Coenzyme Q10 and Human Oocyte Quality

Oocytes. The ovaries contain female reproductive cells, which are called oocytes. The non-medical term for the oocyte is “egg.” When oocytes mature, they are capable of being fertilized, which results in a pregnancy. The female egg is also called an ovum (plural ova), comes from the oocyte. Supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 may improve human oocyte quality and female fertility [Rodríguez-Varela & Labarta 2021].

To mature successfully when they are released from the follicles and to transition into a developing embryo, oocytes have certain requirements:

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Potency of Coenzyme Q10 Supplements – Not All Equally Potent

Potency. You want the CoQ10 product you buy to be potent, don’t you? You want what you pay for. Otherwise, what is the point of buying the supplement?

Dr. William Judy
Dr. William Judy, founder and president of SIBR Research, has tested numerous CoQ10 supplements for their crystal dissolution and absorption and bioavailability. He has found considerable variability in the products. In his book, available from amazon.com, he summarizes the results of his studies.

If you think that all of the CoQ10 supplements offered on amazon.com are equally potent, then you could be wasting your money on an inferior CoQ10 product.

In the May 9th Nutraingredients blog, Hank Schultz reports on the results of a study of a few of the CoQ10 products offered on amazon.com. See here for full article.

Questionable Quality Control of Some CoQ10 Products Sold on Amazon.com

Schultz makes the following points in his blog article [Schultz 2022]:

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International CoQ10 Association Conference May 12-15, 2022

CoQ10 research. Every three years, the International Coenzyme Q10 Association (ICQA) holds an international conference. Speakers at the 10th conference of the ICQA held in Hamburg, Germany, May 12-15, 2022, made the following presentations:

Urban Alehagen
Prof. Urban Alehagen lecturing at the Hamburg conference in May 2022. He emphasized the effect of combined CoQ10 and selenium supplementation for elderly individuals with low intakes of both substances.

Coenzyme Q10 and Ageing

  • An ageing-related decrease in growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 result in an increase in sub-clinical inflammation. Coenzyme Q10 levels in organs, except in the liver, decline by approximately 50% in elderly individuals. The decrease in growth hormone and IGF-1 and the decline in Coenzyme Q10 in organs are inter-related [K. Brismar].
  • The biological mechanisms underlying the reduction in cardiovascular mortality and the improvement in heart function seen in senior citizens supplemented with a combination of Coenzyme Q10 and selenium in the KiSel-10 Study include the following [U. Alehagen]:
  1. reduced systemic inflammation
  2. improved endothelial dysfunction
  3. reduced fibrosis
  • Research has confirmed that combined CoQ10 and selenium supplementation is associated with longer telomere length, compared to placebo supplementation [U. Alehagen]. Note: Telomere length is a bio-marker for ageing.

Coenzyme Q10 and Bioavailability

The comparison of the results from different CoQ10 absorption and bioavailability studies is ill-advised because the results are based on different study protocols, different study groups, different formulations and different dosages of Coenzyme Q10, different modes of administration (fasting/non-fasting), different blood sampling techniques, and different observation times [I. Pravst].

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Heart Failure and Coenzyme Q10 as Adjuvant Therapy

Heart failure – it sounds scary. It is scary, but the medical term heart failure does not mean that your heart stops beating. No, instead, it means that your heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to your body.

Dr. William Judy
In the 30-year study of the management of congestive heart failure patients, Dr. Judy found that CoQ10 therapy in addition to conventional medication is more effective than conventional medication alone; however, the patients’ response to the CoQ10 adjunctive treatment is fairly slow, with peak improvements coming within 8 – 12 months. The conventional medication plus CoQ10 therapy is safe; it improves long-term survival compared to conventional medication alone.

Heart failure may develop because the heart muscle has weakened or has become thicker and stiffer. Your heart muscle can compensate for a period, but, eventually, you will need treatment.

The thing to remember is that the heart tissue is muscle tissue. As such, it needs a constant supply of ATP energy, and Coenzyme Q10 is essential to the process of ATP energy generation [Crane 2001]. Furthermore, the heart muscle tissue needs protection against the oxidative damage caused by harmful free radicals, and Coenzyme Q10 in its reduced form is an important antioxidant [Crane 2001].

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Coenzyme Q10 and Eye Disorders

Coenzyme Q10 is a essential component in the cellular process of energy production, and Coenzyme Q10 plays an important role in the antioxidant protection of the cells [Crane 2001].

Eye glasses
Compared to placebo, a combination of Coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and omega-3 fatty acids improved the visual acuity of patients with early age-related macular degeneration [Feher 2005].
With increasing age, our cells decline with respect to energy production and with respect to the threat from increased generation of harmful free radical species [Hargreaves, Heaton, & Mantle 2020].

Most of the Coenzyme Q10 available to the cells comes from endogenous bio-synthesis. Optimal CoQ10 bio-synthesis occurs in our 20’s and then follows a decline with increasing age that varies in different tissues and organs [Kalén 1989]. In heart tissue cells, the bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 at age 80 may be approximately half of what it was at age 25 years.

