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Infertility is commonly attributed to the woman however facts show that for one third of infertile couples the cause lies with the male partner.
Not being able to have your own child naturally can be very frustrating and even devastating for many couples. There are many causes of infertility – genetic implications, physical or psychological problems, illnesses, nutritional deficiencies, medications, lifestyle factors, reproductive system function failures and hormonal imbalances.
Some studies on both male and female infertility have focused on the nutrient, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a substance that is found in the energy-producing centers of the body known as the mitochondria, and its possible link in improving fertility problems.
There are two main possibilities on the relationship of CoQ10 to fertility. One factor may be the major dependence of female eggs on CoQ10 for energy. The process of egg production, ovulation and embryo development in women consume a huge amount of energy and require high levels of CoQ10, which is involved in ATP production – also the major source of energy for muscle contraction and protein production.
As we age, our bodies produce less CoQ10 thereby affecting our fertility. This theory is supported by positive findings in Canadian research conducted in 2009 that showed test group subjects given CoQ10 supplementation produced more and better quality eggs, recorded higher pregnancy rates and gave birth to larger offspring than those who did not receive CoQ10.
Male fertility is also affected by decreased mitochondrial function since protein makes up most of sperm cells and depends largely on CoQ10 for synthesis.
Research shows that major causes of male infertility include low sperm count and poor sperm quality. Having strong antioxidant properties to counter these problems is another factor that makes CoQ10 beneficial for fertility. Antioxidants work by protecting egg and sperm cells from oxidative damage leading to cell death. This is one area that has more research completed so far, with results showing a direct relationship between higher levels of CoQ10 and significant increase both in seminal fluid and in sperm cells, as well as an improvement in sperm motility.
As an antioxidant, CoQ10 works against the action of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) which is proven to be deleterious to male fertility. Reduced levels of oxidative stress created a healthier environment for increased sperm volume and improved quality.
Overall the research is very clear – CoQ10 boosts both male and female fertility so speak to your naturopath about a high quality supplement with the correct therapeutic dose.