COQ10, What is It, and How Can It Help?
Coenzyme Q10, AKA CoQ10, ubiquinone, or active compound ubiquinol) is a naturally-occurring antioxidant found in the body. More commonly known as a dietary supplement, it is naturally present in the body’s cells and plays a vital role in the process by which cells generate energy. It is particularly helpful in protecting skeletal muscles and organs that require greater amount of energy to perform effectively, i.e. the heart, liver and kidneys. CoQ10 protects cells from oxidative stress, (which can occur as a result of unhealthy diet, stress, environmental factors, lack of exercise, social isolation, etc), thus helping to maintain cell integrity.
So, how does this affect fertility?
The bodies reproductive cells, or gametes (ova and sperm), also benefit from the antioxidant effects of CoQ10!
Coenzyme Q10 has been observed to improve sperm motility.
To quote WebMD, “A new study shows that daily supplementation with coenzyme Q10 can help improve sperm movement in infertile men...Researchers say coenzyme Q10 is known to be active in the testes and is an antioxidant that plays an important role in forming the membranes and other structures within cells by fighting the effects of oxidative stress.”
A similar effect has been noted in the case of CoQ10 supplementation and egg quality. This study presented by Dr. Lorne Brown in Health Action Network Society (HANS) magazine,
‘A recent study from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on coenzyme-Q10 (CoQ10) and egg quality suggests that, in fact, it may be possible to improve egg quality and slow down or even reverse the aging process.
In the study, scientists found that by injecting old, retired breeder mice with the antioxidant CoQ10, they were able to stimulate more eggs to develop, and the genetic quality of these eggs--their youthfulness--resembled those of mice eggs in their reproductive prime. The offspring of these older mice, who were the equivalent of a 50-year human, were as healthy as those from younger mothers. It appeared that the CoQ10 was actually able to rejuvenate the mitochondria (the cell's power source) and repair damage to the DNA’ ( http://www.hans.org/magazine/995/Slowing-the-Reproductive-Clock).
Different sources cite different dosages. A daily dosage of 200 mg was used in the study that showed improved sperm motility after six months of supplementation. In the study showing a correlation between CoQ10 supplementation and egg quality, 100 mg per day was prescribed.
There is limited research on the toxicity of CoQ10. As reported on WebMD, mild insomnia has been observed in those taking 100 mg or more per day. Liver enzymes were slightly elevated in those taking 300 mg daily for extended periods of time, but liver toxicity has not been reported. CoQ10 in daily dosages of up to 1, 200 mg has actually been shown to be beneficial for those with Parkinson’s disease, and some research shows that its immune-boosting quality may prove as useful as a secondary treatment for cancer.
As CoQ10 is fat-soluble, it is more readily absorbed when taken with a meal containing fat. Ubiquinol, as opposed to ubiquinone, is the more active or easily assimilated form of CoQ10.
The typical American diet includes a daily amount of approximately 10mg of CoQ10. Good food sources are fish (like sardines and mackerel), meat (especially organ meats, like heart, liver, kidney), and sesame oil.
Always to be considered, especially with substances that are already naturally-occurring in the body, is that each substance is just one piece of a puzzle of a complex network of physiological processes. Taking supplements exogenously is not going to create quite the same complex as when these substances are produced naturally. As more research is conducted and more information gathered, however, it seems that CoQ10 is proving itself to be of significant benefit and another antioxidant option well-worth looking into.
Happy, healthy days to you all :)