Low-lipid diet reduces frequency and severity of acute migraine attacks

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Apr;25(4):370-5. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2014.12.006. Epub 2014 Dec 27.


Background and aim: There is uncertainty regarding the prevention of migraine crises by changing the lifestyle of patients. The aim of this randomized, crossover intervention trial was to evaluate the effects of a low lipid intake on the incidence and severity of migraine crises, in comparison to a diet with moderate lipid intake.

Methods and results: After a 2-month run-in when patients received preventive medication but were left on their habitual diet, a low-lipid or a normal-lipid diet was randomly prescribed for 3 months and thereafter diets were crossed over for the following 3 months. Headache was diagnosed based on the International Classification of Headache Disorders (IHCD) III criteria. The number and severity of attacks were assessed using a self-reported calendar. Adherence to the diet was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire. An analysis was performed on the 83 episodic or chronic migraineurs (63 female and 20 male), in the age range of 18-57 years, who completed both intervention periods. Obese subjects had a significantly higher number of attacks than those overweight or with normal body weight (24.7 ± 8, 16.3 ± 12, and 15.6 ± 11, respectively, p < 0.03) with a significant relationship between the body mass index (BMI) and the number of monthly attacks (r = 0.238, p < 0.03). The number (2.9 ± 3.7 vs. 6.8 ± 7.5, p < 0.001) and severity (1.2 + 0.9 vs. 1.7 ± 0.9, p < 0.01) of attacks significantly decreased during both intervention periods, with a significant difference in favour of the low-lipid diet.

Conclusions: In this group of patients, the low-lipid diet significantly affected the number and severity of migraine attacks in comparison to a normal-lipid diet. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT 01917474.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01917474.

Keywords: Headache; Low-lipid diet; Moderate dietary fat restriction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / diet therapy*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Olive Oil / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Olive Oil

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01917474