Coenzyme Q10 for Migraine Prevention

by Teri Robert, Lead Expert

Migraineurs are always looking for methods to help prevent Migraine attacks. We would like to avoid medications as much as possible, and we're always concerned about the possible side effects. Over the years, in addition to countless medications, many Migraineurs have tried numerous dietary supplements. There are times when supplements work for some people. Unfortunately, more often than not, we see little if any decrease in the frequency or severity of Migraine attacks.

An open label trial of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) as a Migraine preventive was very promising.1 The results were published in Cephalalgia. The introduction to the article states:

"At present there are very few efficacious migraine preventives and fewer without significant side-effects. In medicine there has been a trend towards the development of natural therapies that can be safely taken by all who suffer with a disease regardless of age and past medical history. Migraine in particular is a disorder of young people and this patient population is very resistant to taking any form of medication, especially when it needs to be used on a daily basis. Migraine can be a disabling disorder and migraine preventives have been shown to not only reduce headache frequency, intensity and duration but also improve quality of life. Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring substance and essential element of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. It has been the most extensively studied agent for the treatment of mitochondrial disorders and has been shown to have almost no identifiable side-effects in humans. There has been a recent interest in the role that mitochondria may play in migraine pathogenesis ... The objective of this investigation is to assess the efficacy of coenzyme Q10 as a preventive treatment for migraine."1

Dosage and potential side effects:
The dosage recommended and used in the study is 150 mg of coenzyme Q10 daily. As for potential side effects, the study showed:

"In most instances coenzyme Q10 administration has been very well tolerated in doses up to 600mg per day, with an excellent side-effect profile. The most common side-effects pertain to the gastrointestinal system and include nausea, diarrhea, appetite suppression, heartburn and epigastric discomfort. In large studies the incidence of gastrointestinal side-effects is less than 1%."1

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