TheraNatal OvaVite® preconception supplement
TheraNatal® OvaVite® is a new preconception supplement from American based company Theralogix. This product is marketed towards women aged 35 and over trying to fall pregnant.
This is a multivitamin supplement. It is formulated with key nutrients needed to support fertility. There are 22 minerals and vitamins, including 2000 IU of vitamin D3 and 1 mg of folic acid in this supplement.
In addition to the easy-to-swallow multivitamin, TheraNatal® OvaVite® also comes with soft gels containing 250mg of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Using patented VESIsorb® technology, the CoQ10 in this supplement has high bioavailability. This formula can improve the absorption rate up to 600% compared with other similar CoQ10 softgels[1. Liu ZX, Artmann C. Relative bioavailability comparison of different coenzyme Q10 formulations with a novel delivery system. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2009. 15(2): 42-6].
There is growing interest in the fertility benefits of CoQ10 and the role this unique compound may have in conception success within older women.
The fertility benefits of CoQ10
The process of follicle maturation to form an oocyte (egg) requires lots of energy. This is why the human egg has the highest concentration of mitochondria compared with any other cell. CoQ10 is an important antioxidant produced by the body. This vitamin-like nutrient is essential for cellular function and healthy egg production.
As women get older the body’s production of CoQ10 declines. Consequently the energy available to a woman’s eggs also reduces. This can lead to abnormalities in oocyte development due to impaired mitochondrial function[2. Bentov Y, Yavorska T, Esfandiari N, Jurisicova A, Casper RF. The contribution of mitochondrial function to reproductive aging. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. 2011. 28(9): 773-83]. Fertilisation potential can decline, and there are also heightened risks of miscarriage.
Research has shown that CoQ10 supplementation helps to elevate mitochondrial energy production and can positively affect egg development in mice[3. Burstein E, Perumalsamy A, Bentov Y, Esfandiari N, Jurisicova A, Casper RF. Co-enzyme Q10 supplementation improves ovarian response and mitochondrial function in aged mice. Fertility and Sterility. 2009. 92(3): S31]. Animal experiments by Ben-Meir and colleagues found that CoQ10 supplementation can preserve the ovarian reserve in aging mice. Furthermore, researchers found that CoQ10 supplementation could also enhance ovulation of gametes capable of normal development[4. Ben-Meir A, Burstein E, Borrego-Alvarez A, Chong J, Wong E, Yavorska T, Naranian T, Chi M, Wang Y, Bentov Y, Alexis J, Meriano J, Sung HK, Gasser DL, Moley KH, Hekimi S, Casper RF, Jurisicova A. Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. Aging Cell. 2015. 14(5): 887-895].
Based on animal models it’s thought that by increasing the availability of this important nutrient, older women may be able to enhance their fertility and improve the chances of achieving a healthy pregnancy[5. Bentov Y, Casper RF. The aging oocyte–can mitochondrial function be improved? Fertility and Sterility. 2013. 99(1): 18-22]. However, there are very few human evidence based studies that can confirm this theory.
The aging process between mice and women is very different. The period of CoQ10 supplementation in mice studies is the equivalent of approximately a decade of supplementation in humans due to the difference in lifespans. Also, it is unknown if CoQ10 alone could help to enhance oocyte development.
CoQ10 and aneuploidy
Bentov and colleagues investigated the effects of CoQ10 supplementation in women undertaking IVF-ICSI treatment. The researchers were specifically interested to determine if CoQ10 could help to reduce abnormal chromosomal development (aneuploidy). They found that supplementation with CoQ10 helped to reduce the incidences of aneuploidy[6. Bentov Y, Hannam T, Jurisicova A, Esfandiari N, Casper RF. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation and Oocyte Aneuploidy in Women Undergoing IVF-ICSI Treatment. Clinical Medicine Insights. Reproductive Health. 2014. 8:31-36].
Only a small number of women participated in this study due to safety concerns regarding the implications of polar body biopsy on the quality of the embryo and implantation success. More research is needed to determine how beneficial CoQ10 could be in reducing the potential for genetic abnormalities in developing babies.
CoQ10 and PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can significantly impair fertility. Women diagnosed PCOS wanting to start a family typically need medical intervention to help aid ovulation and improve conception chances.
Clomiphene citrate (also known as Clomid, Serophene) is often prescribed to help stimulate ovulation. However, some women do not respond well to this medication. There is preliminary evidence to suggest supplementation with CoQ10 may help to induce ovulation and support better fertility in women with PCOS.
Refaeey and colleagues investigated the potential fertility benefits of CoQ10 in a prospective randomized controlled trial involving women with PCOS. They found that the combination of clomiphenes citrate and CoQ10 supplementation enhance ovulation and clinical pregnancy rates in clomiphene-citrate-resistant PCOS patients[7. El Refaeey A, Selem A, Badawy A. Combined coenzyme Q10 and clomiphene citrate for ovulation induction in clomiphene-citrate-resistant polycystic ovary syndrome. Reproductive Biomedicine Online. 2014. 29(1): 119-124]. Thus, CoQ10 supplementation may be beneficial for women with PCOS attempting to conceive.
Should you take TheraNatal® OvaVite®?
Unfortunately the research into the effects of CoQ10 supplementation on human female fertility is still largely unknown. There have been positive findings in animal models, yet more research is needed to determine how effective this vitamin-like is for humans.
The benefits of this supplement for healthy women may be negligible. However, women diagnosed with PCOS could potentially benefit from this supplement. There is also some evidence that CoQ10 supplementation may help to minimise birth defects.
If you are over the age of 35 and you are trying to have a baby then taking TheraNatal® OvaVite® may help. However, it’s important to remember that there are many different factors that influence fertility. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, staying active, minimising stress, and getting plenty of sleep are also important.
Focusing on nutrients that are proven to be important when trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy is highly recommended. For example, omega 3 and folic acid are extremely important in the development of healthy babies. Folic acid is among the 22 ingredients found in TheraNatal® OvaVite® multivitamin; however omega 3 is not included in this supplement.
Cost of Theralogix prenatal supplements
There are several purchasing options when it comes to Theralogix prenatal supplements.
If you want to purchase both the multivitamin and the CoQ10 softgels, then TheraNatal® OvaVite® is the most cost effective option. For a 91 day supply of these products you can expect to pay between $120 and $140 USD.
Alternatively, if you are just interested in the prenatal multivitamin, TheraNatal® Core is the best option. This costs between $25 and $29 USD for a 90 day supply.
The CoQ10 softgels can be purchased alone for between $120 and $140 USD. These are sold under the product name of NeoQ10
Seek a second opinion
Talk to your doctor or fertility specialist to determine the suitability of TheraNatal® OvaVite® or any of the other Theralogix prenatal supplements. Certain medications and/or other multivitamins may cause unwanted side effects.
Therefore it is important to discuss any medication, whether it’s a prescription or natural supplement, with a health professional prior to taking TheraNatal® OvaVite®. There are many great prenatal supplements on the market. It’s important to select the one that’s right for your individual circumstances.