Coenzyme Q10 has received a lot of attention for benefitting people with a variety of conditions, including migraine. If you’re still wondering what it is and how it might help you, keep reading to learn more about the role Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may play in helping you live with migraine.
Will Coenzyme Q10 Help Prevent Migraines?
Yes, it could! Several reputable organizations, including the American Headache Society, the American Academy of Neurology, and the Canadian Headache Society actually recommend CoQ10 for migraine prophylaxis (migraine prevention).
In fact, one study published in Cephalalgia noted that most study participants saw a decrease of more than 50% in their headache days.
Could CoQ10 Reduce Migraine Duration?
Yes, it could. In a 2018 review of studies, CoQ10 was shown to effectively shorten migraine duration, when compared to a placebo. In 2021, another review study of 371 adults found that supplementing with CoQ10 reduced both frequencies of attacks per month and attack duration.
Could CoQ10 Reduce the Frequency of Migraine?
Yes, CoQ10 could actually reduce migraine frequency. Over the years, several scientific studies have shown CoQ10 can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, making it a potential tool for migraine prevention. An additional small study in 2005 suggested taking a CoQ10 supplement daily could reduce migraine frequency by 48%.
How Does CoQ10 Work?
CoQ10 Works by Reducing CGRP Levels
CGRP stands for calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor. Since these receptors are understood by scientists to be related to pain, it’s no surprise that they’re higher during a migraine attack. While scientists don’t know exactly why this is the case, studies have shown that reducing CGRP levels can prevent migraines. And CoQ10 has been shown to do just that.
CoQ10 Works by Protecting Mitochondria
While science hasn’t identified what exactly causes migraine, study suggests that mitochondria may be involved. See, mitochondria are the structures inside your cells that produce energy, but they also help protect your cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
Muscle and nerve tissues have a lot of mitochondria in them, and if some of those mitochondria are defective, then that damage may increase. As you have probably heard, antioxidants are key to preventing that free radical damage. And as a matter of fact, CoQ10 has powerful antioxidant properties. It’s believed that reducing free radical damage to mitochondria may help with migraine prophylaxis.
What Is CoQ10?
CoQ10 is one of the essential compounds your body makes naturally, and it’s stored in the mitochondria within your cells. It plays a critical role in converting the nutrients you eat, such as fatty acids and carbohydrates, into fuel for cellular energy transfer.
CoQ10 is also an antioxidant that works at the cellular level to aid in cell maintenance and growth. CoQ10 is found in certain foods like whole grains, fatty fish (trout, herring, etc.), spinach, organ meats (heart, liver, etc.), beef, and chicken, but the amounts are usually not adequate for raising its levels within the body. Couple this with the fact that as the body ages, CoQ10 decreases and it is easy to see how some people may need a CoQ10 supplement.
What may be more interesting to you is the fact that migraineurs have lower levels of CoQ10 in their bodies, along with nutrients like magnesium and riboflavin. It is thought that these lower levels may play a role in migraine.
What’s the Best CoQ10 Dosage for Migraines?
There is no established best dose of CoQ10 for migraine, and it’s not FDA-approved as a migraine treatment or preventive. It’s considered a dietary supplement.
How much CoQ10 is right for you may be influenced by several factors, including:
- The type of CoQ10 you take (ubiquinol or ubiquinone)
- How severe your migraine attacks are
- Other medications you might be taking
- Any other conditions you have
Earlier we mentioned a small 2005 study that suggested taking CoQ10 every day could bring about a 48% reduction in migraine frequency. For that study, a dose of 100 mg was given three times daily.
Another small study in 2019 found that adult women who took 400 mg of CoQ10 daily for three months saw a reduction in the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine attacks.
We recommend that you talk to your doctor about taking CoQ10 for migraine, and what dosage would be best for you.
Does CoQ10 Have Any Side Effects?
CoQ10 is generally considered safe. Study data of CoQ10 taken for other conditions suggests that people tolerate up to 1,200 mg of CoQ10 daily with no side effects. However, like any other supplement, you could increase your risk of unwanted effects if you take too much.
Taking it with food might help reduce your risk of these side effects, and also improve your body’s absorption.
Some of the common side effects of CoQ10 include:
Rare side effects of CoQ10 include:
- Light sensitivity
CoQ10 may interact with some medications, including blood thinners, cancer drugs, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants. It also may not be best for you if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, have liver or kidney problems, have diabetes, or have low blood sugar. Talk to your doctor before taking CoQ10 if any of these apply to you.
How Fast Does CoQ10 Work?
CoQ10 probably won’t work right away. Please keep in mind that dietary supplements, including CoQ10, can take time to have an effect. You might not see much difference in your migraine symptoms until you’ve been taking CoQ10 for a few months.
CoQ10 isn’t like popping ibuprofen. It’s not a pain relief drug that’s meant to start reducing your pain in 20 minutes. It’s something you can take daily to make your life with migraine easier.
What Other Supplements Help With Migraine?
Yes, there are some other supplements that have shown promise in helping people with migraine or other types of chronic discomfort and could be worth looking into. We won’t get into all the details here, but they include:
Thuswell has developed drug-free migraine supplements with natural ingredients like these, designed to help you live better with your condition. Our ingredients are well-researched, obtained from quality sources, and manufactured with the highest standards. Shop now and stay tuned, because we are always working on new, drug-free supplements and tools to help you manage your migraine.