Reducing consumption of vegetable oil and replacing it with fatty fish can help migraine sufferers reduce their monthly number of headaches and the intensity of the pain they experience, according to a new study.

The study builds on previous research that showed vegetable oil can increase inflammation within the body, and also seems to chime with research into the neurodegenerative effects of soybean oil, which we reported on recently. The findings about the effects of soybean-oil consumption are particularly worrying, since the oil is the most widely consumed in the US, by some margin.

Less vegetable oil = fewer headaches

Migraine is a neurological disease and ranks among the most common causes of chronic pain, lost work time, and lowered quality of life worldwide. Across the world, more than 4 million people have chronic migraine (at least 15 migraine days per month) and over 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during an attack, which can last anywhere from four hours to three days.

Women between the ages of 18 and 44 are especially prone to migraines, with an estimated 18% of all American women being affected. Current medications for migraine usually offer only partial relief and can have negative side effects including sedation, as well as the possibility of addiction.

This study of 182 adults with frequent migraines expanded on the research team’s previous work on the impact of linoleic acid and chronic pain.

Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) which is most commonly derived in the American diet from corn, soybean, and other similar forms of vegetable oil, as well as some nuts and seeds. The team’s previous smaller studies explored if this PUFA inflamed tissues and pathways related to migraine pain in the trigeminal nerve, the largest and most complex of the body’s 12 cranial nerves. They found that a diet lower in linoleic acid and higher in levels of omega-3 fatty acids (such as those found in fish and shellfish) could actually reduce inflammation of these tissues.

In a 16-week study, the 182 participants were randomly assigned to one of three diet plans. Participants received meal kits that included fish, vegetables, hummus, salads, and breakfast items. One group received meals that had high levels of fatty fish or oils from fatty fish and lowered linoleic acid. A second group received meals that had high levels of fatty fish and higher linoleic acid. The third group received meals with high linoleic acid and lower levels of fatty fish, with the aim of mimicking average U.S. intakes.

During the 16 weeks, participants monitored their number of migraine days, the duration of migraines and their intensity, as well as recording how their headaches affected their abilities to function at work, school, and socially, and how often they needed to take medication to fight the pain.

When the study began, participants averaged more than 16 headache days per month, more than five hours of migraine pain per headache day, and had baseline scores showing a severe impact on quality of life despite using multiple headache medications.

The diet that was lowest in vegetable oil and highest in fatty fish produced between 30% and 40% reductions in total headache hours per day, severe headache hours per day, and overall headache days per month by comparison with the control group. Blood samples from this group of participants also recorded lower levels of pain-related lipids. Despite the reduction in headache frequency and pain, these same participants reported only minor improvements in migraine-related overall quality of life compared to other groups in the study.

Soybean oil causes neural dysregulation, as well as weight gain, in mice: shocking study

soybean oil

According to a 2020 study, soybean oil — the most commonly consumed oil in America — caused gene dysregulation in mice which led to neurological problems, particularly in their ability to bond, and weight gain.

We’ve dubbed vegetable oil (of which soybean oil is an example) ‘one of the worst things you can eat’, and also included vegetable-oil-laden processed food as one of the main foods that make you ugly. Processed food has been under intense scrutiny in recent months, including as a result of a new documentary that aired on the BBC. For a period of a month, a British doctor conducted a self-experiment by eating a diet composed of 80% processed food, a diet consumed by as much as two-thirds of the adult population in the UK. 

The shocking results of the doctor’s experiment included serious weight gain, piles, anxiety, sleeplessness, loss of libido and, most shockingly of all, changes to the structure of his brain considered to be typical of drug addicts. Weeks after the experiment ended, scans revealed that the neurological changes had not been reversed. The doctor is now quite literally hard-wired to want to eat processed food.

As the soybean study notes, there has ‘been a 1000-fold increase in the consumption of soybean oil in the United States during the 20th century.’ Studies, including by the authors of this particular study, have already shown that soybean oil is obesogenic – causes obesity – in mice and, echoing the British doctor’s self-experiment, that it causes deeper physiological changes, including to the expression of hundreds of genes in the livers of mice.

But the new study reveals even deeper and more worrying physiological changes that should give us all pause for concern.


“This research found intriguing evidence that dietary changes have potential for improving a very debilitating chronic pain condition like migraine without the related downsides of often prescribed medications,” said Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., Ph.D., scientific director of the National Institute on Aging.

“Changes in diet could offer some relief for the millions of Americans who suffer from migraine pain,” said Chris Ramsden, a clinical investigator in the NIA. “It’s further evidence that the foods we eat can influence pain pathways.”

The researchers noted that these findings serve as confirmation that diet-based interventions which increase omega-3 fats while reducing linoleic acid sources (vegetable oil) show better promise for helping people with migraines reduce the number and impact of headache days than fish-oil based supplements, at the same time as reducing the need for pain medications. They researchers to continue to expand this work by studying the effects of diet, including consumption of vegetable oil, on other conditions that cause chronic pain.

All in all, it seems that reducing or eliminating vegetable oil consumption will improve your health across the board – both physical and mental. That’s why, here at Herculean Strength, we recommend eliminating it totally and returning to consumption of the healthy animal fats, including marine sources of Omega-3, that kept our ancestors healthy since time immemorial.

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