Formulas For Success is a monthly educational series from our leading formulation experts that covers the basics and fundamentals of trends in product formulation. Each month, we’ll be featuring an emerging ingredient or combination of ingredients and sharing the key tips you’ll need to discover your own formula for success.

If you’re not familiar with the essential nutrient PQQ, then you’re not alone. PQQ, or Pyrroloquinoline Quinone, is a rapidly emerging dietary ingredient which is found in nature in nano quantities, and is an essential micronutrient in living organisms. PQQ can be found in the cells of our bodies, where it protects and restores mitochondria for optimal cellular energy (ATP) production. It is a powerful antioxidant and stimulates growth and replication of the mitochondria. It also restores your nerve cells and nerve endings by enhancing the production of Nerve Growth Factor. These important roles that PQQ plays in cellular health and nutrition make it a necessary supplement for supporting a healthy brain and heart.

Formulating with PQQ

PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone) is available in 2 forms:

  • PQQ Disodium Salt – a water dispersible, reddish-brown, free-flowing powder
  • PQQ Acid – an oil soluble, reddish-brown, free flowing powder

PQQ Disodium Salt is very stable, has a 3 year shelf life, and can easily be incorporated into powdered drink mixes, tablets, capsules, chewables, effervescent tablets, candy, and gummies. PQQ Acid can be incorporated into oil based products like chocolates, softgels, and tinctures. PQQ Acid can also be emulsified for incorporation into ready-to-drink beverages and other water based foods and beverages. 

The recommended dosage for PQQ is 10 – 20mg per day. At this level, its slightly earthy taste can easily be masked in foods and beverages. Currently PQQ is available in the market as a stand alone dietary supplement, or in combination with synergistic ingredients like CoQ10. It is also available in powdered drink mixes and ready-to-drink beverages for sports nutrition. 

PQQ vs. COQ10

While PQQ may not be widely known, you’re likely familiar with its “cousin” ingredient CoQ10. But is PQQ a replacement for CoQ10? No!

PQQ and CoQ10 work side by side in the cells. In fact, you need both for maximum cellular energy production. They are powerful antioxidants, functioning independently, and have separate, unique functions which make them both essential.  The difference is that while the body produces CoQ10, you must obtain PQQ from your diet. So for many consumers, supplementing with PQQ is even more important.

PQQ and CoQ10 Short Term Memory Test Scores Graph
The benefits of PQQ in boosting short term memory are even more pronounced when paired with CoQ10

PQQ Formulation Example

Bars make for ideal product applications for energy ingredients. Adding PQQ into an energy bar is a great and delicious way to ensure consumption of the daily recommended PQQ. Adding a small amount to the bar does not affect the binding ability, taste, appearance, or shelf life. In the sample formulation below for an energy nut bar, our patented Vitamin E, which preserves the original α-tocopherol form for increased bioavailability, was added as a natural preservative for the oils in the bar. To keep the bar packed with energy but also healthy, SoPure Stevia Reb A and IMO syrup was applied to reduce the added sugar contents. All ingredients were blended with the hot binder in a mixer and rolled into a slab. A chocolate drizzle was added on top to provide an indulgent, tasty treat. This product was displayed at Supply Side West and met with wonderful feedback.

PQQ Formulation Solutions

Nascent Health Sciences supplies both PQQ Disodium Salt and PQQ Acid as stand-alone bulk ingredients which can easily be incorporated into a variety of applications. Nascent’s products are FDA Affirmed GRAS for food and beverage products.

Need the recipe for the energy nut bar? Or ready to create your own formula for success? If you’re interested in learning more about formulating with PQQ, contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!