February 2, 2023

New review investigates the efficacy of CoQ10 and melatonin on male infertility

Infertility effects approximately 7.3 million couples in the US. One of seven couple will experience difficulty conceiving. About 40-50% of these the cause is unknown. It may be related to toxicity, oxidative damage, poor nutritional status or nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal or environmental toxicity, systemic disorders, hormonal imbalances, xenobiotic exposure, age-related decline, or obesity.

According to a recent review published in Nutrients, researchers investigated the efficacy of CoQ10 and melatonin on male fertility.

Coenzyme Q10 is involved in mitochondrial energy production and plays a key role as

an antioxidant. In this review, CoQ10 supplementation as a monotherapy was shown to enhance sperm motility and concentration as well as improve sperm DNA fragmentation in infertile men. In addition, these results also demonstrate that CoQ10 may by itself be effective in improving conception rates. The improvement in semen parameters was followed by a higher frequency of spontaneous pregnancy and better outcomes for assisted reproductive technology (ART). The dose of CoQ10 used as monotherapy was between 200-300 mg per day.

The research team also investigated the role of melatonin in male infertility; however, the data was limited. Melatonin is a free radical scavenger demonstrating its antioxidant potential.

Animal models have shown that melatonin may contribute to gonadal physiology by modulating androgen production (both centrally and locally) by acting as an immunomodulatory compound and by influencing the progression of germ cells to spermatozoa. Clinical data in men is limited compared to the broader evidence on female fertility from ovarian aging to clinical improvement on in vitro fertilization success rate. In conclusion, preclinical data regarding melatonin show potential in the context of male infertility, but additional clinical studies are needed.

Other nutrients that may be beneficial include vitamin D, fish oil, carnitine, zinc, and inositol.

Also, one must keep in mind that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) including Bisphenol A (BPA), Phthalates, PCBs, PBBs, PBDEs, pesticides, and heavy metals can also contribute to infertility.

It is important to minimize further exposure by eating organic produce, drink filtered water, use household products that are fragrance-free and free of phthalates and BPA, and replace non-stick pans with glass, ceramic, or cast iron.

Nutrients that can support detoxification pathways include n-acetyl-cysteine, glutathione, calcium D-glucurate, milk thistle, and sulforaphane.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Gianpaolo Lucignani, Letzia Maria Ippolita Jannello, et al. Coenzyme Q10 and Melatonin for the Treatment of Male Infertility: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2022 Nov 1;14(21):4585.