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CoQ10 and Male & Female Fertility

Several studies have shown that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) functions as a strong antioxidant, positively impacting processes like sperm and egg development. If you are struggling with infertility due to sperm or egg quality, supplementing yourself with CoQ10 could be beneficial.

To fully understand the power of CoQ10 we need to review our biology. From your high school biology class you might remember that inside each of our cells there are a number of compartments, or organelles, called mitochondria. These organelles are mainly responsible for generating the energy needed to power the cell's biochemical reactions, including cell division.

The number of mitochondria depends on the function of the cell. On an average, a cell has between 1,000 to 2,500 mitochondria. For example, heart muscle cells need more energy so they contain more mitochondria than any other organ in the body; about 5,000. A mature human egg cell, or oocyte, contains the highest number of mitochondria among human cells, ranging from 100,000 to 600,000 mitochondria per cell!

The energy generated by each mitochondrion is created by an internal process known as the electron transport chain. It turns out that CoQ10 is a vital part of the electron transport chain. When CoQ10 levels are higher, the electron transport chain works more quickly and efficiently to produce energy. When more energy is produced, cells function at a higher level; expressing significant antioxidant properties and decreasing the damaging effects of free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules produced as natural byproducts of daily life, such as toxin exposure, illness, and poor lifestyle. If left unchecked, free radicals can cause damage to our cells, including lipid peroxidation, modification of integral membrane proteins, DNA oxidation, and strand breaks. This damage, known as “oxidative stress,” can be detrimental to the health of our reproductive system; sperm and eggs.

CoQ10 can exist in the body as two different types; ubiquinol and ubiquinone. The main difference between the two is that ubiquinone has more electrons than ubiquinol. However, research shows that both types of CoQ10 function similarly in the body. One study concluded that: “CoQ10 appears in blood almost exclusively as ubiquinol, even if consumed as ubiquinone”, indicating that the body is capable of converting CoQ10 into its most effective form.

“CoQ10 appears in blood almost exclusively as ubiquinol, even if consumed as ubiquinone”

A study titled “Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging”, published in 2015 by the Aging Cell journal, concluded that:

“Impaired mitochondrial performance created by suboptimal CoQ10 availability can drive age-associated oocyte deficits causing infertility”.

Another study, titled “Effect of Ubiquinol Therapy on Sperm Parameters and Serum Testosterone Levels in Oligoasthenozoospermic Infertile Men”, published in 2015 by the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research, concluded that “The finding suggests that the supplementation of Ubiquinol may be beneficial for oligospermic patients”. The study also concluded that “the testosterone level is maintained during the study and morphology of flagella of sperm is improved”.

“The finding suggests that the supplementation of Ubiquinol may be beneficial for oligospermic patients”

An interesting point was brought up by one of the studies that I read, suggesting that in humans, CoQ10 concentrations decrease after 30 years of age in some tissues, and perhaps this contributes to the aging process. The timing of the age-related decline in CoQ10 availability seems to coincide with the decline in fertility and the increase in embryo defects.

There is also lots of data showing that taking CoQ10 during pregnancy can be very beneficial. One study published by Gynecology & Obstetrics concluded that:

“Supplementation with CoQ10 reduces the risk of developing pre-eclampsia in women at risk for the condition”.

In Conclusion

Several studies have shown that CoQ10 is a strong antioxidant that can positively impact sperm and egg quality. Supplementing yourself with CoQ10 could be beneficial. Although the observed safe upper level of CoQ10 for adults is 1200mg per day, most fertility specialists recommend taking anywhere between 100mg and 600mg daily. The absorption and bioavailability of CoQ10 depends on the capacity of a person to absorb a particular brand as well as how the brand was formulated. CoQ10 can also be acquired through food sources such as walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, avocado, sesame oil, sesame seeds, broccoli, parsley, soybeans, and extra virgin olive oil.

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