What to know
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has beneficial effects on female fertility.
- Studies have shown that supplementation with CoQ10 can improve ovarian function
- CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant that improves egg quality in women 30+ years
A woman's age is one of the biggest risk factors for infertility, mainly due to the aging of egg cells.
Eggs, Ageing, and ART
More and more often, people are turning to assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as IVF, in the hope of having a baby. Whilst we are lucky to live in a time when this is possible, these technologies do not come without challenges. ART treatments are expensive, and can be emotionally and physically draining, especially if they don’t go to plan.
Many women experience poor response to elements of ART treatments, such as ovarian hyperstimulation, and end up with higher cycle cancellation rates, lower numbers of egg retrievals, lower quality eggs, and fewer embryos to transfer than hoped for. The frustration and disappointment that comes with a failed cycle only adds to the already existing challenges of ART treatments.3
CoQ10 and Fertility
CoQ10 has been used in anti-ageing skincare to help reduce wrinkles and give you that sought-after ‘glow’, but science has been looking into the ‘anti-ageing’ properties of CoQ10 for fertility too…with some seriously promising results.
CoQ10 Can Improve Fertility
A recent randomised controlled trial looked at 169 women under the age of 35 with poor ovarian reserve. They gave 1/2 the women CoQ10 supplements for 60 days prior to their IVF-ICSI cycle, and the other 1/2 had no pre-treatment. After the IVF cycle, the women in the CoQ10 group had higher numbers of egg retrievals, higher fertilisation rates, and more high-quality embryos.3
In addition to this, significantly less women in the CoQ10 group had cancelled embryo transfers because of poor embryo development than those in the control group (8.33% vs. 22.89%) and many more women from the CoQ10 group ended up with frozen embryos than the other group (a whopping 18.42% vs. just 4.3%).3
This systematic review looked at whether CoQ10 improved fertility outcomes for women undergoing ART treatment. It found that CoQ10 supplementation increased total clinical pregnancies for women undergoing ART treatment, and it was also shown to increase pregnancies for infertility subgroups of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and poor ovarian response.4
Although the exact reasons why some women experience poor ovarian response is not entirely clear, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction have been suggested as two potential causes. Mitochondrial dysfunction can increase oxidative stress, which has a similar effect on the reproductive cells as ageing does.4
CoQ10 is an antioxidant which combats oxidative stress! CoQ10 is thought to improve age-related deterioration of the egg cells by enhancing mitochondrial function, autophagy (the way your body reuses old/damaged cells), anti-apoptosis (reducing the death of cells), and regulating your immune system.5
The potential benefit of supplementing with CoQ10 on fertility is super promising. The above studies give a solid snapshot of what many more scientists have also discovered, that CoQ10 has promising anti-aging effects on egg cells, and can therefore be considered a valuable fertility-supporting supplement.
1. Ruth, Katherine S., Felix R. Day, Jazib Hussain, Ana Martínez-Marchal, Catherine E. Aiken, Ajuna Azad, Deborah J. Thompson et al. "Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing." Nature 596, no. 7872 (2021): 393-397.
2. Garcia, Desiree, Sarai Brazal, Amelia Rodriguez, Andres Prat, and Rita Vassena. "Knowledge of age-related fertility decline in women: A systematic review." European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 230 (2018): 109-118.
3. Xu, Yangying, Victoria Nisenblat, Cuiling Lu, Rong Li, Jie Qiao, Xiumei Zhen, and Shuyu Wang. "Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial." Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 16, no. 1 (2018): 1-11.
4. Florou, Panagiota, Panagiotis Anagnostis, Patroklos Theocharis, Michail Chourdakis, and Dimitrios G. Goulis. "Does coenzyme Q 10 supplementation improve fertility outcomes in women undergoing assisted reproductive technology procedures? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials." Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics 37 (2020): 2377-2387.
5. Yang, Liuqing, Heng Wang, SuJie Song, Hongbin Xu, Yun Chen, Saisai Tian, Yiqun Zhang, and Qin Zhang. "Systematic Understanding of Anti-Aging Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Oocyte Through a Network Pharmacology Approach." Frontiers in Endocrinology 13 (2022): 2.