How Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) Affects Sperm Count and Motility

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What is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance found in body cells, especially in the heart, kidney, liver, and pancreas, that may promote health and fight some diseases. Scientists believe CoQ10 functions as an antioxidant that blocks actions that can damage cells.

Decreased sperm motility is one of the leading causes of male infertility, but there’s a noteworthy treatment option that may make a difference. Studies have found that supplements of CoQ10 can help improve sperm movement in infertile men.

According to some research, the amount of CoQ10 in the seminal fluid of men has a correlation to their sperm count and sperm motility.

What are the effects of CoQ10 on sperm count and sperm motility?

A 2004 study in the journal Fertility & Sterility looked at the effects of a 200 mg daily CoQ10 supplement on the sperm counts of 22 infertile men with low sperm motility. Before the start of the study, the infertile men had lower than average levels of the coenzyme Q10 in the seminal fluid. After six months of taking the supplement, the men showed increased levels on coenzyme Q10. The research also found that the men’s sperm motility increased, as well.

This research was supported by a 2009 study, which was published in The Journal of Endocrinological Investigation. Researchers conducted two distinct studies of men with infertility, one with 22 men and the other with 60 men. The study examined the CoQ10 concentration and distribution in patients with varicoceles and azoospermia, both before and after fertility treatments. Researchers found that CoQ10 increased in both sperm count and sperm motility after treatment.1

While these results are promising, larger, more in-depth studies are needed. In 2013, The Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics published a meta-analysis looking at three different studies investigating CoQ10’s effectiveness as a treatment for male infertility. They compared the results of the 149 males in the CoQ10 group with the 147 males in the placebo group. The researchers found that, “There is no evidence in the literature that CoQ10 increases either live birth or pregnancy rates, but there is a global improvement in sperm parameters.”

Are CoQ10 supplements safe?

CoQ10 is sold in the United States as a dietary supplement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way that it controls medications, so their safety may not be as extensively tested.

What are the side effects of CoQ10 supplements?

Research has found that there are some side effects:

  • Taking 100 mg daily of CoQ10 has caused mild insomnia in some people.
  • Taking 300 mg daily for an extended amount of time may cause elevated liver enzymes.
  • Other side effects from CoQ10 may include nausea, upper abdominal pain, irritability, headache, and fatigue.

Given the improvement in overall semen analysis results after being treated with CoQ10, you should speak with you doctor about any potential CoQ10 benefits in improving your results and if they outweigh the potential risks and side effects.

Dr. Alan Copperman is a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist with a long history of success in treating infertility and applying fertility preservation technologies. He serves as Medical Director of Progyny, a leading fertility benefits management company, and co-founded and serves as Medical Director of RMA of New York, one of the largest and most prestigious IVF centers in the country.  Dr. Copperman is also the Vice Chairman and Director of Infertility for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Chief Medical Officer of Sema4, a health information company. Dr. Copperman has been named to New York magazine’s list of Best Doctors 17 years in a row. He has been recognized by his peers and patient advocacy organizations for his commitment to patient-focused and data-driven care. He has published more than 100 original manuscripts and book chapters on reproductive medicine and has co-authored over 300 scientific abstracts on infertility, in vitro fertilization, egg freezing, ovum donation, and reproductive genetics.

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