Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids reduces migraine frequency: BMJ
Increased dietary consumption of omega-3 and less of the omega-6 fatty acid associated with reduced migraine frequency and severity, suggests a study published in the BMJ.
A group of researchers from U.S.A conducted a study to determine whether dietary interventions that increase n-3 fatty acids with and without reduction in n-6 linoleic acid can alter circulating lipid mediators implicated in headache pathogenesis, and decrease headache in adults with migraines.
The researchers included a total of 182 participants (88% women, mean age 38 years) with migraines on 5-20 days per month. Three diets were designed with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and linoleic acid altered as controlled variables: H3 diet (n=61)—increase EPA+DHA to 1.5 g/day and maintain linoleic acid at around 7% of energy; H3-L6 diet (n=61)—increase n-3 EPA+DHA to 1.5 g/day and decrease linoleic acid to ≤1.8% of energy; control diet (n=60)—maintain EPA+DHA at <150 mg/day and linoleic acid at around 7% of energy. All participants received foods accounting for two thirds of daily food energy and continued usual care.
The primary endpoints (week 16) were the antinociceptive mediator 17-hydroxydocosahexaenoic acid (17-HDHA) in blood and the headache impact test (HIT-6), a six-item questionnaire assessing headache impact on quality of life.
The results of the study are as follows:
- In intention-to-treat analyses (n=182), the H3-L6 and H3 diets increased circulating 17-HDHA (log ng/mL) compared with the control diet.
- The observed improvement in HIT-6 scores in the H3-L6 and H3 groups was not statistically significant.
- Compared with the control diet, the H3-L6 and H3 diets decreased total headache hours per, moderate to severe headache hours per day, and headache days per month
- The H3-L6 diet decreased headache days per month more than the H3 diet, suggesting an additional benefit from lowering dietary linoleic acid.
- The H3-L6 and H3 diets altered n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and several of their nociceptive oxylipin derivatives in plasma, serum, erythrocytes or immune cells, but did not alter classic headache mediator's calcitonin gene-related peptide and prostaglandin E2.
Thus, the researchers concluded that the H3-L6 and H3 interventions altered bioactive mediators implicated in headache pathogenesis and decreased frequency and severity of headaches, but did not significantly improve quality of life.
Dietary alteration of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for headache reduction in adults with migraine: randomized controlled trial by Ramsden C et. al published in the BMJ