Omega to soothe migraines

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Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acids, Essential fatty acid, Nutrition

Migraine, a common severe headache that afflicts our society, may
be soothed by omega-3 fatty acids.

Migraine, a common severe headache that afflicts our society, may be soothed by omega-3 fatty acids. Epidemiological studies during the 1960s in Greenland concluded that migraine was extremely uncommon among the Inuites. Their diet is characterised by containing very high amounts of fish in combination with meat and fat from sea mammals. The fat from these species are very high in the polyunsaturated fatty acids called omega-3 fatty acids. Scientists in Sweden and Denmark decided to test the possible effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids on migraine attacks. Two uncontrolled pilot studies were conducted separately in Sweden and Denmark testing the prophylactic effect of 4 capsules of an omega-3 concentrate providing a dose of 2.4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily during three months. All patients continued their normal medication. The Swedish study (1) involved 49 subjects. Eight people did not complete the study protocol leaving 41 for evaluation, 37 women and 4 men. Most of the participants, 33 individuals, had more than 1 attack per week the others 8 in number had not so frequent attacks. Effects before and after 3 months treatment were evaluated by means of a questionnaire. The medication was well tolerated with only 3 subjects reporting regurgitation with fishy taste. Overall positive results were obtained by the treatment especially in the group with most frequent attacks reporting a reduction in number of migraine attacks by 28% and a reduction in attack intensity by 32%. Both reductions are statistically significant. Those with not so many attacks had lower reductions not reaching statistical significans. The quality-of-life questionnaire revealed that in the group of participants with most frequent attacks 67% were significantly improved while 30% were unchanged. In the other group the percentage improvements were 63% and 37%, respectively. In the Danish study 41 were recruited but only 35 completed the study protocol. Study duration and dose omega-3 fatty acids were identical with the Swedish study. Eight patients had minor problems related to fishy regurgitations. 21 subjects had frequent attacks and 14 had fewer attacks. 57% of those with frequent attacks and 43% of the others experienced fewer attacks after three months of treatment while 57% and 36%, respectively, had reduced the severity of attacks. For the total group 87% answered that omega-3 medication had improved their migraine condition while 13% did not respond favourably. The findings suggest that intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids may positively affect the clinical course of migraine. Studies: Lejnemark NO. Fiskolja hjälp mot migrän and Kan migræne påvirkes av fiskeolje Et åbent studie.

Related topics: Research

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