Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) or ubiquinone is a coenzyme found in the cells of microorganisms and humans.
It is a vitamin-like fat-soluble enzyme. Studies show that it plays a vital role in regulating energy metabolism within the cells.
In this article we shall cover the following points:
- Male infertility and the role of CoQ10
- CoQ10 and sperm energy
- Final thoughts
Its role is receiving increasing attention as more and more studies show the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in various metabolic disorders.
Since mitochondria generate more than 90% of cellular energy, and thus called the power house of cells. Boosting its energy production may have many beneficial effects.
Cells that need energy in high amounts are especially rich in CoQ10 like heart and skeletal muscles. However, it is worth understanding that sperms are also quite mobile compared to other body cells.
Understanding male infertility & role of CoQ10
Understanding male infertility and its causes are vital, considering that it is rising globally.
Some experts think that a drop in sperm count globally and reducing male fertility is now one of the most significant threats to humanity.
At present, sub-fertility is a greater issue. However, if its causes remain identified and methods to treat infertility are not found, it may progress to infertility.
There could be two reasons for male infertility: either a person cannot produce enough sperm or sperm quality issues.
Sperm quality issues like altered sperm motility and structure are not rare. However, in most cases, fertility would be a combination of both these factors.
When it comes to sperm production, most people know that they are produced in testicles. And testosterone is the primary hormone that stimulates sperm production.
In some cases, doctors can readily identify the cause of infertility and treat it. Like some are living with hypogonadism or small testicles, and others with low testosterone.
However, in practice, low testosterone is rarely a cause of infertility. There are many other enzymatic pathways involved in infertility, and testosterone plays a limited role only.
Moreover, testosterone is widely available as a medication. Therefore, doctors would have readily treated it if low testosterone had been the cause of infertility.
Thus, it is essential to understand that low testosterone is just one and perhaps minor cause of infertility.
Most men have other reasons, like disrupted enzymatic pathways and mitochondrial dysfunction. That is why many natural and other supplements work in managing infertility.
CoQ10 helps normalize sperm energy production and fertility
As already mentioned, testosterone is just a minor cause of infertility. That is why even antioxidants and vitamins may be helpful treating infertility.
This disruption in energy and enzymatic pathways of sperms is happening for many reasons.
Further, in recent years, metabolic disorders have emerged as a significant cause of infertility.
These can include:
If we look at the leading causes of infertility, it is clear that mitochondrial dysfunction and energy disruption are significant causes of infertility. It results in morphological changes in the sperms, altered motility, and even a decline in sperm count.
Both genders can benefit
The good thing about CoQ10 is that it is equally good for males and females. It may also help in cases when doctors fail to identify the cause of infertility.
Here it is vital to know that in one-fifth of patients, the cause of infertility is less than clear.
Researchers think that oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction contribute significantly to the sub-fertility of infertility. Although there is no firm data, experts believe that 30% to 80% cases of male sub-fertility are due to oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.
It seems that CoQ10 may be especially good for sub-fertility, though its role in severe infertility is unclear.
Studies show that CoQ10 works by increasing energy production and boosting sperm motility. However, it is unclear if this increased motility also leads to pregnancies.
How it works
In most cases, it is because the causes of infertility are multiple, and CoQ10 would probably work when combined with other treatments.
There are many ways in which CoQ10 works. Sperms are highly dependent on fatty acids for their energy needs, and this enzyme improves their utilization and transportation into the mitochondria.
However, more importantly, it is a potent antioxidant that plays a vital role in mitochondrial energy production.
What is good about treatment with CoQ10 is that it may help in some difficult to treat conditions.
For example, studies show that it is especially helpful in cases when the cause of low sperm motility is unclear.
In addition, studies show that a few weeks of CoQ10 supplementation can significantly boost sperm motility and even seminal plasma.
When considering any health supplement for infertility and its management, it is essential to realize that male infertility occurs due to many reasons.
Sperm production occurs due to many enzymes and not just testosterone. Moreover, in about one-fifth of cases, the cause of infertility remains unclear. In these cases, reasons are many, like substance abuse, chronic ailments, nutritional deficiencies.
CoQ10 would not be used as a monotherapy in managing infertility. However, adding it to the infertility treatment can be of significant benefit.
It may help boost mitochondrial energy production, prevent mitochondrial dysfunction, and thus improve sperm motility.
CoQ10 seems to have only a small effect on increasing sperm count. However, in some cases, it may significantly impact sperm quality.
Therefore, it is good to notice that it is among the few health supplements for fertility supported by multiple clinical studies.
Moreover, CoQ10 is not just good for boosting fertility or improving sperm quality. It is also suitable for heart health, may help prevent statin-related myopathy, and is also suitable for brain health.