Most of us have been there, so don’t feel you’re all alone. We finally build up the courage to see our first Reproductive Endocrinologist (R.E.) and we hear about the drastic uphill battle we’re facing with our poor egg quality issue. This one ailment can be one of the most difficult to resolve. I mean, what do you do when you’re told all you produce (either naturally or via IVF) are poor quality eggs which inevitably lead to poor quality embryos? These embryos might not fertilize, they might fertilize but then not live long enough to successfully implant (after an IVF, for example), they might result in chromosome abnormalities which can result in miscarriages…the list is long and disheartening.
When you ask what you can do to better your quality, (in my experience) most doctors tell you that it’s unavoidable and that success is just a game of chance given your age, your Premature Ovarian Failure (suggesting a genetic predisposition, if not caused by your advanced maternal age), or another medical condition which compounds the issue, etc. Since I’ve had over 12 years of personal experience during my own journey, believe me when I say that so many things in life that we think are “unavoidable” or “unchanging” can actually be dramatically altered by making a decision to positively help your body and give it what it needs to function properly. One of those things you can do is start by taking supplements and CoQ10 might just be one of the most important ones on the list. The research is there, and it’s promising, but first let’s evaluate how exactly CoQ10 can better your odds and change your outcome once and for all…
Let’s start with the hard, cold fact of aging. Ugh! Yes, aging affects the female fertility adversely as suggested by many scientific researchers. Very true, unfortunately. What the general consensus is that it usually begins to decline from the age of 32 and an abrupt decline occurs after 37. After age 40, egg quality and quantity decreases and dramatically lowers your ability to conceive, even with an IVF.
This reproductive aging and factors associated with the decrement in oocyte (egg) quality is hard to pin down. According to the latest scientific research, it has been made evident that the decline in female fertility comes with “Mitochondrial Dysfunction, which occurs due to the oxidative phosphorylation decrement and reduction in the Adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) level.” In layman’s terms it means that as we age, our body becomes more susceptible to free radicals (due to poor diet, lifestyle choices, environment, aging process, etc.) which might not affect us as badly when we’re younger. Oxidation kicks in and our poor ovaries produce low egg yields in both quality and quantity.
How is CoQ10 Important to Fertilized Embryo Development?
The purpose of CoQ10, a powerful anti-oxidant which is already present in your body’s cells naturally, is cellular energy production. It has been widely studied in association with a number of other medical conditions (cardiovascular health, for example) but here is the research as it pertains to female fertility. In the beginning, CoQ10 is responsible for energy production in mitochondria. What are the mitochondria? In terms of fertile health, they are the “batteries”, per say. In every stage of egg development (once it’s released from your ovary, on a monthly basis) requires a vast quantity of this energy in order to get to the next stage of development. So as the energy requirement for the cell increases, so does the CoQ10 content. Therefore, if the body cells have high energy requirements, they will also have more mitochondria and higher level of CoQ10. As we age, our levels of CoQ10 also decrease and our “batteries” stop working as well as they previously did in our younger years.
Mitochondrion is actually a membrane located inside the body cells and its main purpose is to produce energy to carry out all of this cellular activity smoothly. Mitochondria is present more in eggs than that of other body cells as eggs require them for higher energy production, which (as said before) is needed for efficient cell division when the early embryo develops. Mitochondria are mostly found in an organized manner in new cells due to the efficient cell division process during the early embryo development.
Aging influences mitochondria and fertility level in the body. There are more chromosomal errors witnessed in the embryos with aging and hence the pregnancy rate decreases. Miscarriages and genetic conditions such as Down syndrome are highly associated with chromosomal number errors. On a similar basis, with aging, mitochondrial DNA mutations are also likely to increase. All these bodily conditions encouraged researchers to extensively study CoQ10’s role in pregnancy and how medical science can use this supplement to improve the process of fertility in the female body.
In the latest research study where a CoQ10 supplement was given to old mice and then its performance was compared with that of young mice, they saw that the old mice which were given CoQ10 had a higher fertility success rate than that of the old mice (which were not given CoQ10) and it was also similar to the outcomes the young mice experienced. More specifically, they had a higher egg count, more eggs being produced after the process of ovarian stimulation (IVF) and there were also less chromosomal errors experienced.
Similarly, this research study also shared an experience where CoQ10 deficiency was forcefully induced in the mice to see their ovarian reactions. According to the results, when the CoQ10 amount was disrupted in the mice, it led to more chromosomal errors, disruption in mitochondria and in some situations, ovarian instability. Therefore, it can be concluded that CoQ10 given to the older mice can definitely help to restore the ovarian function whereas its decrement can lead to a disruption in the fertility process.
In another clinical study of reproductive health, a small trial was conducted in order to test the efficiency of a CoQ10 supplement. In this study, before IVF, the women studied were given a CoQ10 supplement (600 mg) and others were given a placebo for a couple of months. The group, which had taken the CoQ10 supplement, showed normal chromosomal number errors than that of other group.
In men, CoQ10 has also shown its benefits for semen analysis such as counting semen, its motility and morphology. In The Journal of Urology, researchers make it evident that a CoQ10 supplement improved the sperm density and motility.
In another Reproductive Biomedicine study, adding a CoQ10 supplement increased the ovulation induction and showed increased signs of pregnancy as compared to those aging women who were not given a CoQ10 supplement.
What does all of this research tell us? Yes, there is hope after all! Don’t give up just yet. It’s been shown that positive fertility outcomes can be increased by taking CoQ10 supplements, especially in developing the early embryo. Adding this powerful antioxidant and naturally-occurring supplement into your daily routine might just yield you those high quality embryos (blasts) we all strive to produce.
Remember though, it should always be used as per the guidelines of your physician to avoid any kind of risk.
For our suggestion as to which CoQ10 supplement is best, visit our Shop.