Fish Oil and Children, Adolescents' Health

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND. Recurrent migraine headaches are a frequent complaint among teenagers and so far no really effective treatment has been developed. This may now be about to change. Researchers at Brown University have discovered that supplementation with either fish oil capsules or olive oil results in a very substantial decrease in both headache frequency and severity. Twenty-seven adolescents (19 girls and 8 boys with a mean age of 15 years) who had been suffering from frequent migraines for 3 years or more were randomly assigned to receive either fish oil capsules /day (providing 750 mg/day of EPA and 500 mg/day of DHA) or 2 capsules of olive oil a day for two 2-month period separated by a 1-month washout period.

Olive Oil and Fish Oil Capsules Decreased Severity, Length of Migraines

At the end of the 2-month periods the participants reported the number of headaches they had experienced and rated their severity on a 7-point pain scale. Prior to the supplementation the participants experienced an average of 31 migraine episodes per 2 months and rated their severity at an average 5.0 on the pain scale. After 2 months of supplementation, the frequency of episodes had declined dramatically from 31 to 4 episodes/2 months in both the fish oil capsules and olive oil capsules groups. This clearly is a very significant improvement. Headache severity also declined substantially from an average of 5.0 to 2.9 in the fish oil group and to 3.5 in the olive oil group. About 72% of participants also experienced a significant shortening of their migraine episodes when taking either fish olive oil or fish oil capsules. At the end of the trial, 91% of participants said that they would recommend fish oils or olive oils to friends suffering from recurrent migraine headaches.
Harel, Zeev, et al. Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of recurrent migraines in adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol. 31, No. 2, August 2002, pp. 154-61

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