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New research published in The BMJ suggests that frequent migraine sufferers may be able to reduce both the number and intensity of their headaches by upping their consumption of fatty fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, and lake trout.
The study was designed to determine whether increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish – either with or without a decrease in omega-6s, found in vegetable oils – could reduce migraines among frequent sufferers.
The 182 participants were randomly assigned to follow one of three dietary plans for a 16-week period: H3, which boosted intake of EPA and DHA (omega-3s) while maintaining average US intakes of linoleic acid (an omega-6); H3-L6, which boosted EPA and DHA and decreased linoleic acid intake; and a control diet. Those following the H3-L6 diet achieved 30% to 40% reductions in total headache hours per day, severe headache hours per day, and overall headache days per month in comparison to the control group. The H3 group also had improvements in these parameters, albeit smaller ones.
“This research found intriguing evidence that dietary changes have potential for improving a very debilitating chronic pain condition such as migraine without the related downsides of often prescribed medications,” noted Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD, scientific director of the National Institute on Aging.
SOURCES: Consuming a diet with more fish fats, less vegetable oils can reduce migraine headaches. National Institute on Aging. June 30, 2021. nia.nih.gov/news/consuming-diet-more-fish-fats-less-vegetable-oils-can-reduce-migraine-headaches.
Ramsden CE, Zamora D, Faurot KR, et al. Dietary alteration of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for headache reduction in adults with migraine: randomized controlled trial. BMJ, 2021; 374:n1448. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.n1448.
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Summer 2021 | Volume 45, Number 2
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