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An All-Natural Infertility Treatment for Men and Women
Ubiquinone, more popularly known as CoQ10 (short for Coenzyme-Q10), is a coenzyme present in every cell in the human body. It is required for cell maintenance and growth, detoxification (ubiquinone is a powerful antioxidant), energy generation, immune system modulation, and more. CoQ10’s prevalence in the body indicates its importance in the treatment of all kinds of health problems, including infertility in both men and women. Besides being a treatment for infertility, CoQ10 has also successfully been used to treat:
- Symptoms of aging
- Heart disease
- Brain disorders
- High blood pressure
- Skin problems
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Lung diseases (including asthma, COPD, and others)
- Mitochondrial disorders
- Periodontal diseases
- Muscular dystrophy
- Gastric ulcers
- Kidney failure
- Radiation injury
What is Ubiquinone / CoQ10?
CoQ10 is a naturally occurring antioxidant that is present in the mitochondria of all living cells (thus the name “ubiquinone”, related to the word “ubiquitous”, meaning that something is so common that it’s literally everywhere). Ubiquinone is intimately involved in the production of ATP, a compound necessary for the vast majority of cellular functions. Although CoQ10 is present in every cell in the body, it is present in particularly high concentrations in the liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, spleen, adrenal glands, and pancreas, all organs vital to survival with a high energy requirement. Therefore, adequate levels of CoQ10 are absolutely essential in order for the body to survive and thrive.
Though most people who eat a healthy, balanced diet are likely to get sufficient levels of CoQ10 through their food, there are times when supplementing with CoQ10 may give a person the boost they need to overcome a health challenge (in this case, we’re talking about infertility). Some people though may develop a CoQ10 deficiency or display abnormally low levels of the coenzyme if:
- They are deficient in vitamin B6 (this may be an issue for some particularly strict vegans or people following restrictive diets)
- They have a mitochondrial disease
- They have a genetic defect that prevents normal CoQ10 creation and/or usage
- Their tissues have higher demands than a normal person, whether due to disease or some other factor (such as aging or other forms of oxidative stress)
- They are taking statin medications (which can deplete CoQ10 levels)
Just like with any nutritional deficiency, having too little CoQ10 is likely to be a disadvantage for couples who are trying to conceive. However, in the absence of a formal “deficiency” in CoQ10, this natural substance can still be a valuable medicine for men and women with fertility issues and is worth incorporating into a well-rounded supplementation routine in combination with other fertility-increasing treatments.
CoQ10 for Infertility in Women
A woman’s eggs must develop and be “chosen” before being released. This process of development requires fairly high levels of cellular energy, and without that energy, poorer quality eggs might be chosen, or simply may not develop fully in order to be viable by the time they’re released. Since CoQ10 plays a critical role in cellular energy production, supplementing with this coenzyme may help a woman’s reproductive system to have adequate energy in order to develop and release healthy, viable eggs.
CoQ10 can also help reverse or stop the effects of aging on a woman’s eggs and reproductive system. Many women are aware that, as they age, their egg quality or supply is somewhat likely to deteriorate; CoQ10 is an antioxidant that specifically works to help treat the effects of aging, and is therefore specifically able to support older women who are trying to conceive (though younger women can benefit from CoQ10, too, of course).
The role of CoQ10 in healthy mitochondrial function can’t be overlooked when it comes to female fertility. Poor mitochondrial function leads to decreased energy production. Adequate energy production is necessary for the maturation of healthy oocytes, fertilization, biosynthesis of steroid hormones (like estrogen and progesterone), and early embryonic development. Without CoQ10, energy levels in the cells will fall, and all of these aforementioned reproductive functions will suffer.
Women of any age who have a reduced ovarian reserve (meaning that the number of viable eggs they have is lower than average) or poor ovarian response (meaning that their ovaries and reproductive organs don’t respond as well to sex hormones that direct actions like egg release) may benefit from supplementation with CoQ10. In one study, women with these conditions who took supplemental CoQ10 at a dose of 200mg, 3 times per day for 60 days demonstrated higher fertilization rates, higher quality embryos, and a higher number of retrieved oocytes. The women in the CoQ10 group also tended to be more likely to achieve clinical pregnancy and live birth.
