The topic of infertility today has come a long way from where it once was. Looking back hundreds of years ago, little was understood about the process of conception, and difficulty getting pregnant was a taboo topic that many people were ashamed of.
Today the stigma surrounding fertility difficulties has largely diminished and fertility has a much more open dialog with many people open to sharing their fertility journey with others. Some may seek the assistance of a fertility clinic while others may find lifestyle change to be what worked for them. The truth of the matter is that no fertility journey is the same and what works for one person may not work for another.
Fertility issues happen to many people, and as such, it is important to be aware of the process involved in the process of conception and how you can best support it.
Below is a closer look at how CoQ10 could potentially support cellular health to both men and women trying to conceive.
Fertility in men
Being fertile for men means that they are able to excrete a large enough amount of semen with a high density of healthy motile sperm to fertilize an egg. While this process may seem simple enough, there are many different places that things can go wrong.
Below is a closer look at common fertility issues with men as well as how CoQ10 can help support male fertility.
Low sperm count
Sperm production is a complex process that starts in the testes. Testosterone is the hormone that signals the sperm to be produced. Unlike normal cellular division, sperm cells undergo a process of meiosis which results in sperm with only half of the male’s DNA. Once created the sperm stays until it has matured where it can be utilized to fertilize an egg.
Low sperm count can be caused by low testosterone signaling, premature sperm death, or even poor temperature regulation of the testicles.
To confirm low sperm count a lab sample of semen is acquired and a lab technician analyzes and estimates approximate sperm count on concentration and relative volume of the sample. If the sample contains less than 15 million sperm/mL, the sample is considered to have a low sperm count.
While this may sound like a lot, it is important to understand that the female anatomy has harsh physiological conditions for sperm, and fertility is all about having the numbers on your side.
Low sperm mobility
Sperm mobility is a measure of how effectively a sperm cell is able to move. Sperm need to travel from the vagina, through the cervix, and into a fallopian tube to fertilize an egg. Sperm must travel many centimeters to reach the egg.
While this may not seem like a long-distance, for sperm this trek is nearly 1000 times longer than they are. The ability to trek that distance attests to the strong swimming capabilities required of sperm.
Sperm motility is somewhat of an extension of sperm count. To find sperm mobility the sample taken for sperm count is observed under a microscope and the technician calculates the approximate percentage of sperm that are active. If less than 32% of sperm are active, the sample has low sperm mobility.
Low semen volume
Low semen volume is another factor impacting male fertility. Semen is the fluid that is responsible for aiding sperm in the harsh environment of the female anatomy. Semen provides some nutrition to sperm and interacts with the female’s reproductive system to aid in conception. Low semen volume can be detrimental to fertility since it is unable to deliver the sperm as effectively.
Can CoQ10 support male fertility?
CoQ10 is a supplement that is taken in order to support the cellular powerhouse known as the mitochondria and help fight back against oxidative damage. While CoQ10 is not by any means a cure or treatment for fertility, it does provide system-wide support that could support reproductive health.
At its most basic, CoQ10 supports the normal functioning of the mitochondria by ensuring its membrane integrity from reactive oxygen species. When the mitochondria are functioning optimally, this allows cells to work to their fullest potential.
In the case of male fertility, if a mitochondrial deficiency in CoQ10 is leading to poor cellular performance in maintaining spermatogenesis, sperm mobility, or production of seminal fluid it has the potential to support these cells in a way that could show in better fertility status.
One study actually found a positive correlation between higher mitochondrial efficiency and more motile sperm. The same study also found that less motile sperm were more likely to have diminished mitochondrial function. CoQ10 can effectively support mitochondrial health and with the results from the study, could pose the potential to support sperm motility.
Being fertile as a female means that the uterus successfully builds up an endometrium, that the ovary releases an egg, and the egg reaches the endometrium. It is a constant coordinated effort that occurs approximately once a month. It takes time for a fresh endometrium to build up and the release of the egg needs to be followed by the correct hormonal release to allow for implantation and fertilization to occur.
Below is a closer look at common fertility issues with women as well as how CoQ10 can potentially help support female fertility.
The gamete within women is known as the egg and it’s what the sperm combines with to conceive.
During the menstrual cycle, the egg is released when the endometrium is built and ready to accept a fertilized egg. In some instances, however, the ovary may not release an egg. In this case, there is no ability of conception since the egg is not released for the sperm to reach the fallopian tubes.
A non-ovulation cycle may be caused by a number of things, including eggs that have not matured, hormonal deficiencies, and more. A physician would do a series of tests like assess FSH levels or perform an ultrasound to determine if failure to ovulate is an issue.
Just like sperm, female eggs can also be poor quality. Typically, poor quality eggs come about as a result of age. Unlike men who are constantly producing new sperm cells, females are born with a finite number of eggs.
It is well understood that as women get into later years, the ability to become pregnant diminishes. While women in their late 30s and 40s still ovulate, the quality of those eggs is more likely to be poor.
Can CoQ10 support female fertility?
As stated previously, CoQ10 is a supplement that is meant to support the powerhouse of the cell known as the mitochondria. In terms of female fertility, it seems that the mitochondrial support provided by CoQ10 could pose benefits to fertility.
While the way CoQ10 works is the same in men and women, the effects on fertility seem to be quite different.
One study found that pretreatment with CoQ10 for IVF helped to support healthy ovarian response during treatment. While the study does not illustrate CoQ10 itself instilling fertility benefits, when paired with IVF it showed noticeable support in ovarian response.
Another proposed way that CoQ10 may help fertility is with poor-quality eggs. One theory of poor quality eggs later in life is that the old age of the eggs results in a decline in mitochondrial efficiency which is also seen in somatic cells in older adults. Based on this theory, CoQ10 support could help to lengthen the period of quality egg production.
Pregnancy and CoQ10
For those looking to get pregnant, it is important to understand the prospect of getting pregnant and what that means for your dietary considerations. Supplements are of particular interest since pregnancy causes system-wide changes in the body.
When looking at CoQ10 specifically, it is important to consult with your doctor to determine if a supplement regime can continue throughout pregnancy.
In summary, CoQ10 supplementation is a great way to support your cellular powerhouses. By supporting your body at a cellular level, it can help to support entire body systems, including the reproductive systems of both men and women.