For many couples struggling with infertility, the quality of the female partner’s eggs (oocytes) can be a key factor. Poor egg quality can make it difficult for fertilization to occur, leading to failed attempts at conception.
While there are several factors that can impact egg quality, recent research has suggested that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation may be beneficial. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for improving egg quality, the scientific evidence supporting its use, and considerations for those interested in trying this approach.
Table of Contents
Good quality oocytes
The quality of a woman’s egg (oocyte) plays a key role in fertility and the ability to have a healthy baby. High-quality eggs have the chance of developing into an embryo, implanting in the uterus, and resulting in a successful pregnancy. As a woman’s ovary ages, the number of aneuploid eggs (with less or more than the required 23 chromosomes) are increasing. If conception occurs with an aneuploid egg, the embryo will either fail to implant in the uterus or will result in miscarriage. In some instances, the aneuploid embryos may result in chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome.The oocyte is one of the largest cells in the human body (approx. 110µm in diameter) and develops in the ovarian follicle. The maternal contribution to the oocyte and consequently the newly fertilized egg is enormous.
Boosting egg quality for family planning
Family planning may start with the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. The first steps may be:
- eating healthy and achieving a normal body mass index
- managing stress
- increasing blood flow by gentle movement
- quitting smoking and moderating alcohol and caffeine consumption
- taking supplements that are associated with egg health such as fish oil or coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 has been shown to be a safe and well-tolerated antioxidant treatment in humans, even during pregnancy.
CoQ10 in the context of oocyte quality
Good-quality oocytes require optimal mitochondrial function and adequate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels. In this context, CoQ10 supplementation may improve human oocyte quality and reproductive performance given its role in ATP synthesis and mitochondrial protection from oxidative stress.During family planning, CoQ10 therapy can be orally supplied to promote a more favorable environment for oocyte development in vivo (either in the case of natural family planning or prior to any assisted reproduction technique) or by its addition to culture media in an attempt to improve its quality during in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment.
CoQ10 as an oral supplementation
- A recent meta-analysis concluded that CoQ10 oral supplementation increased clinical pregnancy rates (CPR) compared to a placebo or no treatment group (28.8% vs. 14.1%).
- CoQ10 supplementation (600 mg/day for 2 months before ovarian stimulation) increased the ovarian response and the number of high-quality embryos in young women (<35 years) with poor ovarian reserve.
- Daily oral Q10 supplementation improves oxidative metabolism in the follicular fluid, which may improve oocyte quality in women over the age of 35 years.
- Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) also confirmed the positive effects of CoQ10 supplementation in the follicular environment. These women are characterized by large numbers of immature follicles and the usual inability to ovulate. Hence, an improvement in the ovarian response to stimulation may improve their overall success rates.
- Coenzyme Q10 is a safe and effective therapy that improves PCOS by improving insulin resistance, increasing sex hormone levels, and improving blood lipids.
- CoQ10 supplementation prior to ovarian stimulation for assisted reproduction treatment may improve the ovarian response to stimulation in aged patients by possibly creating a more suitable follicular environment.
CoQ10 addition to culture media
Alternatively, CoQ10 can be added directly to in vitro culture media, which comes into close contact with the oocyte. This can be done by adding CoQ10 to either standard culture media, in which already mature oocytes have been placed, or in vitro maturation media, in which immature oocytes are found.
Research indicates that oral CoQ10 supplementation may especially benefit women with the following conditions:
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- low ovarian reserve
- advanced age
- poor response to ovarian stimulation.
If you are affected by one of the conditions mentioned above and are about to grow your family, it may be worth considering coenzyme Q10 supplementation, which, in addition to improving egg quality, may have other beneficial effects on your body.
- Rodríguez-Varela C, Labarta E. Does Coenzyme Q10 supplementation improve human oocyte quality? Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Sep 2;22(17):9541.
- The online article can be found here.
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