Eat More Fish, Study Suggests, for Fewer Migraines and Headache Prevention

·1-min read

If you're fed-up with your head feeling like it's being put through a vice or regularly take trips to the chemist for migraine treatment, then you may want to add some oily fish onto your shopping list.

Such were the findings of a new study from the National Institutes of Health, which explored the role and relevance of a healthy diet in preventing headaches and migraines. The 182-person study was divided into three test groups — people eating a normal diet, a diet with elevated omega-3 and higher omega-3 with lower levels of omega-6. Each group was made up of migraine-prone participants, with some reporting upwards of 20 migraine days every month.

Omega-3 is a fatty acid naturally that the body cannot produce. It's usually found in oily fish, including salmon and sardines. Benefits of omega-3 can include lower blood pressure, reduce likelihood of heart attacks, strokes and cardiac arrest.

The National Institutes of Health researchers found that, from the aforementioned groups, the group on the high omega-3 diet logged fewer headaches every month and, crucially, migraines were shorter and less intense.

"This study provides a biologically plausible demonstration that pain can be treated through targeted dietary alterations in humans," the researchers said. "Collective findings suggest causal mechanisms linking n-3 and n-6 fatty acids to [pain regulation], and open the door to new approaches for managing chronic pain in humans."

The researchers correlate this decrease in headache and migraine frequency to the chemical compound 17-hydroxydocosahexaenoic acid (17-HDHA), which can increase with a diet rich in omega-3. Nothing fishy about that, you'll agree.

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