Dr. H. Singh, ND
The Antioxidant that may Increase Sperm Motility and Concentration while Reducing DNA Fragmentation
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 1 year of unprotected intercourse. It is estimated that around 50% of cases of Infertility are related to poor sperm health. A new clinical trial assessed for the impact of a single Antioxidant and how it may impact sperm health in patients diagnosed with idiopathic oligoasthenozoospermia (OAT). OAT is defined by a low sperm concentration, low sperm motility and low normal sperm morphology. The results from this trial are very exciting because it continue the discussion on how prenatal care for both partners may be of value prior to starting fertility treatments.
Which Antioxidant was Assessed for Improving Sperm Health?
The antioxidant used in the clinical study was CoenzymeQ10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is found in all tissues of the body, including the mitochondria found in sperm cells. It has an important role in supporting cellular respiration, energy production and may exert a beneficial antioxidant effect in the seminal fluid. The dose used in this particular study was 200 mg of CoQ10, every day, for a total of 3 months. Sperm parameters, blood tests, DNA fragmentation tests were completed prior to starting CoQ10 and again after the full 3 months of treatment. This was compared to a control group that received a placebo for 3 months as well.
Did CoQ10 Increase Sperm Motility, Sperm Concentration and Normal Sperm Morphology?
All of the above mentioned parameters increased after 3 months of treatment with CoQ10. The sperm concentration increased by an average of 2 million sperm cells/mL and the progressive sperm motility increased by an average of 6% after 3 months of treatment. Normal sperm morphology increased by an average of 0.3%.
The concentration of CoQ10 in the seminal plasma also increased after treatment, along with the total antioxidant capacity. There was an observed decrease in the oxidative stress/reactive oxygen species (associated with worse sperm health) after treatment as well. The researchers suggested that increasing the antioxidant capacity of the seminal fluid may protect sperm cells from the negative effects of oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species have been shown to harm the DNA integrity of sperm cells and harm the cellular membrane of sperm cells as well.
Sperm DNA fragmentation rates also decreased by an average of 4% after treatment. Elevated DNA fragmentation rates in sperm cells have been associated with worse outcomes in IVF and may also be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage as found in previous studies.
How did CoQ10 Improve Sperm Health?
The researchers demonstrated that CoQ10 decreased oxidative stress and increased the antioxidant capacity of the seminal fluid. Since sperm cells do not contain antioxidants inside, they are dependant on the presence of antioxidants in the seminal fluid to protect them from oxidative stress/reactive oxygen species.
Does CoQ10 Change Hormone Levels on Blood Tests?
Compared to pre-treatment levels, patients that received CoQ10 supplementation for 3 months showed a decrease in FSH and LH levels (secreted from the pituitary gland of the brain) and increased concentration of testosterone (secreted from leydig cells in testes). Prolactin levels did not change after 3 months of CoQ10 supplementation.
Characteristics of Patients Included in the Study:
The average age of patients in the treatment group was 31 years old. Only patients with idiopathic OAT were included, and therefore patients with varicocele, history of trauma or testicular surgery, genital infections, systemic illnesses, liver of kidney disease, hormonal disorders, anatomical disorders, currently using tobacco or alcohol, and patients with partners diagnosed with a cause of infertility were all excluded from this study.
Alahmar, A. T., Sengupta, P., Dutta, S., & Calogero, A. E. (2021). Coenzyme Q10, oxidative stress markers, and sperm DNA damage in men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratospermia. Clinical and Experimental Reproductive Medicine, 48(2), 150–155.
This blog post is intended to educate viewers on the existing preliminary results of studies on the topic, and it does not represent a personal opinion about it. It does not give any medical diagnosis. For more information on about CoQ10 for fertility, and if you have any questions or concerns regarding the Impact of supplements on your health or IVF/fertility treatment outcomes, please contact your healthcare provider(s). This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.