The Hemp Connection + [tips]

CoQ10 and PCOS

Last week on the PCOS Challenge Radio Show, I was asked about the relationship between CoQ10 and fertility. I promised Sasha I would investigate the issue, since I did not have an informed answer on the tip of my tongue. Here is that answer!

My gold standard for information is peer-reviewed literature in the National Library of Medicine database. When I used the keywords,"CoQ10" and"PCOS", there were no studies listed. When I used the keywords,"CoQ10" and"fertility", 16 different references appeared, but none of those references were about fertility in women. Two studies did report an association between low CoQ10 levels and miscarriage.

When I used the keywords,"fertilization" and"CoQ10", abstracts from the list of studies done on men were all that appeared.

Bottom line: CoQ10 could be important for conception and maintaining pregnancy, but there have been very few studies on the topic, and none of them that I found had a recommended dose. It may be important with this particular supplement to consider the father's regimen as well.

What is CoQ10, anyway? CoQ10 is an antioxidant made by our own bodies. As the Mayo Clinic writes, CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be low in patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Since PCOS is a pre-diabetic, inflammatory condition, it makes sense that there would be interest in its role in this diagnosis as well. The link I provided above also evaluates the strength of the evidence supporting the use of CoQ10 for a variety of medical conditions.

For adults, Mayo also reports a dose 50-1,200 milligrams of CoQ10, in divided doses, by mouth, to be what was commonly reported.

Even though CoQ10 may help prevent miscarriage, it has also been known to reduce blood glucose levels. This can be a plus…but when another life is being taken into consideration, and the detailed effects of exactly how blood glucose responds to CoQ10 in supplemental amounts, given the fact that the use of CoQ10 has not really been studied during pregnancy, my first inclination is to not recommend it for women with PCOS who are trying to conceive and who may be pregnant without knowing it.

CoQ10 levels have been found to be lower in people using certain medications, such as statins (which lower cholesterol), beta-blockers (which stabilize heart rate), and blood pressure medications. If you are not trying to conceive and you are on medications in any of these categories, it wouldn't hurt to ask your pharmacist and physician about the potential benefits of supplementation.

CoQ10 is an antioxidant. It makes sense to me that in an inflammatory condition such as PCOS, there would be a risk of lower levels. But rather than view this as a situation where you have PCOS because you have low levels of CoQ10, I encourage you to consider whether your CoQ10 levels are lower than they should be, because of choices you are making that promote inflammatory processes. This blog is full of information about ways to slow down inflammation (which, in essence, is accelerated aging). There are many things you can do which can head off the need for even needing a supplement.

And you thought this potentially magical compound was going to replace the need for healthy eating, activity, stress management, and sleep hygiene choices. Cyster friends, if that was true, you wouldn't have spent all that money on all that CoQ10 and still be here looking for another answer. Dang!

Mancini A, Leone E, Festa R, Grande G, Silvestrini A, de Marinis L, Pontecorvi A, Maira G, Littarru GP, Meucci E. Effects of testosterone on antioxidant systems in male secondary hypogonadism. J Androl. 2008 Nov-Dec;29(6):622-9. Epub 2008 Jul 17.

Littarru GP, Tiano L. Bioenergetic and antioxidant properties of coenzyme Q10: recent developments. Mol Biotechnol. 2007 Sep;37(1):31-7. Review.

Li W, Li K, Huang YF. [Biological function of CoQ10 and its effect on the quality of spermatozoa]. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2006 Dec;12(12):1119-22. Review. Chinese.

Mancini A, De Marinis L, Littarru GP, Balercia G. An update of Coenzyme Q10 implications in male infertility: biochemical and therapeutic aspects. Biofactors. 2005;25(1-4):165-74. Review.

Li K, Shi Y, Chen S, Li W, Shang X, Huang Y. Determination of coenzyme Q10 in human seminal plasma by high-performance liquid chromatography and its clinical application. Biomed Chromatogr. 2006 Oct;20(10):1082-6.

Sheweita SA, Tilmisany AM, Al-Sawaf H. Mechanisms of male infertility: role of antioxidants. Curr Drug Metab. 2005 Oct;6(5):495-501. Review.

Balercia G, Mosca F, Mantero F, Boscaro M, Mancini A, Ricciardo-Lamonica G, Littarru G. Coenzyme Q(10) supplementation in infertile men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia: an open, uncontrolled pilot study. Fertil Steril. 2004 Jan;81(1):93-8.

Mancini A, Milardi D, Conte G, Bianchi A, Balercia G, De Marinis L, Littarru GP. Coenzyme Q10: another biochemical alteration linked to infertility in varicocele patients? Metabolism. 2003 Apr;52(4):402-6.

Balercia G, Arnaldi G, Fazioli F, Serresi M, Alleva R, Mancini A, Mosca F, Lamonica GR, Mantero F, Littarru GP. Coenzyme Q10 levels in idiopathic and varicocele-associated asthenozoospermia. Andrologia. 2002 Apr;34(2):107-11.

Ducci M, Gazzano A, Tedeschi D, Sighieri C, Martelli F. Coenzyme Q10 levels in pigeon (Columba livia) spermatozoa. Asian J Androl. 2002 Mar;4(1):73-6.

Palmeira CM, Santos DL, Seiça R, Moreno AJ, Santos MS. Enhanced mitochondrial testicular antioxidant capacity in Goto-Kakizaki diabetic rats: role of coenzyme Q.
Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2001 Sep;281(3):C1023-8.

Sinclair S. Male infertility: nutritional and environmental considerations. Altern Med Rev. 2000 Feb;5(1):28-38. Review.

Alleva R, Scararmucci A, Mantero F, Bompadre S, Leoni L, Littarru GP. The protective role of ubiquinol-10 against formation of lipid hydroperoxides in human seminal fluid. Mol Aspects Med. 1997;18 Suppl:S221-8.

Lewin A, Lavon H. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on sperm motility and function. Mol Aspects Med. 1997;18 Suppl:S213-9.

Angelitti AG, Colacicco L, Callà C, Arizzi M, Lippa S. Coenzyme Q: potentially useful index of bioenergetic and oxidative status of spermatozoa. Clin Chem. 1995 Feb;41(2):217-9.

Mancini A, Conte B, De Marinis L, Hallgass ME, Pozza D, Oradei A, Littarru GP. Coenzyme Q10 levels in human seminal fluid: diagnostic and clinical implications. Mol Aspects Med. 1994;15 Suppl:s249-55.

Noia G, Littarru GP, De Santis M, Oradei A, Mactromarino C, Trivellini C, Caruso A. Coenzyme Q10 in pregnancy. Fetal Diagn Ther. 1996 Jul-Aug;11(4):264-70.

Noia G, Romano D, De Santis M, Cavaliere AF, Straface G, Alcaino S, Di Domenico M, Petrone A, Caruso A, Mancuso S. [The antioxidants (coenzyme Q10) in materno-fetal physiopathology][Article in Italian] Minerva Ginecol. 1999 Oct;51(10):385-91.