Taking a 3-month course of coenzyme (Co)Q10 supplements could improve semen quality among infertile men, show researchers.
In a study of 47 men with oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT), those who took the supplement had reduced levels of oxidative stress and improved activity of antioxidant enzymes in the seminal plasma after 3 months, compared with men who took placebo.
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant and some trials have shown it can improve sperm quality in subfertile men. However, no studies have yet reported its effects on the activity of antioxidant enzymes such as catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in seminal plasma, say Mohammad Sadeghi (Avicenna Research Institute, Tehran, Iran) and colleagues.
As reported in Andrologia, taking CoQ10 200 mg/day significantly increased the men's mean seminal plasma level of CoQ10, from 44.7 ng/mL at baseline to 68.2 ng/mL at the end of the study.
There was a significant positive correlation between CoQ10 concentration and normal morphology of spermatozoa, and CoQ10 was also modestly but significantly correlated with the forward motility of sperm.
The researchers report that the men in the supplement group had a significantly higher mean seminal plasma level of catalase and SOD activity than those in the placebo group after 3 months, and the level of CoQ10 significantly correlated with the activity of both these enzymes.
Further analysis showed that the mean seminal plasma level of the oxidative stress biomarker 8-isoprostane significantly fell from baseline following CoQ10 supplementation compared with the placebo group.
"The semen of most OAT men is accompanied with increased oxidative stress, which impairs semen parameters and potentiates failure of sperm functions and fertility…," note the researchers. "Catalase and SOD are the first line of defence against ROS [reactive oxygen species]," they add.
The team says the findings suggest that supplementation with CoQ10 200 mg/day in OAT infertile men may attenuate oxidative stress and subsequently the deleterious effects of ROS on sperm and male fertility.
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