CoQ10 for Headaches, Parkinson’s
Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells. Your body produces CoQ10 naturally, but its production tends to decrease with age. Fortunately, you can get CoQ10 through supplements or foods. Numerous health conditions such as “neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, muscular and cardiovascular diseases” have been associated with low CoQ10 levels . However, it is still not fully understood whether low CoQ10 levels cause these ailments or if low CoQ10 levels are a result of these ailments. Yet, the research is clear: CoQ10 offers a wide range of health benefits. This article will begin with an explanation of what CoQ10 is and will follow with a review of studies which focus on investigating the association between CoQ10 and headaches and Parkinson’s disease.
What is CoQ10?
As mentioned above, your body makes CoQ10 and stores it in your cells. More specifically, CoQ10 is stored in the mitochondria in your cells, and since mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, they produce the energy needed for the cell to function . This is because CoQ10 is involved in making adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is involved in energy transfer within cells .
Also, mitochondria are charged with protecting your cells from oxidative damage and disease-causing bacteria or viruses . As a result, CoQ10 also serves the role of an antioxidant and protects the cells from oxidative damage  . Excessive amounts of free radicals lead to oxidative damage, which can interfere with regular cell functioning, and this is known to cause many health problems .
Since your body’s production of CoQ10 decreases with age, older people seem to have a deficiency in this compound.
Along with age, there are some other causes for CoQ10 deficiency such as the following  :
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6 deficiency
- Genetic defects in CoQ10 synthesis or utilization
- Increased demands by tissues as a consequence of disease
- Mitochondrial diseases
- Oxidative stress due to aging
- Side effects of statin drugs
Since ATP is used to carry out all of the body’s functions and oxidative damage is destructive to cells, it makes sense that some chronic diseases have been linked to low levels of CoQ10 .
Because CoQ10 is present in every cell of your body and since CoQ10 plays a significant role in cellular energy production, the highest concentrations of CoQ10 appear in the organs with the most significant energy demands, such as the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver .
Now, I hope you have a general understanding of the purpose of CoQ10 and its roles. Now we will review some research articles regarding the association between CoQ10 and headaches and Parkinson’s disease.
CoQ10 and Headaches
To begin, let me first explain how CoQ10 is associated with headaches. Abnormal mitochondrial function can lead to increased calcium uptake by the cells, the excessive production of free radicals, and decreased antioxidant protection. This can result in low energy in the brain cells and can result in migraines .
Also, since CoQ10 lives mainly in the mitochondria of the cells, it has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and help decrease the inflammation that may occur during migraines .
A study showed that supplementing with CoQ10 was three times more likely than a placebo to reduce the number of migraines in 42 people .
Further, CoQ10 deficiency has been observed in people suffering from migraines.
In a more extensive study with 1,550 people, the researchers found that the subjects involved who have low CoQ10 levels experienced fewer and less severe headaches after treatment with CoQ10 .
Also, another study found CoQ10 may even have a role in preventing migraines , and a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that “coenzyme Q10 supplementation may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks per month” .
In summary, with the above studies and research, it seems supplementing with CoQ10 may help prevent and treat migraines because of its role in increasing mitochondrial function and reducing inflammation.
CoQ10 and Parkinson’s
For this section, it is vital to understand that there are two forms of CoQ10: ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Ubiquinone is the oxidized state of the coenzyme, while ubiquinol is the fully reduced form. Your body must convert all CoQ10 to ubiquinol before it can use it, and the conversion process is very inefficient, so if you take the 100mg of the ubiquinone form, the useable amount will be significantly less than if you were to take 100mg of ubiquinol.
The study we will primarily examine in this section is entitled “Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial of reduced coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson's disease” .
The study was long-term, so it lasted two years. The researchers studied 58 people with Parkinson’s disease and divided them into two groups.
The first group included 26 patients who were in the Parkinson’s disease phase that is called the “wearing off” phase. This occurs when the levodopa drugs (Parkinson’s medication) begin to lose their effectiveness, and the disease’s symptoms begin to increase. This phase happens typically about two years after the patient starts the medication.
The second group included the remainder of the subjects, and they were all in the early phase of Parkinson’s and had not begun taking levodopa medication.
Both of the groups were measured before and after the study to determine the extent of the disease using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) index which tested the behavior and mood of the patients.
The individuals in the levodopa group responded very well to CoQ10 and exhibited significant statistical improvements in their motor scores. For the patients in the early stages of Parkinson’s, it was shown that CoQ10 reduces progression to a “statistically significant” extent .
It is also important to note that the form of CoQ10 used in the study was ubiquinol, not ubiquinone. In 2014, a similar study was performed using ubiquinone, and ubiquinone was not so effective for Parkinson’s .
Another study also found that CoQ10 plus creatine was able to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms significantly .
My goal in this article was to educate you on what CoQ10 is and its clinical association between headaches and Parkinson’s disease. If you are interested in taking a CoQ10 supplement, Healthmasters’ CoQ10 Ubiquinol is an exceptional, high-quality CoQ10 supplement which is developed through a patented process to ensure the CoQ10 is stable. Also, Healthmasters sells a buffered creatine product which may also be taken in conjunction with their CoQ10 product. I plan on writing another article examining more of the health benefits of CoQ10, so stay tuned.
If you have any questions about any of these products, please feel free to call our office at 800.726.1834