Can CoQ10 improve fertility treatment and IVF outcomes? This article dives into the research about this popular antioxidant and if it can help fertility treatment outcomes. 

 

By women’s health expert and IVF veteran Halle Tecco, MBA, MPH

Coenzyme Q10, oftentimes referred to as CoQ10, is a powerful antioxidant naturally found in the body and in many food sources. CoQ10 is an essential component of cells needed for energy production. It is produced by the body and aids in the growth and maintenance of cells. 

It has shown a great deal of promise to affect various fertility parameters for those experiencing infertility. Although better quality and larger human studies are needed, CoQ10 represents little risk, has few side effects, and will likely improve overall health parameters beyond fertility. Here are some common questions about CoQ10 and fertility treatments.

Should I take CoQ10 before and during fertility treatments like IVF? 

Many clinics (like CCRM and Pacific Fertility Center) suggest CoQ10 supplementation to support egg quality and sperm health, but you should ask your REI if it makes sense in your specific situation. 

Can CoQ10 improve fertility treatment outcomes? 

Several studies have shown the benefits of taking CoQ10 supplementation during fertility treatments. Let’s look at a few different studies and their findings:

Giannubilo, Stefano Raffaele et al. (2018)

  • A randomized, controlled study of 30 patients undergoing IVF in Italy
  • Dosing: 200 mg/day CoQ10 for about a month before IVF
  • Findings: 88% of mature eggs were successfully fertilized in the CoQ10 group compared to 74% in the control group 
  • Excerpt: “Our observation leads to the hypothesis that the oral supplementation of CoQ10 may improve follicular fluid oxidative metabolism and oocyte quality, especially in over 35-year-old women.”

Xu, Yangying et al. (2018)

  • A prospective, randomized controlled study of 186 patients with POR (poor ovarian response) in China
  • Dosing: 200 mg CoQ10 three times a day, for a period of 60 days 
  • Findings: The median number of eggs retrieved was significantly higher after CoQ10 pre-treatment (four, compared to two eggs for the control group). The fertilization rate was significantly higher in women treated with CoQ10 than in controls, and the median number of high quality day-3 embryos available per patient in the CoQ10 group was one, compared to zero for the control group. Successful live birth was achieved in 22 women from the CoQ10 group, compared to 14 women from the control group.
  • Excerpt: “Pretreatment with CoQ10 improves ovarian response to stimulation and embryological parameters in young women with poor ovarian reserve in IVF-ICSI cycles. Further work is required to determine whether there is an effect on clinical treatment endpoints.”

“Pretreatment with CoQ10 improves ovarian response to stimulation and embryological parameters in young women with poor ovarian reserve in IVF-ICSI cycles.”

Refaeey, El, Abdelaziz et al. (2014)

  • A prospective randomized controlled trial of 101 infertile women with PCOS taking Clomid in Egypt
  • Dosing: 60 mg CoQ10 starting on Cycle Day 2
  • Findings: Women assigned to the CoQ10 group had significantly higher number of follicles, significantly thicker endometrial lining, increased ovulation rates, and higher pregnancy rate (37.3% vs 6%)
  • Excerpt: “Combination of CoQ10 and clomiphene citrate in the treatment of clomiphene-citrate-resistant PCOS patients improves ovulation and clinical pregnancy rates. It is an effective and safe option and can be considered before gonadotrophin therapy or laparoscopic ovarian drilling.”

Gat, Itai et al. (2015)

  • A retrospective study of 797 IUI cycles (330 with DHEA and CoQ10, and 467 with just DHEA)
  • Findings: Antral follicular count was higher and there were more follicles > 16mm for women taking DHEA and CoQ10, compared with those taking DHEA alone during IUI cycles. Pregnancy and delivery rates were similar for both groups.
  • Excerpt: “DHEA and CoQ10 significantly increases AFC and improves ovarian responsiveness during IUI… without a difference in clinical outcome.”
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How much CoQ10 should I take for IVF?

How much CoQ10 to take during fertility treatments depends on a few things. We’ve seen dosing ranging from 100 to 600 mg/day, so it’s best to ask your fertility doctor for suggested dosing based on your diagnosis.

According to the Micronutrient Information Center, there have been no reports of significant adverse side effects of CoQ10 at doses at 600 mg/day for up to 30 months. However, some people experience nausea, diarrhea, appetite suppression, heartburn, and abdominal discomfort, especially with doses over 200 mg/day. In this case, it is suggested to divide your dosing throughout the day instead of taking it all at once. 

When should I take CoQ10?

It is best to start taking CoQ10 before fertility treatments begin, since the clinical effect is not immediate and may take up to eight weeks. 

What time of day is best to take CoQ10? Since CoQ10 is fat-soluble, it is better absorbed when taken with a meal that contains oil or fat. Some people find that CoQ10 gives them energy and prefer to take in the morning and early afternoon.

When should I stop taking CoQ10?

Clinics seem to vary on when to stop taking CoQ10. Some suggest taking CoQ10 until the retrieval, others say take it until a positive pregnancy test, and yet others recommend taking CoQ10 throughout pregnancy and until you have finished growing your family. 

While there are no large studies on the safety of CoQ10 during pregnancy, the use of CoQ10 supplements (100 mg twice daily) from 20 weeks gestation was found to be safe. 

Should I take ubiquinone or ubiquinol?

CoQ10 is a natural antioxidant, and both forms of CoQ10—ubiquinol and ubiquinone— shift from one form to the other inside the body. In terms of absorption and bioavailability, there is no clear cut difference between ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Furthermore, more clinical trials, including those mentioned above, have been conducted with ubiquinone than ubiquinol. 

Best CoQ10 for fertility

The extensively-researched Natalist CoQ10 is formulated with premium, high bioavailability ingredients for maximum efficacy and potency. It is made in an ISO/IEC 17025:2005 certified facility, which exceeds the FDA cGMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) manufacturing standards (21 CFR 111). Certificates of analysis are reported for every batch of manufactured vitamin to ensure final product integrity and quality. Natalist vitamins are free of artificial and synthetic dyes and all allergens are disclosed on the label. 

 

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