Tell us about your experiences with weight management. Take our survey!

Coenzyme Q10 and Migraine

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: January 2024 | Last updated: February 2024

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural substance that our bodies produce. Some research has shown that CoQ10 supplements may help prevent and shorten migraine attacks.1

What is CoQ10?

The body naturally makes CoQ10, with the highest levels in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. CoQ10 is an antioxidant which means these molecules can help neutralize free radicals and improve how the cells function in the body and support the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy centers within cells that regulate your metabolism. Some research has shown a link between mitochondrial imbalance and migraine attacks. This may be how supplementing CoQ10 helps with migraine.1-4

Our body uses CoQ10 for growing and maintaining cells. But as we age, levels of CoQ10 in the body decrease. Some people with conditions like heart disease also have lower CoQ10 levels.1-3

CoQ10 is found in meats, fish, and nuts in small amounts. But eating foods with high CoQ10 will not increase the levels in your body. CoQ10 can be purchased without a prescription (over the counter) as a supplement. These supplements can be given as:1,2

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

  • Pills
  • Liquids (including through a drip into your veins)
  • Wafers
  • Shots (injections)

CoQ10 and migraine research

Some research shows that CoQ10 may help prevent and shorten migraine attacks. Several studies have shown that CoQ10 reduces how often migraine attacks happen and how long they last. But the research is divided on whether CoQ10 can make migraine attacks less severe.3,5

One analysis considered a total of 370 participants from different studies with CoQ10. On average, the participants had 1.5 fewer migraine attacks per month. These migraine attacks were also on average about 15 minutes shorter.5

This research is still preliminary. More research is needed to confirm that CoQ10 is an effective treatment for migraine disease.3,5

What are the possible side effects of CoQ10?

CoQ10 is generally considered safe. No serious side effects have been reported. Mild side effects include:1,2,4

  • Digestive issues like stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia

These are not all the possible side effects of taking CoQ10. Talk to your healthcare provider about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you while taking CoQ10.

Other things to know

Do not take CoQ10 if you take blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin. Taking both may increase your risk of a blood clot.1

Before taking CoQ10, tell your doctor if you:1,2

  • Have allergies, heart or liver disease, low blood pressure, or a bleeding disorder
  • Have diabetes or take drugs (including supplements) that impact your blood sugar
  • Are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding

Supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the same way other drugs are. This means that no outside agency confirms the ingredients or suggested dose.6,7

For example, a fish oil supplement may have more or less fish oil than listed on the label. A supplement may also contain ingredients that are not labeled correctly or at all. This can be dangerous. It can lead to taking too much or taking unwanted ingredients.6,7

The FDA created good manufacturing practices (GMPs) to help this situation. GMPs are guidelines for companies to follow when making supplements. The FDA rarely inspects facilities making supplements in the United States. Companies outside the United States do not have these inspections. But many more supplements are sold than are tested. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if a supplement is safe.6,7

Before beginning treatment for migraine, tell your healthcare provider about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.