A different study on women with PCOS noted that a combination of 180mg of CoQ10 with clomiphene citrate during ovulation induction improved clomiphene resistance and resulted in higher rates of clinical pregnancy than the women who hadn’t taken CoQ10 during ovulation induction. An analysis of women who underwent IUI and IVF treatments also noted that women who had taken 600mg of CoQ10 for 1 month (or longer) in combination with DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) required a lower dose of gonadotropins and had a higher number of mature follicles than women who had been treated with DHEA alone.
CoQ10 for Male Infertility
Notably, CoQ10 is present in comparatively high levels in human seminal fluid. Therefore, it makes sense to assume that it’s important when it comes to male fertility (or lack thereof). Some studies have noted that lower levels of CoQ10 in semen are directly correlated with decreased sperm count and motility, whereas higher levels of CoQ10 are correlated with higher sperm counts and better sperm motility. One study on a group of men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia (unexplained reduced sperm motility) noted that supplementation with the active form of CoQ10, ubiquinol, not only directly increased CoQ10 levels in the sperm cells and seminal fluid, but that it also improved sperm motility. Numerous other studies on men of various ages and from various countries have been able to produce similar encouraging results.
The studies that used CoQ10 successfully to treat male infertility administered between 200-400mg per day, usually in divided doses over the course of at least 3 months. The longer the study subjects took the CoQ10, the more the score on their seminal/sperm quality would increase, and the effects were noted to last up to even 12 months after stopping supplementation. Other positive impacts on male fertility that have been observed as a result of CoQ10 supplementation include improvements in:
- Sperm density
- Sperm morphology
- Seminal plasma antioxidant capacity (the sperm and seminal fluids were more resistant to oxidation)
How Much CoQ10 Should I Take? How to Take CoQ10 Supplements to Increase Fertility
CoQ10 is available in capsulized supplement form or as an oral spray. Some people may also have access to IV therapies or intramuscular injections that incorporate CoQ10. Ubiquinone should always be taken with a meal that includes oils or fats, or with another supplement like fish oil or an Omega fatty acids supplement, since it’s fat soluble and therefore best absorbed when taken with something fatty. If you want to incorporate dietary CoQ10 into your protocol, consider eating oily fish (like tuna and salmon), whole grains, dark leafy greens, muscle meats, organ means, and legumes (nuts, seeds, beans, etc).
There are 2 forms of CoQ10 that are available for supplementation: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Although both are valuable for the treatment of fertility and couples have reported success using both, it’s worth it to know that ubiquinone is somewhat less bioavailable than ubiquinol. Ubiquinone must be converted to ubiquinol (the active,reduced form of CoQ10) in the body involving a complex process before it can actually be used. Therefore, if you can, it may be helpful to get a CoQ10 supplement that contains ubiquinol rather than ubiquinone.
The dosage for CoQ10 is between 30-200mg per day. Most sources recommend taking 30-90mg daily in divided doses, but some people treating particular health issues may take up to 200mg per day. Other fertility specialists recommend taking up to 600mg per day of CoQ10 in certain cases. Some people report developing a rash or diarrhea following supplementation with CoQ10, which is a sign to back off and take a lower dose (if this happens to you, take a day or two off until symptoms disappear before restarting supplementation at the lower dose). Otherwise, in doses up to 900mg (the currently studied intake level) CoQ10 supplementation is generally very safe and carries few side effects.
Note that the effects of CoQ10 may take some time to be noticeably effective. Some studies have even observed a wait time of up to 8 weeks before any observable changes occurred in test subjects as a result of supplementation with CoQ10.
 Semeco, Arlene (2017). 9 Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Retrieved March 13, 2022 from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coenzyme-q10#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
 Saini, Rajiv (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The Essential Nutrient. Retrieved March 13, 2022 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3178961/
 CNY Fertility (2022). Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for Fertility. Retrieved March 13, 2022 from: https://www.cnyfertility.com/coq10-fertility/#:~:text=CoQ10%20supplementation%20has%20been%20shown,for%2090%2B%20days%20if%20possible
 Xu, Yangying, et. al. (2018). Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved March 13, 2022 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5870379/
 Balercia, G., et. al. (2009). Coenzyme Q10 and male infertility. Retrieved March 13, 2022 from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/bf03346521
 Salvio, Gianmaria, et. al. (2021). Coenzyme Q10 and Male Infertility: A Systematic Review. Retrieved March 13, 2022 from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/352000410_Coenzyme_Q10_and_Male_Infertility_A_Systematic_Review