage from high blood sugar and excitotoxicity
Chronic exposure to elevated blood glucose levels can damage brain cells – with researchers finding that diabetic patients are a stunning 60 percent more likely to develop dementia.
But, studies on PQQ’s ability to prevent blood sugar-associated damage have yielded promising results.
In one study, PQQ reversed brain damage in diabetic mice.
In a cell study, researchers found that the addition of PQQ reversed the damage caused by elevated glucose, preventing cell death and decreasing the production of harmful free radicals.
By activating molecules that protect brain cells, PQQ also works against excitotoxicity – the overstimulation of brain cells by glutamate – a major contributor to neurodegenerative disorders and stroke.
PQQ both discourages excitotoxicity and protects brain cells from its effects, reversing oxidative damage and cell death.
PQQ stimulates brain healing and preserves brain health, memory and cognition
Studies have shown that PQQ activates nerve growth factor in brain cells and causes the formation of new nerve cells, thereby promoting healing processes in the brain. In addition, it protects nerve stem and progenitor cells from oxidative damage.
Researchers say that nerve growth factor helps to maintains brain plasticity, which is vital to memory and learning.
Animal studies have supported the ability of supplementary PQQ to improve cognitive function and enhance memory and learning. In fact, one particularly intriguing study showed that PQQ boosted the ability of older rats to learn new information – pointing to possible benefits for ameliorating cognitive decline and dementia.
With these remarkable studies attesting to PQQ’s ability to protect brain health and target neurodegenerative diseases, it is likely that this micronutrient won’t remain in the background for much longer. Its potential for benefiting a variety of brain conditions in humans is just beginning to be explored.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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