Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine attacks: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Nov;21(9):614-623. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1344371. Epub 2017 Jun 30.


The present systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) aimed to analyze the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids on the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine. This systematic review was performed by searching several databases for controlled clinical trials. Of the 13 trials, five, two, and three RCTs met the eligibility criteria to evaluate the efficacy of omega-3 on the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine attacks, respectively. The Jadad scale was used to evaluate the risk of bias analysis. Overall estimates of the intervention effect were obtained from random-effect meta-analysis. The studies' heterogeneity was evaluated using the chi-squared test (χ2) (Cochran's test (Q test)) and I2 Index. Potential sources of heterogeneity among the trials were investigated by meta-regression analyses. The results showed that omega-3 intake had no effect on frequency (WMD = -0.20; 95%CI -0.67, 0.27; P = 0.401, and I2 = 4.6%; P = 0.380) and severity (SMD = -0.59; 95%CI -1.85, 0.66; P = 0.35, and I2 = 88.8%; P = 0.000) of migraine but had a reduction effect on the duration of migraine attacks (WMD = -3.44; 95%CI -5.70, -1.19; P = 0.003, and I2 = 0.0%; P = 0.926). In conclusion, omega-3 intake leads to a significant reduction of approximately 3.44 hours in the duration of migraine. Further randomized controlled trials of high methodological quality with adequate sample sizes are required to confirm the results of the meta-analyses.

Keywords: Migraine; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; fish oil; omega-3.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / diet therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3