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Oxidative stress linked to headache in fibromyalgia; CoQ10 supports important improvement

  [ 17 votes ]   [ 1 Comment ] • April 22, 2012

Oxidative Stress Correlates with Headache Symptoms in Fibromyalgia: Coenzyme Q10 Effect on Clinical Improvement
– Source: PLoS One, Apr 19, 2012

By Mario D Cordero, et al.

[Note: The full text of this very important article is available free HERE. Oxidative stress is damage done to the fatty acids comprising cell membranes (like rust in a tin can) by unpaired electrons called free radicals, produced in excess of what the cells’ natural antioxidative processes can neutralize. Coenzyme Q10 and catalase are naturally occurring antioxidants. The study first compared measures of mitochondrial ATP production, oxidative stress, antioxidants and symptoms in FM patients vs healthy controls, then took measures of FM patients after supplementation with 300mg of CoQ10 [ubiquinone form] daily for 3 months. They conclude by stating: “Headache symptoms in FM could be a consequence of oxidative stress and both may share common pathophysiologic basis. Furthermore, CoQ10 treatment showed a remarkable improvement in clinical symptoms and headache in FM.”]

Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome with unknown etiology and a wide spectrum of symptoms such as allodynia, debilitating fatigue, joint stiffness and migraine.

Recent studies have shown some evidences demonstrating that oxidative stress is associated to clinical symptoms in FM of fibromyalgia.

• We examined oxidative stress and bioenergetic status in blood mononuclear cells (BMCs) and its association to headache symptoms in FM patients.

• The effects of oral coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation on biochemical markers and clinical improvement were also evaluated.

Methods: We studied 20 FM patients and 15 healthy controls. Clinical parameters were evaluated using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), visual analogues scales (VAS), and the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6).

Oxidative stress was determined by measuring CoQ10, catalase and lipid peroxidation (LPO) levels in BMCs. Bioenergetic status was assessed by measuring ATP levels in BMCs. [Lipid peroxidation is the degradation of fatty acids in cell membranes caused by oxidative stress. ATP is the fuel that the mitochondria burn to produce cellular energy.]


• We found decreased CoQ10, catalase and ATP levels in BMCs from FM patients as compared to normal controls (P<0.05 and P<0.001, respectively)

• We also found increased level of LPO in BMCs from FM patients as compared to normal control (P<0.001).

• Significant negative correlations between CoQ10 or catalase levels in BMCs and headache parameters were observed (r = -0.59, P<0.05; r = -0.68, P<0.05, respectively). [Less CoQ10 or catalase, more severe headache, and vice-versa.] Furthermore, LPO levels showed a significant positive correlation with HIT-6 (r = 0.33, P<0.05). [HIT-6 is a Headache Impact Test.]

Oral CoQ10 supplementation restored biochemical parameters and induced a significant improvement in clinical and headache symptoms (P<0.001). [Bolding added. Ten of the FM patients were supplemented with 300 mg/day of CoQ10 [ubiquinone] divided in three doses, for three months.]


• The results of this study suggest a role for mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in the headache symptoms associated with FM.

• CoQ10 supplementation should be examined in a larger placebo controlled trial as a possible treatment in FM.

Source: PloS ONE, Apr 19, 2012;7(4). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0035677, by Cordero MD, Cano-García FJ, Alcocer-Gómez E, De Miguel M, Sánchez-Alcázar JA.  Centro Andaluz de Biologia del Desarrollo (CABD), Universidad Pablo de Olavide-CSIC-Junta de Andaluc?a and Centro de Investigacion Biomedica en Red de Enfermedades Raras, Sevilla, Spain.

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Article Comments Post a Comment

Heart Condition
Posted by: imvalerie
May 15, 2012
Aside from Fibromyalgia, my doctor also mentioned that CoQ10 can also help boost your heart health. This is the reason why my dad is now taking this as his doctor recommends. He's been taking it for 5 months now and so far, he is in good condition. But of course, I make sure he never forget to eat proper diet and have his daily exercise.
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