Find out whether taking coenzyme Q10 for fertility can help you conceive
The market is full of products that are marketed as fertility supplements. Many of these products don’t have research that supports their use in fertility patients. However, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is different. Several researchers have performed studies that have examined the use of coenzyme Q10 for fertility.
The Austin fertility specialists at Texas Fertility Center work to bring the latest, proven developments to patients. As a result, our doctors may recommend this supplement to men and women in certain situations.
What is CoQ10?
CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound. It occurs naturally in most cells of the body. Specifically, coenzyme Q10 is present in the mitochondria, which we learned in school is the powerhouse of the cell.
It turns out CoQ10 is necessary for the basic function of cells and is the source of energy for the mitochondria. It also functions as an antioxidant. As a result, it provides protection against free radical damage within the mitochondria.
The body makes coenzyme Q10 by using an amino acid called tyrosine and vitamin B6. People can also get CoQ10 from eating meats (especially organ meats), sesame oil, soybeans, nuts and beans.
Why might a doctor recommend coenzyme Q10 for fertility?
When people hit their mid-20s, their level of CoQ10 begins to decline. The ability to absorb it does as well. Shortly after this time, specifically around the age of 30, women also start to see a decline in egg quality and quantity.
Some researchers believe that the age-related decline in egg quality could be due to a decrease in mitochondrial activity. As a result, they think using supplemental coenzyme Q10 for fertility could increase mitochondrial activity. The idea is that it would then help the ovaries perform better to result in higher pregnancy and live birth rates.
What does the research looking at CoQ10 indicate?
Using coenzyme Q10 for fertility is somewhat new to the public. However, researchers have been examining this powerful antioxidant for decades.
One Canadian study involving mice found promising evidence that CoQ10 helps older ovaries perform better. Older female mice that had CoQ10 had a similar number of ovulated eggs and a litter size as young female mice that had a placebo. Additionally, older female mice that had another drug called resveratrol had fewer ovulated eggs and smaller litter sizes than both groups.
Studies that have involved human women have found significant improvement in medication response among women who were poor responders in the past. Taking coenzyme Q10 also significantly reduced the rates of IVF cycle cancellation due to a poor response to medication.
Studies that have also started looking at using CoQ10 for men suggest that it can help improve sperm motility (movement) and sperm morphology (shape).
While these findings are promising, our Austin fertility specialists still need more research before recommending CoQ10 for fertility to all our patients. However, some patients are still interested in giving this supplement a try because it doesn’t appear to cause any harm.
If you’d like to learn more about taking coenzyme Q10 for fertility, contact us to schedule an appointment. We’ll provide the information you need to make an informed decision as you work to start or grow your family.