Migraines less frequent, severe with CoQ10 supplementation

This issue is the next in our "Best of Life Extension® Update” series, in which we look back at some of the most important stories to be published during the past few years.

August 27, 2019

An article appearing on January 3, 2018, in Nutritional Neuroscience describes a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that resulted in a reduction in migraine duration, frequency and severity, as well as lower levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (a marker of inflammation) among participants who received daily supplements of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

The trial included 45 women aged 18 to 50 years diagnosed with episodic migraines. In addition to migraine prophylactic medication, 23 participants received 400 milligrams of CoQ10 per day and 22 participants received a placebo for three months. Serum CoQ10, CGRP, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and other factors were measured at the beginning and end of the study.

Migraine severity, duration and frequency per month were lower at the end of the study among those who were given CoQ10 compared to the placebo. In addition to a rise in serum CoQ10 levels, women who received CoQ10 experienced a reduction in TNF-a and CGRP at the end of the treatment period. “There is a correlation between neurologic inflammation and CGRP release in migraine,” Monireh Dahri and colleagues explain.  “Likewise, CGRP transcription can be stimulated by endogenous inflammatory molecules, such as TNF-a, which increases the CGRP promoter activity and actuates MAPK pathway. In our study, reduction of TNF-a in CoQ10 treated group was accompanied with CGRP decrease, which can be explained by the above-mentioned mechanism.”

“As migraine patients have higher level of inflammation and have been reported to have CoQ10 deficiency, CoQ10 supplementation may be a beneficial complementary treatment in migraineurs,” they suggest.


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Apply What You’ve Learned: Migraines

  • People sometimes refer to any severe headache as a “migraine,” but headaches can be one of a number of different types, including cluster headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches and more. Nevertheless, migraines remain a significantly underdiagnosed leading cause of headaches.
  • Migraine headaches are often preceded by an aura, during which flashing lights or other sensory phenomena may occur. However, auras can occur without a subsequent headache, and vice versa. Other migraine features include pain on one side of the head, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Common migraine triggers include red wine, caffeine, MSG, cigarette smoke and stress.
  • While certain medications are prescribed to treat migraine headaches, nutritional and herbal preventive measures may help reduce migraine incidence and severity, which could help lower the requirement for prescription drug therapies.

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