By Jasmine Sufi, Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Poor egg quality is becoming much more commonly diagnosed. For many couples that are trying to conceive poor egg quality is a major concern that they are facing and in turn are looking for answers that can help them improve their eggs. Not too long ago I wrote an article on CoQ10, a supplement that has been used by fertility doctors in large doses to help improve egg quality. CoQ10 is a substance that is naturally found in our diet in small amounts in meat, fish and some vegetables. CoQ10 has been found to be the active ingredient that enables energy to be converted and used within our cells, and as we age the amount of CoQ10 available within our bodies naturally decline. As our body ages our cells age too and they do so by becoming less and less energetically efficient. Imagine the energy a 20 year old has and then compare it to someone that is 70. The 20 year old can likely (not always) run faster and longer than someone that is 70. As we age, we become less efficient and so do our cells. CoQ10 helps the compartment in our cells that make energy (the mitochondria) by allowing the mitochondria to convert energy more efficiently as well as reducing oxidative stress (free floating debris that causes damage to cells). By improving energy production in the mitochondria and reducing damage to cells, CoQ10 essentially prolongs a cells life while improving its abilities.
In the last year, there has been growing studies supporting a new super nutrient coming onto the market that will assist CoQ10 in its work against aging, it is PQQ! (Pyrroloquinoline quinone). PQQ is a “vitamin like” component, found within enzymes of plants and bacteria. PQQ has been found to stimulate cell growth and serves as a cofactor (assistant) to specific enzymes involved in cellular growth, development, differentiation, and survival.1 PQQ has been found to improve cell functions by stimulating growth, reducing oxidative stress (protecting cells from damage) as well as – spontaneous generation of new mitochondria within aging cells, a process known as mitochondrial biogenesis.2
What does this all mean?
PQQ, this new supplement can actually create new mitochondria! This means that cells that were either damaged or has aged and were inefficient in creating energy, can now grow new cell energy making components. (it’s like an old car getting a new engine!). This cell with new mitochondria will be more productive and now will have the energy for important functions like growth and development. This is what makes the difference in fertility. Older aged, eggs that may have been unable to grow and divide previously may now become fertile! PQQ and CoQ10 are being prescribed together as helpful supplements that can improve egg quality and reverse cellular aging. PQQ creates more mitochondria the energy making components in cells while CoQ10 helps the mitochondria convert energy more efficiently.
How long should PQQ and CoQ10 be used for?
Both supplements should be used for a minimum of 3 months. The first batch of eggs will only be affected by 3 months of use. This is because before an egg is released the body selects the eggs to be released 3 months prior to the cycle it is being released in.
Are there any side effects to using PQQ and CoQ10?
CoQ10 has traditionally been used to improve heart health to treat heart conditions as well as neurological conditions, it is also found to be a powerful antioxidant. There are little to no side effects to the use of CoQ10. The benefits far out way the possible risks of stomach upset or skin irritation. PQQ is in the same boat. Little to no side effects to speak of and PQQ not only improves energy production but also is a superb antioxidant that has been shown to protect mitochondria in every cell as well as protect neural (brain cells) health. PQQ is being studied on the positive effects on reversing the damage on brain cells from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
PQQ has gotten me excited. It is not just another super antioxidant. This supplement is capable of generating new mitochondria – this is what makes PQQ stand out from the rest. In addition to having its incredible antioxidant abilities, protecting cells from damage and allowing them to function better, reducing the risk of chronic disease, PQQ can help improve energy reserves in eggs deemed of poor quality, reversing their age and improving their quality. PQQ can give older eggs the energy they need to grow and divide properly giving patients struggling with infertility a better chance of releasing a healthy egg capable of growing and dividing better.
- Rucker R, Chowanadisai W, Nakano M. Potential physiological importance of pyrroloquinoline quinone. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):268-77.
- Chowanadisai, W.; Bauerly, K. A.; Tchaparian, E.; Wong, A.; Cortopassi, G. A.; Rucker, R. B. (January 2010). “Pyrroloquinoline quinone stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis through cAMP response element-binding protein phosphorylation and increased PGC-1alpha expression”. Journal of Biological Chemistry 285 (1): 142–152. doi:10.1074/jbc.M109.030130. PMC 2804159. PMID 19861415.