This study looked at the effect of three months of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) on men with infertility. It found that CoQ10 supplements improved sperm parameters, oxidation levels, and amount of DNA damage.
Male infertility contributes to 50% of infertility cases. One cause of male infertility is reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS can cause breaks in the sperm DNA (genetic material), increasing the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. ROS can also damage the sperm membrane and tail, which contain delicate omega-3 fatty acids. This damage makes the sperm move abnormally.
Antioxidants are molecules that prevent oxidation due to ROS. Seminal fluid contains antioxidants including CoQ10. However, sometimes these built-in antioxidants are not enough to prevent oxidation. Studies have found that antioxidants in the diet or supplements can improve fertility. It is unclear whether CoQ10 supplements can improve male infertility.
This study included 65 men with infertility and low sperm count and motility. The patients did not have another cause of infertility such as varicocele (large veins on the scrotum) or hormone abnormalities. There were also 40 fertile men as controls. All the patients took CoQ10 supplements (200mg daily) for three months.
Over the course of supplementation, the concentration of sperm significantly increased (9.4 to 11.5 million/mL). The percent of sperm which moved progressively (in a straight line) also increased significantly (22.3% to 27.1%).
The concentration of CoQ10 in the seminal fluid close to doubled over the course of the supplementation (46.2 to 85.8 ng/mL). At the same time, the concentration of ROS decreased significantly. Sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) is a measure of DNA damage. SDF decreased significantly over the course of the three months (35.6% to 30.9%).
This study found that CoQ10 supplements improved levels of oxidative stress and DNA damage in the sperm of men with infertility. It also improved sperm concentration and motility.
This study did not include a comparison to patients taking an inactive pill. Also, the results were still significantly different from those of fertile volunteers after CoQ10 supplementation. The study period was also low.
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