Written by Jessica Patella, ND. In research with 20 fibromyalgia patients given 300 mg of CoQ10 per day, fibromyalgia symptoms were decreased by 49% and headaches reduced by 39%.
Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome associated with fatigue, joint stiffness, depression, trigger point pain and headaches (1). Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 5 million people in the United States and unfortunately we don’t know what causes it (2). Although there may be hope for those that suffer from fibromyalgia and headaches. Recent research found that supplementing Coenzyme Q10 improved headaches and symptoms of fibromyalgia (1).
The research included 20 participants with fibromyalgia (46.6 +/-5 years) and 15 healthy controls (44.9 +/- 4 years). On average, the participants with fibromyalgia had the syndrome for 10.1 +/- 4.2 years and had an average of 3 +/-1 headaches per week, lasting 10 +/- 2 hours (1).
To determine the levels of antioxidants and oxidative stress in the body, blood (blood mononuclear cells) was drawn from both the fibromyalgia groups and the healthy controls. When compared to healthy controls, Coenzyme Q10 levels were 64.3% lower in the fibromyalgia group. The level of oxidative stress in the body, measured by lipid peroxidation levels, was 610% higher in the fibromyalgia group compared to the healthy controls. ATP levels were also measured and found to be 70% lower in the fibromyalgia group (ATP levels indicate the energy reserves in the cell). These results indicate that participants with fibromyalgia had significantly higher levels of oxidative stress and lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 (1).
Once the correlation between fibromyalgia and oxidative stress was found, the researchers gave 10 of the fibromyalgia participants 300mg per day of Coenzyme Q10 for 3 months (1). After 3 months Coenzyme Q10 levels increased significantly (135.6 +/- 6.3 pretreatment to 221.6 +/- 11.3 post-treatment; P<0.001). Lipid peroxidation levels decreased significantly (30.3 +/- 5.9 pretreatment to 5.1 +/- 1.6 post-treatment; P<0.001). ATP levels increased significantly (61.3 +/- 4.9 pretreatment to 191.1 +/- 6.7 post-treatment; P<0.001).
After supplementing with Coenzyme Q10, there was also an improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms as measured by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (59.2 +/- 4.2 pretreatment to 30.1 +/- 2 post-treatment, total score 100; P<0.001) and headaches as measured by the Headache Impact Test (60.8 +/- 1.4 pretreatment to 36.9 +/- 1.7 post-treatment, score range of 36-78; with 36 indicating least amount of impact, 78 indicating debilitating headache; p<0.001).
In conclusion, headaches and symptoms in fibromyalgia patients could be due to oxidative stress (1). Also, supplementing with Coenzyme Q10 showed improvement in headache and fibromyalgia symptoms (1). A larger double-blind placebo controlled trial should be performed to confirm the results of this study.
Source: Plos One in the 7th volume of 2012,“Oxidative Stress Correlates with Headache Symptoms in Fibromyalgia: Coenzyme Q10 Effect on Clinical Improvement.” Posted October 30, 2012. r/ar
Jessica Patella, ND, is a naturopathic physician specializing in nutrition and homeopathic medicine and offers a holistic approach to health. Visit her website at: www.awarenesswellness.com
- Cordero M, et al. Oxidative Stress Correlates with Headache Symptoms in Fibromyalgia: Coenzyme Q10 Effect on Clinical Improvement. 2012. 7(4): e35677.
- Lawrence RC, et al. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States. Part II. Arthritis Rheum 58: 26-35.