A supplement I see many women choosing to take is CoQ10 (otherwise known as Ubiquinol), but does it help improve fertility and is it safe to take?
As a fertility nurse consultant, I see a lot of patients who want to try everything possible to boost their fertility. Taking the right supplements is one of the aspects I discuss with my patients. It is recommended that women who are trying to conceive take folic acid and vitamin D, however depending on previous medical history there may be other supplements that would be beneficial.
CoQ10 has been promoted as a treatment for heart disease, migraines, cancer and muscle soreness as well as infertility. CoQ10 is naturally present in the membrane of almost every cell in the body and is required for mitochondrial ATP synthesis, which is responsible for creating cellular energy, therefore CoQ10 has been called the ‘power supply’ of cells.
Research has suggested that the eggs of older women or young women with diminished ovarian reserve may not produce enough CoQ10, resulting in poor egg quality. Inadequate mitochondria have been associated with premature menopause, infertility and miscarriage.
CoQ10 supplementation became popular following animal studies in mice that identified better performance and longevity with supplementation. A more recent human study conducted in 2018 identified improvements in ovarian response to stimulation in young women with poor ovarian reserve undergoing IVF-ICSI cycles. The pregnancy rate was higher in women who used CoQ10 than in the control group, but the difference was not statistically significant. This study was conducted with a small sample size and have been criticised as poor quality, therefore further research is required to fully determine any benefits.
Another concern with regards to CoQ10, is that it is unclear what is a safe dose to take and we are unsure of what possible side effects of taking too much CoQ10.
So by way of a summary, CoQ10 supplementation does look encouraging in improving egg quality but more research is needed before I would recommend it as a supplement for women with poor ovarian reserve or for women with unexplained infertility.