Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Headache and Pain


Volume 15, Issue 1

Inclusive Pages

Article number 69



Limited evidence suggests that dietary interventions may offer a promising approach for migraine. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a low-fat plant-based diet intervention on migraine severity and frequency.


Forty-two adult migraine sufferers were recruited from the general community in Washington, DC, and divided randomly into two groups. This 36-week crossover study included two treatments: dietary instruction and placebo supplement. Each treatment period was 16 weeks, with a 4-week washout between. During the diet period, a low-fat vegan diet was prescribed for 4 weeks, after which an elimination diet was used. Participants were assessed at the beginning, midpoint, and end of each period. Significance was determined using student’s t-tests.


Worst headache pain in last 2 weeks, as measured by visual analog scale, was initially 6.4/10 cm (SD 2.1 cm), and declined 2.1 cm during the diet period and 0.7 cm during the supplement period (p=0.03). Average headache intensity (0–10 scale) was initially 4.2 (SD 1.4) per week, and this declined by 1.0 during the diet period and by 0.5 during the supplement period (p=0.20). Average headache frequency was initially 2.3 (SD 1.8) per week, and this declined by 0.3 during the diet period and by 0.4 during the supplement period (p=0.61). The Patient’s Global Impression of Change showed greater improvement in pain during the diet period (p<0.001).


These results suggest that a nutritional approach may be a useful part of migraine treatment, but that methodologic issues necessitate further research.


Reproduced with permission of Springer. Journal of Headache and Pain.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access