Diet rich in Omega-3 and low in Omega-6 fatty acids helps reduce migraine headaches: BMJ
Dietary alteration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids help achieve biological impact as well as reduces the frequency and severity of migraine headaches but fails to improve the quality of life in patients, suggests a study published in the BMJ.
In the instant study, researchers evaluated the effect of different levels of dietary omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids on migraine. While Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive, omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory.The study was conducted by a group of researchers from U.S.A to determine whether dietary interventions that increase Omega-3 fatty acids with and without reduction in Omega-6 linoleic acid can alter circulating lipid mediators implicated in headache pathogenesis, and decrease headache in adults with migraine.
The researchers a total of 182 participants with migraines on 5-20 days per month. Following which they performed a three-arm, parallel-group, randomized, modified double-blind, controlled trial in the academic medical center in the United States for over 16 weeks.
All participants received foods accounting for two-thirds of daily food energy and continued usual care. The authors designed three diets 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
- The Control diet (n=60)—maintain EPA+DHA at <150 mg/day and linoleic acid at around 7% of energy.
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 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 were not statistically significant.
- Compared with the control diet, the H3-L6 and H3 diets decreased total headache hours per day 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: a randomized controlled trial