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As the frequent diagnosis and awareness of neurocognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease have increased, so has an interest in brain health. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, the number of people in the United Kingdom living with dementia was estimated to be close to one million in 2021 (944,000), by 2050 this figure is expected to rise to 1.6 million[1]. Here’s how an antioxidant compound known as MGCPQQ can support brain health.

For the average adult, brain development peaks at age 25. After age 40, brain volume begins to decrease at a rate of five percent per decade. Neurons and their connecting pathways start shrinking, and after age 70 the rate of decline increases even further.[2] Evidently, the risk of developing dementia increases exponentially with age and with 1 in 14 adults over the age of 65 diagnosed with dementia in the United Kingdom.[3] It comes as no surprise that older consumers are interested in nourishing their brain to prevent declining cognitive function.

Beyond older consumers, millennials are also inclined to purchase products that help promote brain health. In fact, 47% of millennials have reported increasing their vitamin and supplement usage since the COVID-19 pandemic began[4]. It’s estimated that the global brain health supplements market will reach $14.75 billion by 2030. As the appetite for nutritional supplements aimed at enhancing brain health grows, it’s important for consumers to consider products using ingredients that are authenticated by research and clinical studies.

What is MGCPQQ?

Numerous clinical studies have confirmed a link between brain health and other benefits with a naturally occurring antioxidant ingredient called pyrroloquinoline quinone, or PQQ. The ingredient is found in trace amounts in vegetables, fruits and meat, and has been commercialized as a nutraceutical. Research indicates that the PQQ compound may play a part in delaying aging and improving cognitive function, in both humans and animals. A few early findings show that it may also support heart health, reduce stress and improve sleep.

A natural source of PQQ was developed by Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., Inc. (MGC) in Japan under the brand name MGCPQQ® in Europe. It is also known as BioPQQ® in the United States, Canada and Japan. MGCPQQ has significantly higher antioxidant properties than Vitamin C and E. Plus, as an antioxidant ingredient, it has been shown to remove active oxygen radicals that are often linked to “oxidative stress”. These can contribute to neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. In this way, PQQ may protect neurons in the brain that are susceptible to cell damage.

Mitochondria matters

In addition to providing antioxidant protection to brain cells, research indicates that MGCPQQ may contribute to the development and health of mitochondria. These are responsible for regulating cognitive function, memory, energy and mood.

A healthy body continually creates mitochondria in a process known as mitochondrial biogenesis. As we age, our mitochondrial function declines. This leads to weakened functioning of the brain and other vital organs. MGCPQQ appears to increase and enhance mitochondrial biogenesis. Essentially, this means it infuses the cells with energy, resulting in the growth of mitochondria clusters in cells.

Some of the studies indicating improvements in brain health and mood have shown improved learning, better focus, improved memory, and reduced depression and anxiety amongst subjects.

Safe ingredients backed by science

In the realm of nutraceuticals, trust is paramount. While there may be an array of products for brain health available to consumers, only those backed by documented studies and clinical trial data should be considered safe and effective. Which is why MGC has been rigorously testing MGCPQQ to prove its safety and efficacy in more than 1,000 in vitro, animal and human clinical studies over the past 40 years.

In fact, it is the only PQQ ingredient to be successfully evaluated for its safety and quality by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It also appears on the European Union’s approved list of Novel Foods. For that reason, it is the only PQQ legally allowed to be sold in the EU.

As consumers scout the market for supplements to help maintain and improve brain health, it is evident that MGCPQQ has the benefits and accreditation consumers are looking for in a brain booster ingredient.

For more information about MGCPQQ, visit mgcpqq.eu/.

By Atsushi Sugimoto, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical

[1]Luengo-Fernandez, R. & Landeiro, F. (in preparation). The Economic Burden of Dementia in the UK.
[2] Source: R. Peters, “Ageing and the brain.” Postgrad Med J. 2006 Feb; 82(964): 84-88
[3] Wittenberg, R., et al. (2019). Projections of older people living with dementia and costs of dementia care in the United Kingdom, 2019-2040.
[4] Mintel US Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Market Report 2022