More Fish, Fewer Migraines

Diets higher in fish fats tied to reduced migraines

(RxWiki News) Those who have frequent migraines will do just about anything to get some relief. Have you tried eating more fish?

According to a new study, eating more fish fats and fewer vegetable oils may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.

The researchers behind this study suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in fish may be a hidden key to reducing migraines.

“This research found intriguing evidence that dietary changes have potential for improving a very debilitating chronic pain condition like migraine without the related downsides of often prescribed medications,” said Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, scientific director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), in a press release.

Over 16 weeks, the study authors followed 182 adults who had frequent migraines. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of three healthy diet plans or a control group: a diet with higher fish fats and lower vegetable fats, a diet with higher vegetable fats and lower fish fats and a diet with both high fish fats and higher vegetable fats. The researchers noted that the diet with higher vegetable fats and lower fish fats was most similar to the typical diet in the United States.

Study participants received meal kits that included foods that were in line with their assigned diets.

On average, the participants were having 16 migraine days per month and five hours of migraine pain per day at the start of the study. By the end of the study, those who ate more fish fats and fewer vegetable fats saw 30 to 40 percent reductions in headache days per month and headache hours per day compared to the control group.

The other study groups did not show similar reductions in migraines, this study found.

The takeaway? What you eat could affect your migraines.

“Changes in diet could offer some relief for the millions of Americans who suffer from migraine pain,” said Chris Ramsden, study author and clinical investigator with the NIA, in a press release. “It’s further evidence that the foods we eat can influence pain pathways."

Talk to your health care provider before making any changes to your diet or medications.

Grants from the National Institutes of Health funded this research.

The authors of this study disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
July 30, 2021
Last Updated:
November 5, 2021