What A CoQ10 Up!
Confused by the different forms of CoQ10 available, why it matters and how it can help your fertility journey?
You might have heard about the importance of supplementing with CoQ10 but the different forms available can often cause confusion as to what you should really be taking to help with your fertility. Ubiquinone, Ubiquinol or CoQ10? And what’s the difference?
Here our experts lay it out by answering your most common questions.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage and supports metabolism. This supplement is hands down one of the single best things you can take to improve egg quality.
It is found in every cell in the body, including your eggs and has the potential to prevent or even reverse the decline in egg quality that comes with age. Mind. Blown.
It also combats ‘Oxidative Stress’ (read more here as to why that’s so important) which if left unchecked may result in reduced egg quality.
The Potent Powerhouse
A real powerhouse for your eggs, CoQ10 increases the supply of cellular energy available and increases egg and embryo quality. Anyone who is ttc will benefit from taking CoQ10 but it is particularly helpful for those who are 30 or older and/or experiencing fertility issues.
Recent research shows just how important this molecule is to preserving egg quality and fertility. Your mitochondria are crying out for CoQ10. It gives them life, literally. It creates electrical energy inside mitochondria which in turn creates adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Cells then use ATP as fuel to power just about every single biological process in our bodies. CoQ10 does plenty of fantastic work in our bodies, however we are specifically concerned with the role of CoQ10 in mitochondria and how it benefits egg quality.
As we get older, mitochondria become damaged and less efficient at producing energy. Ageing eggs accumulate genetic damage in mitochondria and even the number of mitochondria declines in the follicle cells that surround each egg. As a result, mitochondria in eggs from older women make less energy - that is, less ATP. The inability to make enough ATP is a big problem for egg quality and is likely a major way in which age negatively affects egg quality.
Scientists have long known of the link between the ATP levels in an egg and that egg’s potential to mature properly and become a high-quality embryo. Research has continued to demonstrate that an egg’s ability to produce a spike of ATP in the specific time and place needed for major development tasks is absolutely critical for proper egg development.
CoQ10 and IVF
This powerful antioxidant has been proven to increase the number of eggs retrieved, the quality of embryos and eggs, and the number of positive pregnancy tests in IVF. Is there anything CoQ10 can’t help with, we hear you ask.
Two 2018 controlled studies confirmed that taking CoQ10 for 1-2 months before starting IVF treatment significantly boosts egg quality. More eggs were fertilised and a higher proportion of good-quality embryos were produced. The best news of all was the difference in the number of cancelled cycles for those taking CoQ10 and those who weren’t. In the women taking it, only 8% of cycles were cancelled due to poor egg development, compared to 23% for those who weren’t. Even further, 18% of women in the group taking CoQ10 had embryos available to freeze compared to 4% for those who weren’t.
This was backed up even further in a 2020 systematic review of 46 trials involving 6,312 women where ten treatments for poor ovarian response in IVF were evaluated. The CoQ10 treatments resulted in a “significantly higher chance” of clinical pregnancy” and CoQ10 supplementation led to the lowest cancellation rates for IVF cycles.
Correct Your Chromosomes
An egg being able to produce energy exactly when needed is particularly important for it to be able to mature with the correct number of chromosomes. Why so? Well, the egg splits and separates and ejects copies to get to those magic numbers of chromosomes and it’s a seriously energy-intensive process. That process needs to be fuelled correctly so your egg can perform, that’s why CoQ10 is such an essential supplement for egg health.
Chromosomal errors become much more common after the mid-30s and also more common in people with a history of fertility problems or several early miscarriages. Suboptimal energy production by mitochondria may therefore directly contribute to infertility, failed IVF cycles and early pregnancy loss by contributing to chromosome segregation errors in eggs.
Think of it this way - whilst “older” women are frequently told their eggs simply decline with age, we think it important to take a step back from that and ask why. Science now tells us that the issue isn’t with older eggs themselves, rather it’s an older egg’s ability to produce the kind of energy needed to complete all the complex processes and copying that are required for an egg to correctly mature and fertilise. We really can’t stress it enough, fuelling your eggs correctly is simply everything when you’re ttc.
