Three months of coenzyme Q10 supplementation may improve the morphology and motility of sperm in infertile men, according to new data.
A daily 200 mg dose of CoQ10 was associated with reductions in levels of oxidative stress, wrote researchers from Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Iran in the peer-reviewed journal Andrologia.
“The semen of most [infertile] men is accompanied with increased oxidative stress, which impairs semen parameters and potentiates failure of sperm functions and [male] fertility,” explained the researchers.
“At least three months of supplementation with coenzyme Q10 can attenuate oxidative stress in seminal plasma and improve antioxidant enzymes activity in [infertile] men.”
CoQ10 has properties similar to vitamins, but since it is naturally synthesized in the body it is not classed as such. With chemical structure 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1,4-benzoquinone, it is also known as ubiquinone because of its 'ubiquitous' distribution throughout the human body.
The coenzyme is concentrated in the mitochondria - the 'power plants' of the cell - and plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's co-called 'energy currency'.
A role beyond the mitochondria is also acknowledged, with CoQ10 acting as a potent antioxidant. The coenzyme plays an important role in preserving levels of vitamin E and vitamin C.
There is an ever-growing body of scientific data that shows substantial health benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for people suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension. Clinical trials have also reported benefits for cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.
This is not the first time that CoQ10 has been linked to improvements in sperm parameters, with a previous study, also from Iran, reporting a statistically significant but modest effect (Journal of Urology, Vol. 182, pp. 237-248) of 26 weeks of 300 mg per day CoQ10.
Sperm quality has been linked to the level of oxidative stress, and in order to test if CoQ10 levels might beneficially affect sperm quality, the researchers recruited 60 infertile men and randomly assigned them to receive a daily CoQ10 supplement (200 mg per day) or placebo for three months. Forty seven men completed the trial.
Results showed an increase in CoQ10 levels in the CoQ10 group, and increases in activity of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and SOD (superoxide dismutase), compared with the placebo group.
The Iranian scientists also reported a “significant positive correlation between CoQ10 concentration and normal sperm morphology”.
“Three-month supplementation with CoQ10 in infertile men can attenuate oxidative stress in seminal plasma and improve semen parameters and antioxidant enzymes activity,” they concluded.
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/and.12062
“Effect of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation on antioxidant enzymes activity and oxidative stress of seminal plasma: a double-blind randomised clinical trial”
Authors: A. Nadjarzadeh, F. Shidfar, N. Amirjannati, M. R. Vafa, S. A. Motevalian, M. R. Gohari, S. A. Nazeri Kakhki, M. M. Akhondi and M. R. Sadeghi