Who should take CoQ10 for fertility?
I want to begin by strongly suggesting that if you haven’t started trying to conceive, start without any supplements including CoQ10. Trust your body. Many women become pregnant the “old fashioned way”.
I do believe that part of women’s struggle today with conceiving, is that they begin supplementing and medicating too early.
When you start ttc it is a good idea to track your fertility using the fertility awareness method. Learn about your cycle and when you ovulate even before you start ttc. Follow a healthy lifestyle. By that I mean, eat a balanced diet, exercise, de-stress and take gummy prenatal vitamins, DHA supplements and choline supplements. I understand you will want to get pregnant as soon as you start ttc, but first give your body a chance without adding supplements.
Once you have been trying to get pregnant naturally and you are ready to add a supplement, I would recommend CoQ10 for fertility. It exists naturally in your body, so there is a low risk of negative side effects. It is generally safe in pregnancy and the current research into CoQ10 is very promising.
I would generally recommend coenzyme Q10 for anyone who has been trying to get pregnant for 3-6 months without success. However, I would especially recommend CoQ10 for women older than 35, women going through IVF and women who have experienced multiple miscarriages. Women over 35 have been found to have decreasing concentrations of CoQ10 in their ovarian follicles surrounding their eggs. CoQ10 can also be beneficial for women with premature ovarian aging. This basically defines younger women whose ovaries act like they are in women over 35.
What Does Coenzyme Q10 Do? Improve egg quality.
CoQ10, or coenzyme Q10, generally improves egg quality. It is beneficial for women who are older, women who are having trouble becoming pregnant, and for women experiencing multiple miscarriages.
Coenzyme Q10 allows ovarian mitochondria to produce energy. This in turn allows eggs to complete maturation without chromosomal errors. This is why decreasing levels of CoQ10 can result in decreased ovarian reserve, poor egg quality, and repeat miscarriages.
Studies have found that the Coenzyme Q10 concentration in tissues decreases in women as they age. CoQ10 is involved in energy production and is necessary for egg maturation.
In a recent study from 2015, researchers evaluated the efficacy of supplementing female mice with CoQ10. The study found that CoQ10 supplementation improved ovarian reserve and oocyte, or egg, quality. The mice ovulated more eggs and as a result had more live births. While this study is evaluating mice, we can expect humans to respond in a similar way.
In Jan 2013 the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) published a review of the role of aging in declining pregnancy and birth rates. The review pointed to the age-related decline in CoQ10 and subsequent decrease in fertility outcomes among older women. Once again this review supported CoQ10 supplementation specifically in older women.
When to Start CoQ10 for fertility?
CoQ10 could be especially beneficial for women undergoing infertility treatment, such as IVF. CoQ10 could increase the number of eggs retrieved as well as the quality of those eggs. However, eggs mature 3-4 months before ovulation.
This is why, for example, I recommend taking a prenatal vitamin 3 months before ttc and why women should not to travel to Zika countries 3-4 months before ttc. So if you are considering IVF, begin taking CoQ10 supplementation as soon as possible, ideally 3-4 months before your IVF cycle.
How to Select a CoQ10 Supplement: Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol
CoQ10 supplementation is available in two forms. You can find it as “ubiquinone” and “ubiquinol”.
Ubiquinone is a precursor to ubiquinol and needs to be converted in your body into the active form, ubiquinol. However, ubiquinone is poorly absorbed in the body. Ubiquinone is generally cheaper and more common, but is less effective than the second form, ubiquinol.
Ubiquinol, on the other hand, is the activated form. Most of the Coenzyme Q10 found in the body is in the form of ubiquinol. You body can better absorb ubiquinol. However, it is generally more expensive and may be more difficult to find, but it is definitely the better option.
In general the recommended daily dosage of Ubiquinol is 100-300mg per day. If you are:
- Young and healthy and you have been ttc for 3 months without success start with 100mg of Ubiquinol.
- Over 35, have been diagnosed with premature ovarian aging or have been ttc for 6 months without success start with 200mg of Ubiquinol.
- Undergoing IVF, have experienced greater than 3 consecutive miscarriages or have been taking lower doses without success take 300mg of Ubiquinol daily.
Best CoQ10 Supplements
Jarrow Formulas QH-Absorb (top pick)
This CoQ10 supplement is in the Ubiquinol form. It is available in 100mg and 200mg softgels. You can definitely save money by purchasing the larger bottle, which is 120 softgels for the 100mg dose or 60 softgels for the 200mg dose. This comes out to $0.29/softgel for the 100mg dose or $0.59/softgel for the 200mg dose. These softgels have great amazon reviews.
I added this to the list of recommended products because it is Ubiquinol and it is 300mg. There aren’t many 300mg options out there. Due to the increased dose this supplement is $0.76 per softgel.
These softgels also come in a 100mg and 200mg dose. However, they are vegetarian. Other softgels contain gelatin and these don’t. Instead of gelatin, the capsule of these softgels is made of “sea vegetable extract.” Since they are vegetarian, they are also more expensive. They are available in 30 or 60 softgels per bottle. The 100mg dose comes out to $0.63-$0.77 per day depending on volume and the 200mg dose comes out to $1.09-$1.33 per day.
While I don’t think there is a best CoQ10 brand for fertility, I think Jarrow Formulas QH-Absorb is a great option.