If you're a man who is focused on fathering a baby, take steps that will not only improve your overall health but optimize your fertility as well. Making your daily diet as nutritious as possible is the first step. Recent research is pointing to a measurable impact of some dietary supplements on fertility, including male-factor infertility, which is explained by Ohio State Wexner Medical Center as the inability of a man to get a woman pregnant after 1 year of trying. One of these fertility optimizing nutrients is Coenzyme Q10.
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that your body makes primarily in the liver. You may also hear it referred to as CoQ10 or ubiquinone. Its primary job in your body is to help your other cells make energy. Antioxidants in general serve another important function in your body: They protect other cells from damage. MedlinePlus.com lists many potential uses for supplements of Coenzyme Q10, most of which need more research studies to establish or validate claims about its effects. Still, preliminary results are promising. CoQ10 is known to decrease as you age. Since the essence of fertility depends on two cells -- the egg cell and the sperm cell -- how those cells function greatly affects conception and continued pregnancy.
Male Fertility Issues
The condition and function of your sperm cells is only part of the complex fertility equation. As long as your organs that produce and transport sperm cells -- such as the epididymis -- are functioning properly, then the next area of concern is the condition of the sperm cells. Sperm are judged as adequate or not based on three variables: motility, or movement; morphology, or shape; and count, or number of cells present in ejaculate. This is where supplements that claim to assist male fertility come in -- to protect or repair sperm cells in terms of these three markers.
CoQ10 and Fertility
Researchers from Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy demonstrated in preliminary studies that CoQ10 is present and measurable in seminal fluid, the fluid that carries sperm cells from their production point and beyond. Published in the May 2009 issue of "Fertility and Sterility," researchers demonstrated that the concentration of CoQ10 directly correlates with both sperm count and motility, or movement. Their research further showed that in some conditions associated with male infertility, CoQ10's levels were altered. With a placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized trial, the investigators concluded that oral CoQ10 supplements increased the amount of the substance in semen and improved sperm cell movement. MedlinePlus.com states that coenzyme Q10 may be ineffective for treating male infertility, saying better studies are needed to back up its use for this condition.
Adding CoQ10 to Diet
CoQ10 is not medicine, although it does appear to have some particular actions that can promote your fertility. Since it's a nutrient, the effect of adding it to your diet as a supplement will likely not have an immediate result. CoQ10 is available and recommended in soft gel capsule form or tablets. The University of Maryland Medical Center says a typical daily dose is 30 milligrams to 200 milligrams, depending on the formulation. For maximum absorption, you should take CoQ10 during an evening meal that contains fat. Other than the risk for occasional stomach upset such as that associated with most supplements, there are no known significant side effects. You can also boost your CoQ10 levels by eating more oily fish, like salmon and tuna, and organ meats, like liver.
Cautions and Concerns
CoQ10 may interact with some medications, including some chemotherapy treatments, blood pressure medicines, blood thinners and glaucoma drops. Talk to your physician about potential problems from combining CoQ10 with any other medications you're taking, including fertility medications. At time of publication, CoQ10 is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Coenzyme Q10
- Fertility & Sterility: Coenzyme Q10 Treatment in Infertile Men With Idiopathic Asthenozoospermia: A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Randomized Trial
- MedlinePlus.com: Coenzyme Q10
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: How a Man’s Diet Affects Fertility Too