Could diet changes make a difference for those that struggle with migraines? We are what we eat. It has long been known that the cause of headaches is multifactorial, and just like many other conditions that ail us, our diet likely plays a vital role.
A recent randomized control trial published in the British Medical Journal investigated further the role of dietary fatty acids on migraine frequency. Here at the Couri Center, we find ourselves caring for many patients that suffer from headaches.
The human body does not make Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, so they must be acquired in our diet/supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in fish fat and oil has pain-reducing properties. Omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid found in some nut and plant oils may have pain-promoting properties when found in high amounts in the diet.
The study specifically looked at a higher omega-3 (1.5 grams per day) and lower omega-6 fatty acid (less than 1.9% of energy) diets and the frequency of migraines in chronic migraine sufferers. The study found that the number of headaches per month and the severity of headaches after 16 weeks decreased with a dietary increase of omega-3 fatty acids. It is important to note that omega-6 fatty acids are an essential part of a healthy diet but should be consumed in lower amounts than omega-3 fatty acids. Along with the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids on brain and heart health, this study demonstrated its benefit for those who suffer from frequent headaches.
Our favorite high-quality fish oil is Nordic Naturals ProOmega, available online or in our retail center. Want to learn more about supplementation or how the foods you eat may be affecting your quality of life? Schedule with the Couri Center now. We’re here to help.
Alexandra Mathern, MD