FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:
Chronic daily headaches were significantly reduced by consuming more long-chain omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA, found in fish and seafood) and reducing intake of omega-6 fats (found in all vegetable oils).
This was a randomised controlled clinical trial - the kind of study design that provides the highest level of evidence for causal effects.
The findings support what is already known about the effects of omega-3 EPA/DHA - as susbtances made from them help to reduce inflammation and pain, while a diet rich in omega-6 fats generally has the opposite effect, promoting both nflammation and pain signalling.
What is novel about this trial is that that the changes in omega-3/6 balance were achieved by dietary changes, rather than via supplementation with EPA/DHA.
These results show that dietary changes can be an effective way to improve the management of serious headache pain. More such trials are now needed to confirm these results - and importantly, to find out if this approach may also be of benefit in other chronic pain conditions. UPDATE 2015:
For further findings from this trial, providing information on both additional effects and potential mechanisms, please see:
A new, larger clinical trial involving patients with migraine has now confirmed and extended these findings. See: