NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jul 13 - Ubiquinol, a form of coenzyme Q10, has a beneficial effect on sperm quality in infertile men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia, according to a new study.
"Despite great advances in the field of infertility, many cases of male infertility are diagnosed as idiopathic ... and remain untreated," Dr. Mohammad Reza Safarinejad, of the Clinical Center for Urological Disease Diagnosis in Tehran, Iran, told Reuters Health by email.
"There is a direct correlation between seminal plasma coenzyme Q10 concentration and semen parameters," he said. The study, published online in the Journal of Urology, was supported by Kaneka Corporation in Japan, which manufactures ubiquinol.
To test the safety and efficacy of ubiquinol supplementation, Dr. Safarinejad and his colleagues randomly assigned 228 infertile men to receive oral ubiquinol 200 mg or placebo daily for 26 weeks. They also followed the men for another 12-week off-drug period.
At 26 weeks, the mean sperm density in the ubiquinol group was 28.7 million/ml and 16.8 million/ml in the placebo group (p=0.005); sperm motility was 35.8% vs. 25.4% (p=0.008); and sperm strict morphology was 17.6% and 14.8% (p=0.01), respectively, of normal sperm.
Dr. Safarinejad said the substance was well tolerated.
"Improved semen quality does not translate into an improved pregnancy rate," the researchers concede. "In infertility treatment the ultimate outcome would probably be the pregnancy rate."
Nevertheless, they point out that considering the important role of oxidative stress in semen quality, antioxidants such as ubiquinol "deserve further attention from pharmaceutical companies and researchers."
Overall, concluded Dr. Safarinejad, "ubiquinol is significantly effective in men with unexplained infertility for improving sperm density, sperm motility and sperm morphology."
J Urol 2012.