Among fertility doctors and research scientists, it is now a generally accepted principle that having high-performing mitochondria is a hallmark of egg quality. The latest research also shows that the ability to make energy when needed is the single most important factor in determining the competence of eggs and embryos. The better an egg’s ability to produce energy, the more likely it is to mature and successfully fertilise.
What happens if an egg does not have enough energy to do what’s needed and ends up with an incorrect number of chromosome copies? Well, it is still possible for that embryo to be fertilised, but unfortunately, it will become an embryo with a much-reduced chance of survival. A double-blind placebo study found a lower rate of chromosomal abnormalities in embryos from women taking CoQ10.
CoQ10 is naturally found in ovarian follicles to perform this important role of supporting energy production and protecting mitochondria. A higher level of CoQ10 is associated with higher-quality eggs and a higher pregnancy rate. A recent study also found a high level of CoQ10 in follicular fluid (the fluid that surrounds the egg in the ovary) is associated with higher pregnancy rates.
The single greatest cause of failure of embryos to survive the first week, implantation failure and early pregnancy loss is caused by errors in the number of chromosome copies. By increasing our intake of this nutrient, we can increase the energy supply needed to fuel egg development, with the added benefit of reducing chromosomal error and increasing egg and embryo viability.
This strikes to the very core as to why OVUM starts with the egg. It’s about time we upped our game when it comes to mitochondrial function and so now we understand just how important taking CoQ10 is, our next step is to learn which form to take and in what dose.
So which form of CoQ10 should I be taking to reap these benefits and in what dose?
Most mainstream fertility supplements boast they contain CoQ10, which is now widely accepted as being a crucial supplement to be taking when trying to conceive. However, where they fail is in the form of CoQ10 they contain and the dosage - cutting corners is something we commonly see and many opt for the cheapest least absorbable form of CoQ10 and in the lowest possible dose for cost savings. The scientific evidence now available is clear on which form of CoQ10 we should be taking and in what dose - yes it’s more expensive, but it’s exactly what you’ll find in OVUM.
The standard form of CoQ10 is called Ubiquinone. It is not very soluble and therefore much less of the advertised dosage amount is absorbed by the body. Once ingested, your clever body gets to work to convert this cheaper ingredient into the second form of CoQ10 known as ‘Ubiquinol’. Once that’s done, what’s left over is a form of CoQ10 that your body can absorb. What this means is you’re not absorbing the dose of CoQ10 that you need to improve egg health, this is especially so when the product already contained a low dose to begin with. It is therefore very difficult to ensure you’re getting the correct dose of this egg-fuelling gem of a supplement.
Many have therefore switched to taking Ubiquinol directly, ensuring they’re giving their eggs the best fuel possible. The problem? Ubiquinol must be one of the most expensive supplements known to women. Adding the high dosage needed added roughly £82 to the cost of a one-month supply of OVUM!
So we went back to the drawing board. Our research scientists did what they do best and after a great deal of time (worth the wait, trust us) we now have a form of CoQ10 that is clinically proven to have a higher absorption rate. What’s more, we’ve been able to manufacture it here in the U.K at a far more reasonable price than the exorbitant cost of Ubiquinol. Happy days and well done to our formidable team.
So say hello to Micro Active™ CoQ10…
Here at OVUM, we use our own patented formulation of CoQ10 that is designed to be more readily absorbed and has significantly higher rates of bioavailability than other CoQ10 formulations. Recent research shows there are other forms of CoQ10 with higher rates of absorption than Ubiquinol too, so it is now becoming clear that modern science can offer better and more sustainable options than the expensive Ubiquinol, making it more accessible to all.
Our extensively-researched Micro Active ™ CoQ10 is now recommended by fertility doctors to enhance egg quality and we’re especially proud of the team behind Micro Active™ CoQ10 so we can provide what we consider an essential component of egg health at an affordable and accessible price.