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Eating More Fatty Fish May Reduce Number of Migraines

A migraine is usually an intense pounding headache that can last for hours or even days. A recent study suggests that increasing consumption of fatty fish or oils from fatty fish may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Participants in the study included 182 adults who experienced migraines between 5 and 20 days per month. They were assigned to one of three diets:

  1. High levels of fatty fish or oils from fatty fish and low levels of vegetable oils;
  2. High levels of fatty fish or oils from fatty fish and high levels of vegetable oils;
  3. Low levels of fatty fish or oils from fatty fish and high levels of vegetable oils.

Participants assessed headache frequency, duration, and intensity daily using an electronic diary. They also reported the effect of migraines on their ability to function at work, school, and in their social lives.

Participants who consumed the diet high in fatty fish and low in vegetable oils saw a 30 to 40% decrease in the number of days they experienced a migraine, the duration of migraines, and intensity of migraines compared to participants who consumed the diet with low levels of fatty fish and high levels of vegetable oils.

Participants who consumed the diet with high levels of fatty fish and high levels of vegetable oils also saw a decrease in number of migraines, duration, and intensity compared to the participants who consumed the diet with low levels of fatty fish. However, they did not see as much of a reduction as participants who consumed the diet with high levels of fatty fish and low levels of vegetable oils.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the National Institute on Aging. It was published online ahead of print on May 27, 2021, in The BMJ.

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