If you’ve ever had a migraine attack, you know it’s more than an awful headache. A migraine attack can derail your daily routine, causing intense pulsing pain, nausea, and even light and sound sensitivity.
There are several phases to a migraine attack, and it may last from hours to days. Migraine attacks can happen with or without an aura.
While there are several medications available to both prevent migraine episodes and treat them, these medications have side effects.
If you’re wondering about natural alternatives to help with your symptoms, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) might be a good option to ask your doctor about.
Let’s look at how CoQ10 may help prevent some migraine symptoms, potential side effects, and more.
Yes, there is some evidence that CoQ10 may help with migraine.
However, research on the effectiveness of CoQ10 for migraine, and the best dosage for you, is limited by the fact that many studies have included smaller numbers of participants.
Here are the main ways CoQ10 may help prevent migraine attacks.
Helping protect mitochondria
Although the exact cause of migraine isn’t known, there’s some
Mitochondria produce up to 90 percent of the energy your cells use. They also help protect your cells from oxidative damage.
Nerve and muscle tissue contain high levels of mitochondria. Defective mitochondria can increase cell damage from excessive free radicals.
Reducing the length of a migraine attack
Different dosages were used in the studies, from a low of 30 mg per day to a high of 800 mg per day.
The effectiveness of CoQ10 supplements may also depend on the type of CoQ10 you take. CoQ10 is not well absorbed by your gastrointestinal tract.
There are two forms of CoQ10 in supplements: ubiquinol and ubiquinone.
CoQ10 is an essential compound made by your body and stored in the mitochondria of your cells.
CoQ10 helps convert nutrients, such as fatty acids and carbohydrates, into energy-producing adenosine triphosphate, which helps fuel energy transfer within cells.
Scientists have found people who experience
While most people get enough CoQ10 through their diet by eating things like meats, fish, poultry, and nuts, levels lessen with age.
There isn’t an established dose of CoQ10 for use with migraine or any other condition.
It’s not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in migraine prevention or treatment, and it’s sold only as a dietary supplement.
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Doses can depend on:
- type of CoQ10 taken (ubiquinol or ubiquinone)
- other medications you may be taking
- severity of your migraine attacks
- any other conditions you have
Ask your doctor for information on the best dose for you.
Keep in mind: Dietary supplements, like CoQ10, take time to work. You may need to take the supplement for 3 months before seeing any improvement in your migraine symptoms.
Taking too much CoQ10 increases your risk of side effects, like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
CoQ10 is a fat-soluble vitamin. It takes time for cells to absorb the nutrient. It’s absorbed through the small intestine.
Ask your doctor about the best dose for migraine and take the lowest dose that provides benefits.
CoQ10 is generally thought to be safe with few side effects, but some people may experience mild side effects.
- stomach upset
Rare side effects include:
- light sensitivity
There’s limited research on CoQ10 supplement interactions with medications.
Always talk with your doctor about the safety of over-the-counter products before taking them to avoid interactions and adverse reactions.
A few possible medications that could interact with CoQ10 are:
- blood thinners
- cancer medications
- blood pressure medications
If you have certain
These conditions include:
- liver or kidney problems
- diabetes or low blood sugar problems
There are a few supplements that have limited evidence of benefitting migraine prevention or treating migraine episodes.
Before trying any over-the-counter supplements, be sure to discuss their risks and benefits with your doctor.
Riboflavin (B2) provides energy for your cells by converting nutrients, like carbohydrates, into energy. A 2015 review study found riboflavin supplements can reduce the duration and frequency of migraine for some people.
Reducing triggers, such as certain scents, food, and stress, can help with migraine prevention.
A few natural and herbal remedies have also shown benefits for migraine.
There are also many medications available to treat and prevent migraine symptoms. Your doctor can tell you more about the best choice(s) for you.
There are several stages for a classic migraine, including prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome recovery. These stages may last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
You might experience a range of symptoms, including:
- fatigue or low energy
- frequent yawning
- trouble speaking
- tingling in the arms or legs
- stiff neck
- light flashes
- trouble with vision
- nausea or vomiting
Research indicates CoQ10 may have some benefits in migraine prevention. But most studies on CoQ10’s effectiveness for migraine had a small sample of participants.
More studies are needed with larger, diverse groups of people who experience different types of migraine. This will help professionals better understand who would benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.
There’s some evidence CoQ10 may reduce frequency and duration of migraine. In most cases, CoQ10 has mild side effects.
CoQ10 is not well absorbed, and the optimal dose is unclear. So be sure to talk with your doctor before using the supplement.
They can tell you more about the type and dose to start with, and they can monitor you to see if CoQ10 is helping your migraine symptoms.