Although taking nutritional supplements cannot guarantee conception in a person with infertility, certain supplements have been found to improve egg and sperm quality, especially when combined with a healthy lifestyle (i.e., diet, exercise, and stress reduction). Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in particular has been found in several studies to support reproductive health.
What Is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a molecule that exists naturally in the human body; it helps convert food into cellular energy and serves as an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help fight against free radicals (i.e., unstable molecules that can build up in cells and disrupt DNA, causing damage or death to the cell). CoQ10 is abundant in cells with high energy requirements, such as sperm and egg cells. CoQ10 is thought to help support healthy egg and sperm production. For example, one study showed that women who received pre-treatment of CoQ10 supplements for 60 days or longer resulted in improved egg health and higher fertilization rates. Because CoQ10 levels decline with age, it is often recommended as a dietary supplement for people with infertility.
The Science Behind CoQ10 and Fertility
There is a growing body of scientific evidence that CoQ10 has a positive impact on fertility. Several aspects of the science behind CoQ10 and its fertility effects are summarized below:
The development and maturation of sperm and eggs require large amounts of energy and are susceptible to oxidative stress/damage, a condition caused by too many free radicals.
CoQ10 plays a role in maintaining the energy levels required for reproduction.
Oxidative stress, which is linked with aging, can have a detrimental effect on fertility; CoQ10 is thought to help improve age-related fertility.
Egg quality dramatically affects a person’s ability to conceive; CoQ10 has been shown to improve egg quality by protecting eggs from the damaging effects of oxidative stress.
Conception requires healthy eggs, which are heavily impacted by mitochondrial function (i.e., the part of the cell that produces energy), as well as adequate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels. CoQ10 is thought to improve the quality of oocytes because of its role in protecting the mitochondria from oxidative damage and in synthesizing ATP.
CoQ10 is linked with an increase in sperm quality, including enhanced motility (movement), morphology (shape), and DNA integrity.
CoQ10 and Female Infertility
A 2018 study found that pretreatment with CoQ10 increased ovarian response to stimulation and improved egg and embryo quality in study participants, under age 35, with low ovarian reserve (i.e., the quantity and quality of eggs). In a 2020 study, women treated with assisted reproduction technologies (ART) indicated that those who took CoQ10 supplements realized an increase in pregnancy rates compared with those who took a placebo or received no supplementation.
CoQ10 and Male Infertility
The presence of high levels of free radicals can adversely affect the quality of sperm, impairing its ability to fertilize an egg. Studies show 30 to 80% of men have elevated free radical levels in their semen; these free radicals attack the sperm, negatively impacting the sperm’s fertilizing efficiency. A recent study found that antioxidant therapy, such as CoQ10 supplements, reversed sperm dysfunction caused by oxidative stress from free radicals. The group of men who took CoQ10 in the study had a significant increase in sperm concentration and sperm motility.
Explore CoQ10 Supplements for Fertility
To help support our patients on their fertility journeys, Aspire Dallas has partnered with NutraBloom®, which offers customized natural supplement recommendations for every stage of ART during the family-building process. You can find CoQ10 and other fertility-boosting supplements in the following NutraBloom Kits:
To find a more comprehensive list of products, visit NutraBloom®.
NutraBloom supplements are recommended by the nation’s leading fertility experts for their patients. Aspire Dallas is happy to partner with them in support of all fertility journeys. If you’re interested in learning more about fertility supplements, we invite you to connect with Aspire Dallas today and schedule a consultation.