Turn back your biological clock with CoQ10/UBIQUINOL
by Ivy Eff
Suggested: If taking Coenzyme Q10 , 800-1000mg/day is recommended. If taking Ubiquinol , 300-600mg/day is recommended. (With both forms, if egg quality is poor, take a little more.)
Be sure to take it with some fat or with a meal to enhance absorption. Take it for at least 3 months prior to conception, preferably 6 months. Stop taking either form after embryo transfer or positive pregnancy test (not because of any recognized danger but simply as a precaution).
Caution: If you take CoQ10 or Ubiquinol late at night, it could keep you awake, much like a strong cup of coffee. Also, taking too much CoQ10 overall can lower your blood pressure, so it’s not a good idea to take it if you’re on certain medications. Check with your doctor.
Coenzyme Q10 and Ubiquinol are essentially the same thing. The only difference is that ubiquinol is a purer, more absorbable form of CoQ10, which is why you need to take less of it. Since both are expensive, ubiquinol may be more economical, but it can be harder to find.
As you might have guessed, the name ubiquinol comes from the word “ubiquitous”, meaning everywhere. That’s because it’s a substance used by every cell in your body. Yet levels of Ubiquinol start to drop drastically around age 30 (or with certain drugs, like statins). So supplementation can start to play an important role at that point. And, as it turns out, the ovary one of the best sites for absorption.
Coenzyme Q10 / Ubiquinol is a form of enzyme that your body makes that helps produce the main fuel for mitochondria (the “engine” of each of your cells). In the case of egg cells, mitochondria is their only source of energy. As we age, our mitochondria slow down — essentially running out of gas. Imagining the enormous changes a fertilized egg must go through to become a healthy embryo, it’s no surprise that egg cells have 200 times more mitochondria than other cells and that they require tremendous energy.
As follicles get recruited (as many as 5 months before they’re actually ovulated), the mitochondrial DNA increases from 6000 copies to 200,000 copies. In the course of this, they are vulnerable to mutations and deletions which can result in chromosomally abnormal (aneuploid) eggs/embryos. Chromosomal abnormalities can cause failed implantation, chemical pregnancies, miscarriage, and babies with conditions like Down Syndrome. This is all much more likely when the “engine” of the egg cells are old and/or low on energy.
Before now, Western medicine has always firmly believed that the aging of eggs was irreversible. But according to a recent study involving CoQ10 and aging mice (equivalent to women in their 40s), it may actually be possible to improve egg quality and reverse some age-related infertility. In the study, the aging mice given CoQ10 got nearly double the number of ovulated eggs and consequently had litters nearly twice the size as the control group. What’s more, 100% of the mice given CoQ10 got pregnant compared to only 70% of the control.
Another study involving cow embryos found CoQ10 supplementation produced a higher rate of embryo cleavage, blastocyst formation rate, hatching rate, expanding blastocysts and larger size of inner cell mass.
A major breakthrough that these studies prove is that egg health is not purely about the number of years your eggs have existed. Indeed, your nutritional status is a key factor as well. And Coenzyme Q10 or Ubiquinol could make a big difference.