Coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10, is an antioxidant which could improve egg quality in women with high FSH or of advanced maternal age. It’s believed to help through its effect on the mitochondria, which is a part of the cell involved in energy production and proper cell division (in this case, that cell is the egg). As cells age, researchers believe the mitochondria isn’t able to produce enough energy for proper cellular division, resulting in abnormal eggs or chromosomal abnormalities. The hypothesis is that by supplementing with CoQ10 the egg has more energy and is able to once again properly function and divide.
At this point only one study has been conducted on CoQ10 and fertility. It involved mice of advanced maternal age. The mice which were injected with CoQ10 for 3 or 4 months had double the number of eggs ovulated and a greater overall live birth rate. This study points to possible benefits especially for older women either trying to conceive naturally or through IVF.
Although I’m seeing more and more reproductive endocrinologists begin to recommend this supplement to their patients, the overall consensus among doctors seems to be, “It might help, and it can’t hurt.” There appear to be no negative side effects to taking CoQ10, but the jury is still out on whether it will help with egg quality. The one study which has been conducted seems promising, but more studies are needed. Currently the same research team which conducted the first study is conducting a second one, in which subjects will be taking 600 mg CoQ10 daily for 2 months before beginning IVF. They are still unsure of the ideal length of time for supplementation before benefits are seen, or of the exact dosing. I recommend patients take 200 mg twice daily, based on several doctors’ guidelines.