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Omega-3 fatty acids: fight headaches with a proper diet

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for human metabolism. It is a building block of our cell membranes, has anti-inflammatory effects, among other things, and has a positive effect on lipid metabolism. Consuming a lot of it with food may also reduce headache frequency. That’s the conclusion of a new study by the University of North Carolina, reports the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE).

Omega-3 belong to the so-called polyunsaturated fatty acids, and the vegetable omega-3 fatty acids ALA and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are mainly obtained from fish, are especially important for the human body. However, most people consume more omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) with their food, which is found in processed foods, according to BZfE.

The natural food source of EPA and DHA is high-fat sea fish such as mackerel, herring, tuna or salmon, according to the Consumers Association. Oils rich in DHA from various microalgae are suitable for vegetarians. ALA is found in rapeseed oil, walnuts, and linseed, as well as in nuts, green leafy vegetables, and chia seeds.

The role of linoleic acid

And participated in the study 182 patients with migraines who ate one of three meals. The control regimen contained typical local levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In the second diet, the intake of EPA and DHA was increased by a certain amount, and in the third diet, the intake of linoleic acid was also reduced.

The result: participants who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids had fewer headaches. The effect also increases when the amount of linoleic acid is lower. Overall, study participants reported shorter, less severe headaches than the control diet, and some were able to reduce their medication intake.

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Study results suggest that changing the diet can help treat migraines and other chronic pain, according to the experts at BZfE. In this case, the correct ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is important, as they are precursors of signaling molecules that increase pain (linoleic acid) or relieve pain (EPA and DHA).