Can CoQ10 improve your sperm count?
Singapore’s declining birth rate is once again a hot topic after Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s recent comments and those of acting head of MCYS Chan Chun Sing. Younger Singaporeans are encouraged to get married and start families, but could the problem be more biological than economic? Could CoQ10 play a role in these circumstances?
If you are having trouble getting pregnant don’t go to a fertility clinic yet — recent research has shown that taking CoQ10 can boost your sperm count. New research shows that Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) could help improve sperm count and motility (the ability of sperm to move towards the egg). Researchers in Italy have had significant results with CoQ10 helping men with low sperm counts and or low motility sperm.
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The researchers divided the men into two groups. The ones who took a daily dose of CoQ10 experienced significant improvement in sperm cell motility, the quality of the sperm cell; which doubled the impregnation rate compared to the men not taking CoQ10. Other researchers have found the same thing including a team in Israel who found that CoQ10 significantly improved sperm mobility and more than doubled the fertilisation rate in a test group with low mobility sperm.
For more insights into the benefits of CoQ10, we speak to two experts, Christina Lim, qualified pharmacist and CEO of Ocean Health and Dr Sundardas DA, naturopath and clinical director of the Natural Therapies Centre:
1. Is Coq10 important to general health?
Dr Sundardas: It’s well documented just how vital CoEnzyme Q10(CoQ10)is to just about every function in your body. No other substance supercharges your cells and helps prevent and reverse heart problems, high blood pressure, blocked arteries, nerve damage, brain cell deterioration, abnormal cell growth, breathing problems, gum disease, muscle wasting, blood sugar imbalance, skin damage, headaches, obesity, infertility, and that’s just for starters.
Part of CoQ10’s role as a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger is to help to protect against the effects of ageing. An excess number of free radicals can cause damage by taking molecules from proteins, lipids and even DNA, making the cells they are taken from vulnerable to disease. As well as protecting against free radicals CoQ10 also improves oxygen utilisation and by increasing your body’s ability to metabolise oxygen it helps to improve physical endurance and reduce the sensation of fatigue.
2. Does everyone need a Coq10 supplement?
Dr Sundardas: Everyone after 35 could benefit from a CoQ10 supplement. For specific health conditions, those younger than 35 would benefit as well.
If you are healthy, not engaging in strenuous sporting activity, under 40, and don’t have any fertility issues you probably don’t need a CoQ10 supplement. However studies have shown that CoQ10 levels drop dramatically as we get older, which directly impacts the functioning of muscular tissues like the heart. Recent studies also seem to suggest that it may be helpful in slowing other age related conditions such as the degeneration of cognitive function so it might be helpful for anyone over 45. It is also popular with athletes so if you engage in strenuous sporting activity, have a physically demanding lifestyle, or find yourself frequently fatigued CoQ10 can help increase your energy levels.
3. With regard to fertility, does CoQ10 have an effect on sperm count?
Dr Sundardas: CoQ10 is an antioxidant; research has shown a positive relationship between supplementing CoQ10 and the improvement of male fertility. In patients with low sperm count and especially low sperm motility (the movement of the sperm), CoQ10 helped significantly.
Christina Lim: There is very strong evidence from two recent studies that show that CoQ10 has a remarkably beneficial effect on both the number of sperm being produced and the mobility and viability of those sperm. This could be very significant as doctors and scientist across the developed world have been recording a dramatic decline in men’s sperm counts which CoQ10 seems to be able to reverse.
Researchers in Italy have had some amazing results with CoQ10 helping men with low sperm counts and or low motility sperm. The researchers divided infertile men into two groups. The ones who took a daily dose of CoQ10 experienced significant improvement in sperm cell motility, the quality of the sperm cell; which doubled their successful impregnation rate compared to the men not taking CoQ10.
Other researchers have found the same thing including a team in Israel who found that CoQ10 significantly improved sperm mobility and more than doubled the fertilisation rate in a test group with asthenospermic (Low mobility) sperm.
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4. What is your advice to couples who want to conceive and begin taking CoQ10 supplements?
Dr Sundardas: CoQ10 together with a healthy diet, positive lifestyle and appropriate nutritional supplementation can increase the chances of healthy conception.
Christina Lim: As a trained scientist and qualified pharmacist I have to acknowledge that it is still early days in this field of research but the results so far seem very promising and as CoQ10 has been shown to be safe in hundreds if not thousands of trials of different sorts all around the world I would say it can’t hurt to try and it might very well double your chances.
There are a few other supplements men can take which may help boost sperm production and or viability taking a good quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement that contains vitamin C, B vitamins, Selenium, Zinc is a good idea and vitamin E is also recommended by some experts.
Other than that I would recommend eating a diet that includes lots of natural, whole, unprocessed foods. The best foods for health in general and also for sperm count problems, are whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in particular have been shown to help with male fertility. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are rich sources of amino acids which are the building blocks of life and necessary for egg and sperm production. Some healthcare practitioners prescribe amino acids such as l-arginine to enhance fertility.
It is also a good idea to eat more monounsaturated fats (like olive oil) and less trans fats (like the kind found in many baked goods or fast foods). You can also try swapping some of the animal protein in your diet, especially the red meat for healthier vegetable alternatives like soy. Consuming moderate amounts of high-fat dairy products — like ice cream, whole milk, and cheese is also thought to help.
When possible, try to eat fresh organic foods. Many scientists and doctors suspect that the drops in male sperm counts and female infertility in the last few decades may be related to toxins found in the modern environment such as the chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in intensive farming.
You should also avoid alcohol. In addition to the general health benefits of cutting alcohol out of your diet it may also assist with sexual performance issues. The same goes for smoking which is probably the worst health risk going.
6. What makes Ocean Health CoQ10 50mg and 150mg better than other CoQ10 products on the market?
I would rather not comment on other brands but I am happy to explain how we make sure all Ocean Health products live up to our promise of ‘Quality you can trust’. I personally formulate and test all Ocean Health products for quality, efficacy, consumer appeal and even taste.
Every batch of Ocean Health supplements is tested by the Ocean Health Quality Assurance Team. The team, which consists of a pharmacist and a pharmaceutical scientist, is responsible for monitoring the quality of every product batch and reports any discrepancies in quality to the management. The team is also responsible for suggesting ways to improve storage, packaging and shipping processes and methods.
Although it is not required by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Ocean Health have added an additional quality control procedure, we retain samples of all product batches and check upon them every year to confirm their stability. The samples are also tested at the end of their shelf life.
The Ocean Health Regulatory and Research Team, which consists of a biotechnologist and a nutritionist, also assists in researching on the safety and efficacy of each product ingredient and is responsible for ensuring that regulatory requirements for the packaging, shipping and marketing, etc of Ocean Health products are met in every country. That’s why I am happy and confident in putting my name and the Ocean Health name and reputation behind all our products.
Christina Lim is the founder and CEO of Ocean Health, now one of the top health supplement brands in retail pharmacies in Singapore. Overseas, Ocean Health’s over 80 health supplements and skincare products are available in Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Cambodia, and will soon be launched in China while the TDF (Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula) range of skincare products is available in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Vietnam.