Coenzyme Q101, or CoQ10, is an important compound that is naturally present in your body that plays a critical role in energy production, as well as cell growth and maintenance.
Research suggests that this compound may be associated with a variety of health benefits. And there is some evidence to suggest that it may even be beneficial for those trying to conceive.
Here’s everything you need to know about coenzyme Q10.
What is Coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone, exists naturally in almost every cell of the body. It helps convert food into energy, and is also a powerful, free-radical fighting antioxidant.2
Levels of coenzyme Q10 in our bodies decrease as we age,3 and have also been found to be lower in those taking statins, medications that control cholesterol4. Many neurodegenerative disorders, plus diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, muscular and cardiovascular diseases have been associated with low levels of this compound. However, further research is needed in order to establish whether low levels are a cause of these conditions, or are a result of them.
Dietary Sources of Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is found in a variety of foods—oily fish like salmon and tuna, organ meats like liver, and whole grains are some of the primary dietary sources of this important compound.
Most people who eat a balanced diet consume adequate amounts of coenzyme Q10, but those with specific health conditions or who are taking certain medications like cholesterol-lowering statins, may benefit from taking supplements.
What are the Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 is associated with a number of health benefits6. Here are just a few of them:
It May Boost Heart Health
This compound has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. It may also help reduce blood pressure, although the findings on this subject are mixed.
There is also some evidence that when combined with other nutrients, coenzyme Q10 may aid recovery in those who've undergone bypass and heart valve surgeries.
In addition, some research indicates that coenzyme Q10 may help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the bad kind), and reduce total cholesterol levels in those with diabetes, which may lower their risk of heart disease, although more research on this topic is needed.
It May Combat Statin-Induced Myopathy
Some people who take cholesterol-lowering medications called statins experience muscle weakness and pain. There is some evidence that coenzyme Q10 may help alleviate these symptoms.
It May Help Prevent Migraines
Some findings show that coenzyme Q10 may decrease the frequency of these often debilitating headaches.
It May Enhance Physical Performance
Since coenzyme Q10 is involved in the energy producing pathways in the body, it stands to reason that higher levels of this compound are associated with improved physical performance. However, since studies investigating this relationship have yielded mixed results, more research is warranted before conclusions can be drawn.
Is Coenzyme Q10 Good for Fertility?
Although more studies are warranted, there is some evidence to suggest that coenzyme Q10 may have benefits for those trying to conceive. Here’s what we know, based on the research:
There is evidence to suggest that this compound may increase clinical pregnancy rates in women with infertility who are undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF) when compared to women in placebo or no-treatment groups5.
Not only that, coenzyme Q10 supplementation is associated with improved egg quality, sperm quality and pregnancy rates.6 While the mechanism for this is not yet fully understood, there are two popular theories7 among experts:
- Coenzyme Q10 plays a critical role in energy production in the cells. When levels of this coenzyme are higher, this process can work more efficiently and produce more energy. With more energy, the body’s cells can perform better, including those involved in sperm and egg development.
- Coenzyme Q10, which functions as a potent antioxidant, protects the cells in the reproductive system from damaging free radicals, which enables it to operate optimally.
How Can Coenzymes Help During Pregnancy?
Some findings suggest that coenzyme Q10 may reduce the risk of preterm birth8 as well as cholestasis9 of pregnancy, a serious condition of the liver; and pre-eclampsia10 , a serious pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure that typically presents around the twentieth week of pregnancy.
Although coenzyme Q10 supplements appear to be safe and to produce minimal side effects when taken as directed,1 there is limited research on its impact on pregnant women or unborn babies. Therefore, if you’re expecting, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before adding this supplement to your routine.
Takeaways on Coenzymes During Pregnancy
Coenzyme Q10 is a compound that is naturally present in every cell of your body. It plays a key role in important functions in the body like energy production, plus cell growth and maintenance. Coenzyme Q10 is associated with a variety of health benefits, particularly for those with heart conditions, diabetes, migraines and more.
Coenzyme Q10 has also shown great promise for those dealing with infertility, improving both egg and sperm quality, and increasing clinical pregnancy rates in women undergoing assisted reproductive technology procedures like IVF.
While coenzyme Q10 may help reduce the risk of certain conditions in pregnant women, the lack of definitive research on its safety has most experts recommending that women who are expecting speak with their healthcare providers prior to supplementing.
5. Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial. National Library of Medicine.
6. Xu Y, Nisenblat V, Lu C et al. Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial.
7. Fertility C. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for Fertility. CNY Fertility. https://www.cnyfertility.com/coq10-fertility/#:~:text=CoQ10%20supplementation%20has%20been%20shown,for%2090%2B%20days%20if%20possible. Published 2022. Accessed May 18, 2022.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.