Here are the key takeaways I would share with you as a friend:
- The antioxidant CoQ10 may help with both male and female fertility, as well as miscarriage prevention.
- You should work with your doctor to determine the best type and dosage of CoQ10, especially as it can interact with some medications.
Forms of CoQ10 - Ubiquinol vs Ubiquinone
CoQ10 and Fertility - What the Research Says
CoQ10, Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)
Coq10 Safety & Side Effects
Next Steps to Consider
While oxidative stress is common, recent research shows that upping your levels of an antioxidant called CoQ10 may help combat this damage by neutralizing the effects of free radicals. This is promising because reducing oxidative stress may protect and preserve egg and sperm quality. 2 3
CoQ10 fertility research is continuously evolving, so we’re here to break down the facts on this unique nutrient.
In this article, we’ll explain what CoQ10 is, what the research says on CoQ10 and fertility for both men and women, safety precautions, and when to speak to your doctor about it.
What is CoQ10?
CoQ10 otherwise referred to as coenzyme Q10, is an antioxidant produced naturally by the body. It mainly lives in the mitochondria, our energy powerhouses that are responsible for many important bodily functions 4. The main role of antioxidants including CoQ10 is to protect our body from damage from free radicals and environmental scavengers all around us. These scavengers can affect our overall health as well as our ability to conceive5.
One of CoQ10’s core functions is keeping our cells healthy and preventing them from becoming damaged, including the cells responsible for reproduction. The potential health benefits of CoQ10 have been known for some time, but more recently it is gaining attention for its potential role in the fertility world.
Our levels of CoQ10 in the body decrease over time. Because of this much of the new research is about the potential role of CoQ10 supplementation in optimizing fertility after age 356.
Forms of CoQ10 – Ubiquinol vs Ubiquinone
There are 2 basic forms of CoQ10 you’ll find in supplements – ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Both forms are found naturally in the body. While both forms have been studied and are commonly used, many doctors have prescribed ubiquinol more often as it was thought to be more efficiently absorbed7.
However, newer research in the last few years shows there was no difference in circulating CoQ10 levels seen between the two forms when used as a supplement. The body has the ability to convert one form to another as needed8.
It is therefore recommended to check with your doctor regarding the best dose and form of CoQ10 for your needs.
CoQ10 and Fertility – What the Research Says
There are many ways CoQ10 may play a role in supporting both male and female reproductive health.
Many people may first think of women when it comes to infertility, but this is an unfair assumption. Men play a very large role as well. It is actually quite common for men to struggle with infertility, and in fact, close to ⅓ of all cases of infertility are in men9. Because of this, some CoQ10 fertility studies have been conducted specifically with male subjects.
It’s important to remember that infertility is caused by a variety of factors in both men and women. Always give yourself and your partner some grace and know you’re in this together10. And if you are struggling with infertility, it’s essential for the both of you to screen for possible causes.
CoQ10 and Fertility for Men
It has been observed that men with infertility often have lower levels of CoQ10 in the body. Decreased sperm count and sperm motility are 2 major causes of infertility that have been investigated in regard to the role of CoQ1011.
In a 3-month study, 65 men with infertility were divided into 2 groups – one group took a single dose of 200 mg/day of CoQ10 and the other took a single dose of 400 mg/day. Both groups experienced improved sperm count and other markers of fertility, but a greater improvement was seen in those taking the higher dose of 400 mg/day12.
A 2012 study evaluated the impact of CoQ10 supplementation on 228 men with unexplained infertility. The subjects were divided into 2 groups, one received 200 mg/day of CoQ10 and the other a placebo for 26 weeks. Those taking CoQ10 had improved fertility markers such as sperm motility and sperm density13.
Based on this research, it’s possible taking CoQ10 may support improved fertility markers in men. The exact dose has not yet been determined, but generally, a dose of 200-300 mg/day was used in the research14.
CoQ10 and Fertility for Women
Similar to men, there is also research about CoQ10 fertility for women. Specifically, if you have been diagnosed with a low ovarian reserve or poor egg quality, CoQ10 may play a role in improving these parameters.
A 2018 study involved 169 women under age 35 diagnosed with poor ovarian reserve (POR). One group received 200 mg of CoQ10 3 times a day for a total of 600 mg daily, and the other received a placebo for 60 days prior to an IVF cycle.
The women who took the CoQ10 had an improved ovarian response to stimulation. However, it was not considered statistically significant15. This means the results were not powerful enough to necessarily confirm they were because of the CoQ10.
On the other hand, a more recent 2020 systematic review was done further investigating CoQ10 and fertility in women. A systematic review evaluates several studies all at once – in this case, five different studies on CoQ10 and female fertility were reviewed. The results of these studies revealed that supplementing with CoQ10 may increase the chances of pregnancy but did not affect live birth or miscarriage rates16.
Based on the available research, it appears CoQ10 may improve markers of fertility in women.
CoQ10, Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)
While the research on CoQ10, miscarriage, and RPL rates is still emerging, there may be an association. Based on one study of 36 women, taking CoQ10 was shown to reduce inflammatory markers in those with antiphospholipid syndrome, a common cause of miscarriage and RPL17.
If CoQ10 provides therapeutic benefits for managing antiphospholipid syndrome, it may indirectly provide protection against pregnancy loss in these cases.
Another small study involved 20 women with a history of RPL, where they found those with a history of RPL had lower levels of CoQ10 in the body. The women taking CoQ10 had reduced inflammatory markers which are associated with a reduced risk of RPL18.
Based on these small studies, it appears that CoQ10 has the potential to reduce the risk of miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss. Larger studies are still needed to confirm this connection and determine optimal dosing for supplementation.
There is no established set dose for CoQ10. Recommended doses range from 100 to 600 mg per day for fertility. Taking smaller 100-200 mg doses throughout the day rather than one large dose is recommended for the best absorption. While there is no clear research yet to confirm, it is thought that doses over 200 mg may be harder to absorb if taken all at once or may increase the chances of side effects.
CoQ10 Safety & Side Effects
When taken as directed, no serious side effects have been seen to date from taking CoQ10. Even so, there are a few milder side effects that have been reported such as insomnia and digestive upset. Elevated liver enzymes may be a concern in doses over 300 mg/day, but no signs of liver toxicity have been reported.
In a few rare isolated cases, CoQ10 may interact with certain classes of drugs such as blood thinners, diabetes medications like insulin, and some forms of cancer treatment19.
When it comes to blood thinners, CoQ10 acts similar to vitamin K in that it promotes blood clotting, and therefore in theory it may interact with a medication that is trying to do the opposite – prevent blood clots. However, these potential interactions were isolated cases and were not seen to be a trend across a large number of people20.
In addition, many women with antiphospholipid syndrome are prescribed blood thinners as part of their treatment regimen in addition to CoQ10.
It’s always best to speak to your doctor before starting CoQ10 to see if it’s right for you, especially when taking any medications.
If you’re struggling with infertility, it can be hard to determine the best course of action. While CoQ10 seems to be associated with improved fertility in some people, there is still more research to be done. When it comes to optimizing fertility, it’s best to target it from all angles – diet, exercise, lifestyle, stress management, and supplements when appropriate.
Most importantly, always work with a trusted doctor for support and guidance in your journey to fertility.
Next Steps to Consider
- Download our free lab checklist for testing to consider if you’re experiencing infertility, including checking CoQ10 levels.
- Speak to your doctor and ask if CoQ10 may fit into your fertility plan. Ask whether ubiquinol or ubiquinone may be best for your needs.
- It may be best to take CoQ10 in smaller 100-200 mg doses 2-3 times per day for maximum absorption.
- If you’re feeling stuck, check out our 6-week Moving Forward program to guide you in your fertility journey.
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