New research published in the BMJ this month and reported in the Guardian and by FAB Research suggests that raising intakes of Omega 3 fatty acids by eating more oily fish and using Omega 3-high oils or ‘butter’s reduced both the frequency and length of people’s headaches although not the pain. Slightly oddly, the researchers concluded that this did not ‘did not significantly improve quality of life’.
However, the study participants were mainly women, so would the effect be the same in men or children? It is also not clear whether the benefits were due entirely to the increased intake of Omega 3 from the fish or to other nutritents in the fish as well.
But, as FAB Research point out in their report on the study, these findings are ‘in line with a huge body of existing evidence that a low dietary omega-3 /omega-6 ratio (as found in all typical western-type diets) promotes sensitivity to both pain and inflammation.’
Western diets include a wide range of processed foods which use vegetable oils and fats containing Omega 6, pushing up consumption of Omega 6 oils to way above that of Omega 3s. The ideal ratio is thought to be somewhere betweene 1-to-1 and 4-to-1 (4 x Omega 6 to 1 x Omega 3). Those eating a lot of processed foods could be consuming up to 15-to-1.