Dr’s Casebook: Including fatty fish in your diet could help reduce migraines
It usually begins in early adulthood and can be a real problem that has repercussions on family, social and professional life.
The exact cause of migraines is unknown, although it is believed that they are the result of temporary changes in chemicals, nerves, and blood vessels in the brain.
About half of all migraine sufferers also have a close relative with the condition, suggesting that genes may play a role.
Most people with migraine know that certain foods will trigger an attack, so their diet should generally eliminate these provocative foods and drinks.
New research has shown that a fish diet can help reduce the monthly number of headaches and the intensity of pain experienced.
In this study of more than 180 people with frequent migraines, researchers assigned people to one of three healthy diets.
Participants all received meal kits that included fish, vegetables, hummus, salads and breakfast items.
One group received meals containing high levels of oily fish or oily fish oils and reduced content of linoleic acid, as found in vegetable oils and some nuts and seeds.
A second group received meals containing high levels of fatty fish and linoleic acid from additional vegetable oils and nuts.
The third group received meals that were high in linoleic acid and low in fatty fish, which resembled the average diet. Participants monitored the frequency and intensity of headaches, as well as how the headaches affected their ability to function at work, school or in their social life.
They also recorded how and when to take medication to relieve migraines.
The diet of fish lower in vegetable oil and higher in fatty fish produces between 30 and 40 percent reduction in migraine headaches.
The diet with the higher linoleic acid had slightly more headaches.
The researchers concluded that increasing omega-3 fats from eating oily fish and reducing sources of linoleic acid from vegetable oils appeared to significantly reduce their migraines.
They also found that increasing the number of fatty fish in the diet produced a reduction in headaches, which was not observed when people
simply took fish oil supplements.