Coenzyme Q10 is an interesting supplement to try for migraine prevention. There is some research to show it helps. We get Coenzyme Q10 from food but there is some indication with migraine disease we can have a deficiency.

Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10) is a molecule produced in the body. It aids mitochondria during energy production and is a part of the endogenous antioxidant system.

The standard recommended dosage is 90-200 mg. However, some studies used 150 and others 100 three times a day. I always err on the side of caution and the CoQ10 supplement I picked up is 100 mg/ day.

I had considered this one in the past but it can lower your blood pressure and at the time I had very low blood pressure. Now that my blood pressure is actually in the range of normal I am trying this supplement.

**As usual with any new supplement inform your doctor you are taking it. Because supplements can interfere with medications and are not recommended in some cases.

Title: Migraine treatment and Coenzyme Q10 supplementation 
Image: two hands out and between them are supplements and group of citrus fruit and leaves

Potential side effects

This supplement is usually well tolerated but it does have potential side effects, like all things. And I read that it is better utilized if you take it with a meal.

  • Stomach pain and/or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Headache/dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Skin irritation
  • Irritability


Foods Coenzyme Q10 is found in (Source: healthline)

  • Organ meats
  • Muscle meats (beef, chicken)
  • Fatty fishes (trout, sardine)
  • Vegetables (Such as spinach, cauliflower and broccoli)
  • Fruits (Oranges, strawberries)
  • Legumes (Soybeans, lentils, peanuts)
  • Nuts and seeds (Sesame seeds, pistachios)
  • Oils (Soybean, canola oil)

Some studies for migraine treatment

Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: A randomized controlled trial

CoQ10 (3 × 100 mg/day) compared to a placebo in 42 migraine patients in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. CoQ10 reduced attack frequency, overall headache days and days-with-nausea over placebo in the third treatment month and was well tolerated. 50%-responder-rate for attack frequency was 14.4% for placebo and 47.6% for CoQ10. 

This was a pretty small study but it was double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled- so the structure of the study was well done. It showed CoQ10 was better than the placebo for migraine frequency reduction.

Mitochondrial dysfunction in migraine

This study follows research into the hypothesized connection between migraine and mitochondrial (mt) disorders. I have read references to this before about abnormal mitochondrial function. This can result in low energy in the brain cells and even migraines.

This is from the research I remember referenced recently: “These protective mechanisms, which seek to balance energy production and demand in the brain, suggest that the migraine attack is itself a corrective process initiated to protect the brain from oxidative stress and energy imbalance.” 

Anyway, the research for CoQ10 in regards to this…

“Therapeutic evidence: Several agents that have a positive effect on mt metabolism have shown to be effective in the treatment of migraines. The agents include riboflavin (B2), coenzyme Q10, magnesium, niacin, carnitine, topiramate, and lipoic acid. Further study is warranted to learn how mt interact with other factors to cause migraines. This will facilitate the development of new and more specific treatments that will reduce the frequency or severity or both of this disease.”

Effectiveness of coenzyme Q10 in prophylactic treatment of migraine headache: an open-label, add-on, controlled trial

This study shows that it can help prevent and treat migraine attacks “Thirty-six and 37 patients were analyzed in CoQ10 and control groups, respectively. Number of attacks per month dropped significantly in the CoQ10 group (mean decrease: 1.6 vs. 0.5 among CoQ10 and control groups, respectively, p < 0.001). A significant reduction was also evident in the severity of headaches (mean decrease: 2.3 vs. 0.6 among CoQ10 and control groups, respectively, p < 0.001). For ≥50 % reduction in the frequency of attacks per month, the number needed to treat was calculated as 1.6…. This study suggests that CoQ10 might reduce the frequency of headaches, and may also make them shorter in duration, and less severe, with a favorable safety profile.”

So there was a reduction of attacks per month and in the severity of the attacks such that they were shorter in duration and less severe in intensity. And that is pretty much what you want from any migraine prevention drug- reduction in frequency and/or intensity of the attacks.

For me:

There were three other studies I didn’t add simply because they were done on younger age groups. Nevertheless, the research is interesting. There isn’t an abundance of it but there never is with supplements. I think it is worth giving a go of so I added it to my migraine treatment plan, along with my current preventative (Topamax 200mg).

There doesn’t seem to be any real reason not to give it a go. Most of the studies did find a notable reduction in migraine frequency/intensity in people with frequent migraine attacks- and of the research there is those results are consistent.

I have noted some nausea. So for me, definitely the sort of thing to take with dinner. I can be sensitive to supplements though.

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2 thoughts on “Migraine treatment and Coenzyme Q10 supplementation

  1. Thanks for sharing this….it’s something I will definitely be trying this year especially after being bedridden all over new year thanks to a horrendous migraine!
    Happy New Year 🙂

    Sarah x

    Liked by 1 person

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