Coenzyme Q10 and pregnancy

Normally, in this blog we focus on clinical research into the effects of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation of heart failure patients, senior citizens, patients with high blood pressure, patients with diabetes, and so on. Today, we have summarized a randomized controlled trial of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation of pregnant women.

What about Coenzyme Q10 supplements for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, you ask.  Well, yes, that seems to be a logical question.  

Coenzyme Q10 is an essential factor in the cellular process of energy production.  It plays an important role in antioxidant protection of the cells. It helps to maintain good endothelial cell function [Littarru 2010].

And, pregnancy is certainly a time when women need extra energy.  Ditto when they are breastfeeding.  

Similarly, pregnancy and breastfeeding are times of increased oxidative stress and thus increased need for antioxidant protection.  Pre-term mothers and infants, in particular, need extra antioxidant defense [Abuhandan 2015].

Coenzyme Q10 and pregnancy: the evidence

The best study we have to date – a randomized controlled study – enrolled 235 pregnant women.  118 women were randomly assigned to take 200 milligrams of CoQ10 daily from week 20 of the pregnancy until delivery.  117 women were assigned to take a matching placebo for the same period [Teran 2009].

Only 17 women in the CoQ10 treatment group developed pre-eclampsia compared with 30 women in the placebo group. The 43% reduction in the risk of developing pre-eclampsia was statistically significant.

The researchers concluded that daily supplementation with CoQ10 reduces the risk of developing pre-eclampsia [Teran 2009].  There were no adverse effects of taking 200 milligrams of CoQ10 from week 20 of the pregnancy until delivery, neither for the mother nor for the baby.

CoQ10 and a safe pregnancy

Blood pressure disorders are a major cause of pregnancy complications throughout the world.

Studies have shown that low blood CoQ10 levels are associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia [Palan 2004] and with an increased risk of miscarriage [Noia 1996].

One plausible hypothesis is that inadequate antioxidant protection leads to increased cell damage caused by free radicals.  Increased endothelial cell damage leads to the development of pre-eclampsia [Palan 2004].

  • Coenzyme Q10 is plays a crucial role in improving endothelial function.
  • CoQ10 has a hypotensive effect [Littarru 2011].
  • Accordingly, CoQ10 as a lipid-soluble antioxidant may play a significant role in prevention of pre-eclampsia.

In addition, Coenzyme Q10 supplementation can improve the cellular production of energy at a time – during pregnancy and during breastfeeding – when more energy is needed.

Talk with your physician or gynecologist about CoQ10 supplements

Women planning a pregnancy should talk with their gynecologists about taking a Coenzyme Q10 supplement during the pregnancy.

  • In numerous clinical studies, oral CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to be safe, well-tolerated, and effective [Littarru 2010].  It is affordable.
  • Coenzyme Q10 has very low toxicity and does not induce serious adverse effects in humans [Hidaka 2008].
  • Studies have shown that there is considerable variation in the absorption and bio-availability of oral CoQ10 supplements [Lopez-Lluch 2018].

Not all Coq10 supplements equally good

The CoQ10 supplements on the market are not equally good.  It is important to choose a well-formulated CoQ10 supplement with documented absorption and efficacy.

For example, the Q-Symbio study showed that daily supplementation with 300 milligrams of CoQ10 resulted in significantly improved symptoms, quality of life, and survival in chronic heart failure patients [Mortensen 2014].

In the KiSel-10 study, daily supplementation with 200 milligrams of CoQ10 and 200 micrograms of a high-selenium yeast preparation resulted in significantly reduced risk of death from heart disease, better maintained heart function, and improved quality of life in senior citizens [Alehagen 2013].

In both studies, the same CoQ10 preparation was used.

CoQ10 and fertility issues

Please note: there is a growing literature about the effects of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation on male (and female) fertility.  That is an article for another day.

Sources

Abuhandan, M., Demir, N., Guzel, B., Almaz, V., Koca, B., Tuncer, O., & Cakmak, A. (2015). An Evaluation of Oxidative Status in Serum and Breast Milk of Mothers Giving Birth Prematurely and at Full-Term. Iranian Journal Of Pediatrics, 25(4), e2363. https://doi-org.db14.linccweb.org/10.5812/ijp.2363

Alehagen, U., Johansson, P., Björnstedt, M., Rosén, A., & Dahlström, U. (2013). Cardiovascular mortality and N-terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and Coenzyme Q10 supplementation: a 5-year prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among elderly Swedish citizens. International Journal of Cardiology, 167(5), 1860-1866. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.04.156

Hidaka, T., Fujii, K., Funahashi, I., Fukutomi, N., & Hosoe, K. (2008). Safety assessment of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Biofactors (Oxford, England), 32(1–4), 199–208. Retrieved from http://db14.linccweb.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=19096117&site=ehost-live

Littarru, G. P., Tiano, L., Belardinelli, R., & Watts, G. F. (2011). Coenzyme Q10 , endothelial function, and cardiovascular disease. Biofactors (Oxford, England), 37(5), 366–373. https://doi-org.db14.linccweb.org/10.1002/biof.154

Littarru, G. P., & Tiano, L. (2010). Clinical aspects of coenzyme Q10: an update. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 26(3), 250–254. https://doi-org.db14.linccweb.org/10.1016/j.nut.2009.08.008

López-Lluch, G., Del Pozo-Cruz, J., Sánchez-Cuesta, A., Cortés-Rodríguez, A. B., & Navas, P. (2019). Bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 supplements depends on carrier lipids and solubilization. Nutrition, 57, 133–140.

Mortensen, S. A., Rosenfeldt, F., Kumar, A., Dolliner, P., Filipiak, K. J., Pella, D., & Littarru, G. P. (2014). The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: results from Q-SYMBIO: a randomized double-blind trial. JACC. Heart Failure, 2(6), 641-649.

Noia, G., Littarru, G. P., De Santis, M., Oradei, A., Mactromarino, C., Trivellini, C., & Caruso, A. (1996). Coenzyme Q10 in pregnancy. Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy, 11(4), 264–270. Retrieved from http://db14.linccweb.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=8823607&site=ehost-live

Palan, P. R., Shaban, D. W., Martino, T., & Mikhail, M. S. (2004). Lipid-soluble antioxidants and pregnancy: maternal serum levels of coenzyme Q10, alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol in preeclampsia and normal pregnancy. Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, 58(1), 8–13. Retrieved from http://db14.linccweb.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=14988604&site=ehost-live

Teran, E., Hernández, I., Tana, L., Teran, S., Galaviz-Hernandez, C., Sosa-Macías, M., … Calle, A. (2018). Mitochondria and Coenzyme Q10 in the Pathogenesis of Preeclampsia. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 1561. https://doi-org.db14.linccweb.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01561

Teran, E., Hernandez, I., Nieto, B., Tavara, R., Ocampo, J. E., & Calle, A. (2009). Coenzyme Q10 supplementation during pregnancy reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia. International Journal of Gynaecology And Obstetrics, 105(1), 43–45. https://doi-org.db14.linccweb.org/10.1016/j.ijgo.2008.11.033

The information presented in this review article is not intended as medical advice.  It should not be construed as such.

Please click here for additional information about the heart health benefits of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation.

 

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