Last month, the Montreal Gazette, in Canada, reported on the work of Toronto researchers who are studying how to slow the aging of women's eggs, possibly making it easier for older women to get pregnant. Their work hasn’t even reached the stage of human clinical trials – right now they’re studying mice who are the equivalent of age 40 to 50 in people – but the Gazette reported that their findings so far reveal one possible stand-out supplement: coenzyme Q10, a vitamin-like substance that may work like an antioxidant to prevent damage to DNA. According to the paper’s website, “Fertility doctors say their experiments in mice show that co-enzyme Q10 makes older mice produce more and healthier eggs. The doctors are now preparing to test the supplement on women 35 and older undergoing fertility treatments.” Half the mice in the experiment got a placebo, while half got coenzyme Q10; the animals that got the vitamin produced more egg follicles, and more and healthier eggs. On the downside, the mice were treated with the supplement for the equivalent of a decade in human years.
Since a woman’s age is the single biggest limiting factor in her ability to conceive, carry, and give birth to a healthy baby, research like this has profound implications if the supplement – or indeed any medication or procedure – could effectively turn back the clock on a woman’s eggs.
There’s plenty of work still to be done to determine whether coenzyme Q10 really can help you have a baby – and more research is being done: The University of Toronto, along with Ferring Pharmaceuticals, is currently recruiting women ages 35 to 43 with a diagnosis of infertility for a study examining the effect of coenzyme Q10 and fertility drugs on pregnancy outcome in IVF cycles.
There’s also reason to believe the supplement could be useful for male infertility, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH): “There is some evidence that coenzyme Q-10 treatment can improve the movement and density of sperm in men with certain types of infertility.” The NIH cautions that coenzyme Q10 should not be taken if you’re also taking chemotherapy for cancer treatment, drugs to control high blood pressure, or the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin). A typical dose is 100 to 300 milligrams daily; talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement or other medication.
What do you think: Will coenzyme Q10 be part of your supplement regimen, or is it already?