And if one of the solutions to mitigate the frequency of migraines in people who are prone to it was on the plate? According to a scientific study published in the Bristish Medical Journal, a diet richer in fatty fish (sardines, herring, mackerel …) helped frequent migraine sufferers reduce their monthly number of headaches and the intensity of pain compared to participants following a diet richer in fats and vegetable oils. These findings come from a team of researchers from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which are part of the National Institutes of Health.
Their study reveals that this beneficial effect can be explained by the content of these fish in omega-3 fatty acids and conversely, linoleic acid, a fatty acid from the omega-6 family present in certain vegetable oils, has an impact on pain. Previous work by the same scientific team looked at whether linoleic acid inflamed tissue and treatment pathways for migraine pain in the trigeminal nerve, the largest and most complex of the body’s cranial nerves. . The researchers then discovered that a diet poor in linoleic acid and richer in omega-3 fatty acids could soothe this inflammation of the pain pathways.
Increase your consumption of omega-3, reduce that of omega-6
Their new study involved recruiting 182 adults suffering from frequent migraines (five and twenty days per month) who, for 16 weeks, were randomly assigned to three diets. All participants all received meals that included fish, vegetables, hummus, salads and breakfast. But one group received meals containing high levels of fatty fish or fatty fish oils (omega-3) and reduced linoleic acid (omega-6) content, a second group received similar levels of both acids. fat and the third group received a high linoleic acid content and lower levels of fatty fish.
During the intervention period, participants monitored their number migraine days, their duration and intensity, as well as how they affected their ability to function at work, school and social life, and how often they needed to take pain relievers. At the start of the study, participants suffered an average of more than 16 days of migraines per month, lasting up to five hours per day. The impact on the quality of life was very important, despite the use of several painkillers. And for good reason: migraine is one of the most common causes chronic pain, loss of working time and reduced quality of life.
The duration of migraines is significantly reduced
Especially since, as the researchers explain, “the migraine medications Usually provide only partial relief and may have negative side effects, including sedation and the possibility of dependence or addiction. But their conclusions showed that at the end of the intervention period, two groups of participants, the group with a similar omega-3 and omega-6 diet and especially the one with a diet rich in omega-3s and poor in omega-6, reported an improvement in this area: a reduction of the order of 30 to 40% compared to the control group in terms of the number of hours of migraine per day and the number days with migraine per month.
“This research found intriguing evidence that dietary changes have the potential to improve very debilitating chronic pain like migraine without the associated drawbacks of often prescribed medications. », Notes the scientific team. While more work is needed to understand the exact mechanism, the main hypothesis is that fatty fish are high in omega-3s, which are themselves high in compounds that play a role in chronic pain. “Dietary changes could bring relief to people who suffer from migraines. Further evidence that food can influence pain pathways. She adds.
The researchers conclude that “these results confirm that diet-based interventions increasing omega-3 while reducing sources of linoleic acid show more promise in helping migraine sufferers reduce the number and impact of headache days than fish oil supplements, while reducing the need for pain medication. They hope to use their discovery by studying the effects of diet on other chronic painful conditions. To note than oily fish, the foods richest in omega-3 fatty acids come from plants: nuts, rapeseed oil, soybean, flaxseed …