Q: My neurologist recommended magnesium glycinate, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and CoQ10 as a preventative for migraines. Long story short, I have not had a migraine since shortly after I started this regimen.

A: In a review of nutritional supplementation to prevent migraine, the authors list riboflavin, magnesium and coenzyme Q10 along with thiamine, niacin, carnitine, folate, pyridoxine, cobalamin and lipoic acid (Nutrients, Dec. 10, 2021). A meta-analysis of six studies found that CoQ10 supplements reduced the frequency of migraine headaches compared to placebo (BMJ Open, Jan. 5, 2021).

Every cell in our bodies uses CoQ10 (in its active form, ubiquinol) in mitochondrial energy production.

As a dietary supplement, CoQ10 is available without a prescription. ConsumerLab.com recently tested several products. Noting that CoQ10 is generally better absorbed with a meal that contains some fat, the organization found that high-dose Kirkland Signature (Costco house brand) also had the lowest cost per 100 milligrams. Puritan’s Pride Q-Sorb and Spring Valley also came off well. ConsumersLab.com subscribers can access the entire report.

Coenzyme Q10 does not seem to cause frequent side effects. Some people experience digestive upset, and occasionally people react with a rash or insomnia. This supplement may not be appropriate for people on warfarin (Methods in Molecular Biology, 2010).

Anyone who would like to learn more about various approaches to controlling head pain may be interested in our eGuide to Headaches and Migraines. This online resource may be found under the Health eGuides tab at PeoplesPharmacy.com.


Q: I have had a water retention problem since surgery in 2019. Diuretics have not helped. I have read that horse chestnut is good for getting rid of edema. Is that true?

A: Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is a traditional remedy for varicose veins and edema. Most studies of horse chestnut extract or its active ingredients escin and esculin were done in animals or tissue cultures.

There are few clinical trials. However, a decade ago, a Cochrane Review of the existing trials concluded: “The evidence presented suggests that HCSE [horse chestnut seed extract] is an efficacious and safe short-term treatment for CVI [chronic venous insufficiency]” (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Nov 14, 2012). This natural product may not work any better than diuretics for your edema, but the risks of trying it are low.

Q: I have a bad case of psoriasis all over my legs, plus a little on my scalp and buttocks. When I read about cilantro for psoriasis on your website, I started eating lots of it.

At this point, I’ve seen great improvement. I would say that I’m 70% healed. If it keeps on working, I am willing to eat cilantro until my skin is really clear. I was feeling very depressed because the medicines weren’t working.

A: Several years ago, we heard from a reader about this remedy for psoriasis. Here’s his method: “I have been using this as needed for more than 10 years. When I first notice small red patches, usually on my legs, I get two bunches of cilantro leaves and eat them over the next three days or so. The red spots go away.”

Unfortunately, we could find no clinical trials of cilantro against psoriasis back then. We still can’t, although it does seem to reduce inflammation (Inflammopharmacology, August 2022).

There are people who can’t stand the taste of cilantro, but for those who tolerate or even like it, this remedy might be worth trying.