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Coenzyme Q10 to Alleviate Fatigue

Fatigue. In many disorders, patients experience fatigue, even extreme fatigue, e.g., heart failure patients, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia patients, multiple sclerosis patients, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome patients, etc.

Dr. William V Judy
Today’s author is Dr. William Judy, founder and president of the SIBR Research Institute, where he has conducted studies of the effect of CoQ10 supplementation on fatigue in chronic heart failure and chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

The chronic fatigue may well be associated with cellular energy depletion and impaired mitochondrial function [Mantle 2022].

  • Research studies have implicated mitochondrial dysfunction in the development of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia and in the resulting fatigue [Mantle 2022].
  • The outcomes of randomized controlled clinical trials have shown that CoQ10 supplementation significantly improves symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia patients [Mantle 2022].
  • A 2019 systematic review of CoQ10 supplementation studies has shown significant benefits of CoQ10 supplementation on fatigue following exercise, statin intake, the development of multiple sclerosis, and the development of end-stage heart failure [Mehrabani 2019].
  • Supplemental CoQ10 has been shown to significantly improve plasma and skeletal muscle CoQ10 levels, exercise tolerance, and exercise recovery time in chronic fatigue patients. The response is not rapid. It takes months of supplementation to allow mitochondria regeneration and the improvement in exercise tolerance. If the supplementation of CoQ10 is stopped, then the chronic fatigue will slowly return [Judy 2018a, 2018b].

Coenzyme Q10, Inflammation, and Fatigue

Mantle et al [2022] make the point that that inflammation, which involves the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, is not a wholly negative process in the body. Inflammation is the body’s normal response to infection or injury; it is essential for tissue healing.

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Coenzyme Q10 for People Over 65 Years of Age

Sufficient intakes of Coenzyme Q10 are increasingly important as we age. Our bodies synthesize less and less Coenzyme Q10 as we progress from middle age to our senior years. One estimate is that the CoQ10 status of an 80-year-old man’s heart muscle cells will be about half of what is normal in a 20-year-old man [Alehagen 2015].

Guillermo Lopez-Lluch
Prof. Guillermo Lopez-Lluch says that older people who have more symptoms of fragility also have lower concentrations of Coenzyme Q10 their blood plasma. The study data show that this relationship is more common in women than in men.

Sub-optimal levels of Coenzyme Q10 are associated with ageing, energy insufficiency, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease [Why Humans 2022].

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Combined Coenzyme Q10 and Selenium Supplementation

There is a special biological interrelationship between Coenzyme Q10 and selenium. From a cardiologist’s perspective, there is a theoretical advantage in using both substances to prevent heart disease if the patients’ intakes are sub-optimal [Alehagen & Aaseth 2015a].

Heart chambers
Four years of daily supplementation of senior citizens with a combination of Coenzyme Q10 and selenium resulted in reduced risk of death from heart disease and in improved heart function.

This advantage has been demonstrated in the outcomes of the KiSel-10 Study, a randomized controlled trial that enrolled elderly community dwelling Swedish citizens, average age 78 years, with known low serum selenium status (mean: 67.1 mcg/L) [Alehagen 2013; Alehagen 2016a; Alehagen 2016b].

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The Instability of Ubiquinol – Misleading Marketing Claims?

On the Web, I see many incorrect and undocumented marketing claims for ubiquinol supplements. As a long-time Coenzyme Q10 researcher, I worry that consumers will be persuaded by these misleading marketing claims. In this article, I want to give some background information about how the Coenzyme Q10 in supplements is absorbed and transferred in the body.

Choice of Two Different Forms of Coenzyme Q10 in Supplements

Dr. William Judy in the lab
In 2021, I have published the results of the SIBR Research lab studies and large dog studies of the instability of the ubiquinol supplement. The studies show that the ubiquinol in supplements will be converted to ubiquinone in the small intestines prior to absorption, will then be absorbed in the ubiquinone form, and will be converted back to ubiquinol in the lymph.

Let me start by saying that CoQ10 molecules are redox molecules that have an oxidized form called ubiquinone and a reduced form called ubiquinol. Regardless of whether the supplement manufacturer chooses to work with ubiquinone or ubiquinol, he or she must deal with the following problems [Judy 2018]:

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Coenzyme Q10 and the Elderly

As we get older, staying active and maintaining our physical capacity is important if we are to avoid becoming frail and vulnerable to falls.

Elderly couple
In this article, we present information about the relationship of plasma Coenzyme Q10 status to the physical capacity and the frailty of elderly individuals.

Combining daily Coenzyme Q10 supplementation with daily physical activity is good therapy for avoiding sarcopenia, which is the clinical name for the loss of muscle mass caused by ageing.

Professor Guillermo Lopez-Lluch and his colleagues in Sevilla, Spain, have reported the following results from a cross-sectional study of 64 volunteers, 47 women and 17 men. Thirty-two of the volunteers in the study were between 65 and 75 years old, and 32 volunteers were 76 years or older [de la Bella-Garzón 2022].

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