Ever heard of CoQ10 for PCOS? This antioxidant has many roles in the body, particularly in the production of energy. There may also be some links between CoEnzyme Q10 supplementation and fertility outcomes. In this article, we dive into the evidence surrounding CoQ10 and PCOS and discuss side effects, dosage, contraindications and more.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is a common endocrine or hormone disorder. There is no ‘typical’ person with PCOS as symptoms differ from person to person. Often the symptoms include menstrual cycle disturbances, acne, and unwanted hair growth, commonly on the face. As there is no cure for PCOS, often lifestyle changes like nutrition swaps and using supplements can be added to help manage symptoms. One of these supplements may be CoEnyme Q10.
What is CoEnzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also commonly known as ubiquinone is a fat-soluble antioxidant. It has a similar structure to vitamin K which is naturally present in the body, with the highest levels in the liver, kidneys, pancreas and heart. As an antioxidant, COQ10 supports cellular energy (or ATP) production.
Evidence supports that CoQ10 may play a role in regulating blood glucose, and may reduce the risk of insulin resistance, reduce blood pressure, improve fertility and embryo quality, and reduce migraine incidence.
Potential benefits of CoQ10 for PCOS
Research on CoQ10 for PCOS is limited and more is required to understand the effect of coenzyme Q10 specifically on people with PCOS and their symptoms. But, the evidence we have so far is promising, so let’s take a look at the potential benefits of CoQ10 for PCOS.
May reduce biomarkers of inflammation
There is evidence to suggest that people with PCOS may have chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress, the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body, can lead to inflammation. That’s why it is thought that CoQ10, an antioxidant, may lead to reduced inflammation and improved outcomes for people with PCOS.
A 2021 study investigated the efficacy of CoQ10 on a variety of biomarkers of inflammation in people with PCOS. They found that 8 weeks of supplementation improved inflammation markers in people with PCOS. It is important to note that this study only had 41 participants so larger studies are required.
May improve insulin resistance
People with PCOS are at a higher risk of insulin resistance. It is believed that insulin resistance may be both a driver and a symptom of PCOS. Insulin resistance is when the body’s tissues are resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone involved in blood glucose management.
A meta-analysis of 1021 people with PCOS concluded that supplementing with CoQ10 may improve insulin resistance, fasting insulin and fasting plasma glucose.
Similarly, in a study of 86 people with PCOS, CoQ10, whether supplemented alone or with vitamin E, had significant effects on fasting blood sugar and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance.
May improve egg quality and aid fertility
A randomised controlled study examined the impact of CoQ10 on people with reduced ovarian reserve or poor ovarian response. They found that pretreatment with CoQ10 increased the number of retrieved oocytes, a higher fertilisation rate and more high-quality embryos. It is important to note that this study did not use people with PCOS as participants.
A study investigating the effect of CoQ10 with Clomid for ovulation induction in people with clomiphene-citrate-resistant PCOS found that those taking CoQ10 and Clomid had higher pregnancy rates than those taking Clomid alone.
The meta-analysis mentioned above also looked at the impact of CoQ10 on sex hormones and found that supplementing may improve sex hormone levels such as FSH and testosterone, which may in turn lead to improved fertility outcomes.
>> Read More | PCOS and Fertility: the ultimate guide to conception
Sources of CoQ10
CoQ10 can be found in the diet and primary dietary sources include oily fish, organ meats and whole grains. The majority of people will be able to get enough CoQ10 in their diet, but those with certain health conditions and older people may require supplementation.
The typical CoQ10 dose is 30 to 100 mg per day but the recommended amount may go as high as 200 mg per day. Always speak to a doctor or your healthcare professional before taking supplements.
Side effects of CoQ10 supplementation
No serious side effects of CoQ10 supplements have been noted. Mild side effects like gastrointestinal upsets or insomnia may occur.
There may be interactions of CoQ10 with some medications like anticoagulant medications like warfarin and drugs for diabetes like insulin.
Best CoQ10 supplements for PCOS?
When we’re looking at the best CoQ10 supplements for PCOS it is important to consider what was used in the clinical studies to ensure we are using evidence-based guidance. This suggests a dosage of approximately 100mg of CoQ10 per day alongside maintaining a varied, balanced diet.
CoQ10 is available in a variety of forms including soft gel capsules, oral sprays, hard gel capsules and tablets.
FAQ: CoQ10 and PCOS
Metformin is a prescribed medication to manage insulin resistance as it helps your body utilise the insulin your body is making better. The primary indication for prescribing metformin is as first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes
There is no evidence to suggest contraindications to be taken alongside prescribed metformin. However, you can consult your doctor regarding supplementation alongside prescribed medication.
It’s also important to note that both CoQ1 and metformin have potential GI side effects, so be aware of this if you have gut sensitivities.
Myo-inositol, either taken alone or in combination with D-chiro-inositol (in a ratio of 40:1) may improve insulin sensitivity, reducing testosterone levels and regulating menstrual cycles. There is no evidence to suggest that you are not able to take inositol with CoQ10. Due to the similar structure to vitamin K, it is not advised to take alongside anticoagulants (blood thinners), such as warfarin.
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take CoQ10 because of the lack of safety information on the supplement in these populations. Those taking blood thinner medication and insulin shouldn’t take CoQ10.
As CoQ10 is a fat-soluble vitamin, you can enhance absorption by taking it alongside a meal that contains oil or fats.
Key takeaways: CoQ10 and PCOS
CoQ10 is an antioxidant which may have benefits for PCOS including reducing inflammation, improving insulin resistance and aiding fertility. But, as with most research on PCOS, more high-quality studies are required to understand the efficacy of CoQ10. The side effects are mild but always consult your healthcare professional before trying a new supplement.