An Update on Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) Supplementation for Women


 Let’s look at Coenzyme Q-10:

  • CoQ-10 is also known as ubiquinone. It is a fat-soluble compound that is naturally produced by the body and is also consumed in the diet.
  • CoQ-10 is found in nearly every cell within the human body.
  • CoQ-10 plays a key role in the production of energy within the mitochondria, the energy producing centers of a cell. Coenzyme Q-10 has been reported to increase cellular energy production. Organs with the highest energy needs have been shown to contain the highest CoQ-10 concentrations.
  • Co-Q-10 is a potent antioxidant.
  • The major dietary sources of CoQ-10 include organ meats (i.e. liver), oily fishes, whole grains, nuts and soybean and canola oil.
  • CoQ-10 supplementation has been helpful for a number of clinical conditions including:

                  – High blood pressure
                  – Congestive heart failure (CHF)
                  – Breast cancer
                  – Diabetes
                  – Neurologic disorders

Can CoQ-10 improve female infertility?

Female Fertility: As a women ages, it is well established that ovarian function declines. This is exhibited by reduced ovarian response to medications, lower pregnancy rates with an increase in miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities. With increasing age, mitochondria appear to produce less energy. This may lead to changes in egg maturation, reduced embryo growth and implantation as well as an increase in aneuploidy (abnormal chromosomal number).

Given this background information, let’s take a look at the currently available studies on CoQ-10 and female fertility. Most of the information currently available is from either animal models or from research in the laboratory.

  • In mice receiving CoQ-10 supplementation an increase in egg number, mitochondrial activity and pregnancy rates were observed in aging animals.
  • Supplementation of bovine embryos with CoQ-10 has shown improved embryo development.
  • Studies in both mice and humans have shown reduced CoQ-10 gene expression in cumulus cells and reduced CoQ10 levels in follicular fluid with aging.
  • A recent randomized clinical trial (2013) reported fewer embryos with chromosomal abnormalities in a group of women receiving 600 mg of CoQ-10 for 2 months with IVF and polar body biopsy. Pregnancy and live birth rates were not reported.

My take on CoQ-10 and Female fertility:

  • Currently there is limited evidence to show that taking CoQ-10 improves female fertility or pregnancy outcomes.
  • Further study is needed and is currently ongoing. We will likely see much more information on CoQ-10 in the next year.
  • The dose of CoQ-10 that may be helpful in women is 600 mg/day started two months prior to treatment.
  • CoQ-10 supplements are best absorbed with a meal containing fat. Divided doses may be better than once daily.
  • CoQ-10 appears very safe. Common side effects include upset stomach, nausea, headache and insomnia.