The relationship between different fatty acids intake and frequency of migraine attacks

Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. May-Jun 2015;20(3):334-9.


Background: Migraine is a primary headache disorder that affects the neurovascular system. Recent studies have shown that consumption of some fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids improves migraine symptoms. The aim of the present study is to assess the association between usual intake of fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and saturated fatty acids (SFA) with the frequency of migraine attacks.

Materials and methods: 105 migraine patients with age ranging from 15 to 50 years participated in this cross-sectional study. Usual dietary consumption was assessed by using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Moreover, frequency of migraine attacks during 1 month period was determined in all participants. Data had been analyzed using independent sample t-test and linear regression test with adjustment of confounding variables.

Results: In this study, we found that lower intake of EPA (β = -335.07, P = 0.006) and DHA (β = -142.51, P = 0.001) was associated with higher frequency of migraine attacks. In addition, we observed similar relationship either in men or women. No significant association was found between dietary intake of SFA and the frequency of migraine attacks (β = -0.032, P = 0.85).

Conclusions: Frequency of migraine attacks was negatively associated with dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. No significant relationship was found between SFA intake and migraine frequency. Further studies are required to shed light on our findings.

Keywords: Docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; fatty acids; migraine.