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A diet based on omega-3 fatty acids can help relieve migraines – says new study

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A new study revealed that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids could reduce migraines by half, especially in young women.

Researchers discovered that a diet rich in omega-3 can eliminate persistent headaches of two to four a month.

The omega 3 fatty acids, which can be found in supplements and oily fish, have also been found to have a beneficial effect on the heart.

According to experts, a healthy, balanced diet should have at least two portions of fish weekly, including one of oily fish.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), involved 182 people – 88% were women with an average age of 38 who suffered from migraines five to 20 times a month.

The women were divided into three groups, with the amount of omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid – EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid – DHA) varying according to the diet, while the omega-6 linoleic acid was also monitored.

During the trial participants were provided with oil and butter formulations and protein foods, including fish, to achieve the varying levels.

They also completed a migraine impact test and recorded the frequency of headaches daily with an electronic diary.

Those on a high omega-3 diet of 1.5g a day saw a reduction of two headache days per month.

Meanwhile, the women in the high omega-3 plus low omega-6 diet saw four fewer headache days a month.

Experts from the University of North Carolina said there were limitations to the study, including that it was confined to relatively young women.

However, they said the study “provides a biologically plausible demonstration that pain can be treated through targeted dietary alterations in humans”.

In a linked editorial, Rebecca Burch, at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US, said the results support recommending a high omega-3 diet to patients in clinical practice.

Image Credit: iStock

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