A systematic review and meta-analysis of nutrition interventions for chronic noncancer pain

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2019 Apr;32(2):198-225. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12601. Epub 2018 Oct 7.


Background: This systematic review aimed to evaluate the impact of nutrition interventions on participant reported pain severity and intensity in populations with chronic pain.

Methods: Eight databases were systematically searched for studies that included adult populations with a chronic pain condition, a nutrition intervention and a measure of pain. Where possible, data were pooled using meta-analysis. Seventy-one studies were included, with 23 being eligible for meta-analysis.

Results: Studies were categorised into four groups: (i) altered overall diet with 12 of 16 studies finding a significant reduction in participant reported pain; (ii) altered specific nutrients with two of five studies reporting a significant reduction in participant reported pain; (iii) supplement-based interventions with 11 of 46 studies showing a significant reduction in pain; and (iv) fasting therapy with one of four studies reporting a significant reduction in pain. The meta-analysis found that, overall, nutrition interventions had a significant effect on pain reduction with studies testing an altered overall diet or just one nutrient having the greatest effect.

Conclusions: This review highlights the importance and effectiveness of nutrition interventions for people who experience chronic pain.

Keywords: chronic pain; dietary intake; supplements.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Diet / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Therapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • GENBANK/CRD42017055420