CoQ10 For Migraines - Does It Work?
Does it help to take CoQ10 for migraines?
Clinical studies show that low coenzyme Q10 levels are commonly found in both adults and children who suffer from migraine pains.
Many experts believe that taking a CoQ10 supplement could reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
See Health Benefits of CoQ10 for a complete list of all the diseases that this vitamin-like substance can be used for.
In this article, we will look at two studies...
Benefits of CoQ10 for migraines - What the studies show
There are two clinical studies that come to mind. One showed that taking CoQ10 helped and the other showed no benefit. We'll talk about why there might be differences in the results from these two studies and what our bottom line is.
Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and response to supplementation in pediatric and adolescent migraine.
Hershey AD, et al.
Headache. 2007 Jan;47(1):73-80.
This is a large study involving 1,550 patients who suffer with migraine headaches. Their CoQ10 levels were measured and those who had a deficiency were placed on a Q10 supplement at a dose of 1 to 3 mg/kg per day.
The follow-up took place 3 months later and here are the results:
- CoQ10 levels went from 0.6 mcg/mL up to 1.20 mcg/mL (it doubled)
- Headache frequency went down from 19.2 to 12.5
- Headache disability went down from 47.4 to 30.6
This showed that there were some benefits in using CoQ10 for migraines headache, especially in those individuals with low CoQ10 levels. This was the conclusion of the authors as well.
CoQ10 for migraines - Dose used in the study
The researchers choose 1 to 3 mg/kg daily. This table gives you dosage guidelines based on the clinical studies.
|100 lbs (45 kg)
|150 lbs (68 kg)
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|250 lbs (114 kg)
A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover, add-on study of CoEnzyme Q10 in the prevention of pediatric and adolescent migraine.
Slater SK, et al.
Cephalalgia. 2011 May 17.
This is a well-designed study involving 120 children and adolescents suffering from migraine headaches. The volunteers were either given 100 mg of CoQ10 supplements daily for 224 days or placebo (sugar pill).
Note that the Q10 supplement was in addition to existing conventional treatment for migraines (and not just by itself).
The same individual either received the CoQ10 supplement first (or the placebo) for the first 4 weeks and then flipped to the other treatment for the second 4 weeks. (This is called a crossover study).
There were 50 individuals that the researchers were able to review at end of the 8 weeks.
The results were not spectacular. The patients taking CoQ10 supplements showed some improvements in the first four weeks only.
There were no benefits seen whether the individuals took coenzyme Q10 or not by the end of the study period (on the 224th day).
What can we conclude from these two conflicting results?
In the first study, it seems that CoQ10 deficiency is linked to migraine pains. Taking CoQ10 can easily correct for the deficiency (a known fact).
And, by boosting the blood CoQ10 levels up to normal, some migraine pain relief can be expected. This is quite a large study involving 1,550 subjects so the results are compelling.
In the second study, unfortunately, CoQ10 levels were not measured at all. It showed that taking a Q10 supplement had no benefits. We cannot tell if these individuals had normal CoQ10 levels or not. If they did, then we should not be surprised that it showed no benefit.
Our take is that if you don't suffer from low CoQ10 levels, taking a supplement probably doesn't help as much as when you are deficient.
Unfortunately, getting your blood CoQ10 levels measured requires a specialized diagnostic lab at a cost to you ranging from $150 to $250. And this does not include the service fee for collecting about 5 mL of your blood sample and shipping it overnight to the labs!
It could be cheaper just to take a CoQ10 supplement to find out.
Tips - Keep a journal on the frequency and severity of the migraine attacks. This is the only way to track the effectiveness of any migraine treatment. And this applies whether you are using home remedies, natural remedies or prescription drugs.
It's easier to know if a treatment option works when you have frequent and/or severe migraine pains. Individuals who only get migraine attacks infrequently may find it difficult to determine if CoQ10 helps or not.
What are some other natural remedies work for migraine pain relief?
Other than CoQ10, there are many other remedies such as magnesium, feverfew and butterbur that work for migraine prevention and pain relief.
As well, discriminating individuals often choose combination all natural remedies such as Migone Plus.
See Natural Remedies for Migraine Headaches for a complete list of remedies that are currently used. They can compliment using CoQ10 for migraines.
Individuals with low CoQ10 seem to benefit from taking a CoQ10 supplement. Those individuals with normal levels do not seem to receive any benefit. You'll need to take it for at least 3 months to notice beneficial results.
It may be worth trying only if you keep a migraine journal and that the migraine attacks occur frequently, is of long duration or severe. Otherwise, it can be difficult to tell if CoQ10 is effective or not.
Consider getting your blood CoQ10 levels measured (a test that requires a specialized lab with a price tag of $150 to $250).
Other natural supplements like Migone Plus may be worth trying along with a CoQ10 supplement.
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