As you know migraine can be very painful and debilitating, and can impair your ability to carry out day-to-day function normally. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and can easily prevent some of the effects of this condition. So try to include fish oil in your diet to ensure decreased severity, frequency and duration of migraine attacks.
Omega-3s in Fish Oil
You get two main omega-3 fatty acids from pure fish oil—dicosahexaenoic acid or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid. They are healthy polyunsaturated fats so you can take them without worrying about any adverse effects on your health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are centralized in the brain and play a big role in cognitive functioning and brain development. In addition to their role in the function and structure of cells throughout the body, the omega-3s also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke through multiple actions.
They lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, keep blood vessels healthy, and also maintain healthy triglyceride levels. In fact, they also prevent cancer and arthritis, according to a 2006 report of Harvard School of Public Health.
What Are the Effects of Fish Oil on Migraines?
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help reduce severity and incidence of migraine headaches. For instance, in a 2003 study conducted at the University of Cincinnati found that eight out of 14 migraine patients who took fish oil in the form of supplements experienced significant reduction in the number and intensity of headaches. In a similar 2007 study reported in the “Journal of Adolescent Health,” researchers found that fish oil supplementation and olive oil lead to decreased frequency, severity and duration of migraine headaches.
Best Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You can get fish oil from supplements and many food sources. Some food sources include coldwater fish, such as mackerel, tuna, halibut, sardines, salmon and herring. Other sources include soybean, walnuts, canola oils and flaxseed. Even dark green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, spinach, and salad greens have good amount of omega-3 fatty acids. You can also get omega-3 from flaxseed and fish oil supplements.
Mercury Contamination Concern
According to American Heart Association, it’s best to eat fish at least twice daily, but women and children who’re pregnant or nursing should avoid eating fish that has high levels of mercury in it. This means avoiding swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel. Also limit canned albacore tuna to no more than 5 ounces a week. Canned salmon, light tuna, catfish, poolock and shrimp are all considered low in mercury.
Most fish oil capsules on the market are available in 300, 500, and 600 mg of EPA and DHA combined. Some companies also offer them in doses up to 1,200 mg. So number of pills you take in a day will depend on the amount of omega-3s in each pill. For instance, if you want to take 500mg capsule, you should take just one pill in a day and two pills a day to treat your coronary heart disease. For high triglyceride levels, you can take between five to six capsules in divided doses. However, seek your doctor’s advice on the best dosage for you.
According to University of Maryland Medical Center, adults can consume 1000mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) per day. Its equivalent to two to three servings of fish per week.
You can take fish oil supplements if you don’t eat enough fish, but only in prescribed dosages as recommended by your doctor. Large doses can lower your immune system’s efficacy and interfere with blood clotting. It also has minor side effects, such as heartburn, gas, and diarrhea. Try to avoid taking fish oil supplements with your meals. Because of some possible interactions, you should consult your doctor if you have depression and diabetes, or take prescription medications.
Taking excessive fish oil supplements can increase risk of bleeding. Sometimes it can cause bloating, belching, gas and diarrhea. If you’re on blood thinning mediation, have some medical condition or bleeding disorder, talk to your health care provider before taking any fish supplement. They can interfere with your treatment plan.
Avoid Fish Oil Supplements if you have:
Fish oil increases fasting blood sugar level in people with Type 2 diabetes, so it should never be taken without medical supervision. This is especially crucial if you’re taking blood sugar medications such as glipizide, insuling, glyburide or gluchophage. Your doctor may increase yoru mediation if you want to take fish oil supplement.
High fish oil doses increase the risk of bleeding, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. If you have some bleeding disorder, take blood thinkers such as clopidogrel, warafin or aspirin or bruise easily, seek medical advice before taking fish oil supplements.
People With Allergies
Avoid fish oil supplements if you’re allergic to nuts or fish. Rare incidences of mild to severe skin rashes have been reported among persons taking supplements that had other food allergies.
Lactating or pregnant women should avoid fish oil capsules and should take them only after consulting their doctor. Though there is lower chance of ingesting mercury with fish oil capsules than with fish, still it’s better to exercise caution. According to FDA, mercury can harm developing baby’s nervous system. Also fish oil has polychlorinated biphenyls-PCDs- and dioxins that can be harmful to health.
People below 18 years of age should not take fish oil supplements. They should also avoid eating fish with possibly high mercury content, such as tilefish, shark, or swordfish.