Preventing migraine with coenzyme Q10 – Literature Review & Commentary – Brief Article

Alan R. Gaby

Thirty-one patients (ages not specified) with a history of episodic migraine were treated, in open-label fashion, with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) at a dose of 150 mg/day for 3 months. The number of attacks per month and the number of headache days per month was assessed during the month prior to treatment (baseline) and during the last two months of treatment combined. A greater-than-50% reduction in the number of days with migraine headache was experienced by 61.3% of the patients during CoQ10 treatment. The mean number of days per month with migraine symptoms decreased by 59.8% (2.95 vs. 7.34; p < 0.0001) and the mean attack frequency decreased by 42% (2.81 vs. 4.85 per month; p < 0.001) during CoQ1O treatment. The mean reduction in migraine frequency was 13.1% after 1 month of treatment and 55.3% after 3 months. CoQ10 appeared to be similarly effective for patients with and without a history of aura. CoQ10 had no significant effect on headache intensity. No side effects were seen.

Comment: This study suggests that supplementation with CoQ10 can prevent migraines, although the possibility of a placebo effect cannot be ruled out. Patients with recurrent migraines have been reported to have impaired mitochondrial energy production. Nutrients that play a role in energy production (i.e., those involved in ATP synthesis) might, therefore, help prevent migraines. Four key nutrients involved in ATP synthesis are riboflavin (a component of flavin adenine dinucleotide [FAD]), niacinamide (a component of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide [NAD)), magnesium (a cofactor in the synthesis of ATP), and CoQ10 (a cofactor in the electron-transport chain). Previous controlled trials have shown that supplementation with riboflavin and magnesium each can reduce the recurrence rate of migraines. With the new evidence on CoQ10, all we need now is a study on niacinamide.

Rozen TD, et al. Open label trial of coenzyme Q10 no a migraine preventive. Cephalalgia 2002;22:137-141.

COPYRIGHT 2003 The Townsend Letter Group

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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