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Can Omega 3 Cause Headaches? (Explained)

can-omega-3-cause-headaches

Last Updated on 31/08/2022 by Joel

We’ve all been there – you wake up with a pounding headache, and you know it’s going to be a long day. You pop a couple of painkillers and hope for the best, but unfortunately, they don’t seem to do much good.

If you’ve come across this article, chances are you’re looking for answers to why you’re getting headaches and, more specifically, can omega 3 cause headaches.

The quick answer is that although omega-3 benefits our overall health, some people can experience headaches as a side effect of taking this supplement. But research is emerging that omega-3 can actually reduce the frequency and severity of headaches [1].

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the link between omega-3 and headaches, as well as some of the possible causes of headaches, so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not this supplement is right for you.

How are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Good for You?

Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid not produced by the human body, so we need to obtain it from our diets. It is found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds.

There are many different ways in which omega-3 can be beneficial for our health. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can therefore help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by promoting blood flow, reducing blood clot formation, and improving the structure of the arterial walls.

There is also evidence that omega-3 may help improve cognitive function, protect against Alzheimer’s disease, as well as reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. So if you’re looking for a supplement with a range of health benefits, omega-3 is undoubtedly worth considering.

How Did We Come to Believe Omega-3 Causes Headaches?

One of the reasons why omega-3 is thought to cause headaches is because it is a natural blood thinner. This means that it can reduce the clotting ability of our blood, which in turn can lead to more frequent nosebleeds and bruising.

But people experience frequent headaches mainly because of the intake of omega-6. Omega-6 is another essential fatty acid found in vegetable oils, such as sunflower, corn, and soybean. It’s also present in many processed foods such as biscuits, cakes, and bread.

The problem with omega-6 is that it is pro-inflammatory, whereas omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that a diet high in omega-6 and low in omega-3 can lead to inflammation throughout the body, which can then trigger headaches.

However, that’s not to say omega-6 is bad for you – we need both omega-3 and omega-6 for our bodies to function properly. It’s just that most people these days consume too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3, which is why it’s essential to try and even out the balance with supplements or by eating more oily fish.

How Can You Tell If Your Headache Is Triggered by Omega 3?

If you think that your headache may be caused by omega-3, then there are a few things you can look out for. For example, if you take omega-3 supplements and notice that your headaches start to occur more frequently or become more severe, this is a strong indication that the supplement is to blame.

Another way to tell is if you find that taking painkillers doesn’t help to relieve your headache. This is because omega-3 can thin the blood and make it harder for clotting to occur, which means that painkillers may not be as effective.

If unsure, it’s always best to speak to a doctor or healthcare professional to get their opinion.

Is it Safe to Take Omega-3 Supplements?

Generally speaking, omega-3 supplements are safe for most people to take. However, as with any supplement, there is always the potential for side effects. The most common side effect of omega-3 is gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, wind, and nausea.

If you experience any of these side effects, it’s best to stop taking the supplement and speak to a doctor. They will be able to advise you on whether or not you should continue taking omega-3, and they may also be able to recommend an alternative supplement or a suitable diet change.

It’s also worth speaking to a doctor if you’re on blood thinners or have other medical conditions, as omega-3 may not be suitable for you.

What Else Might Be Causing Frequent Headaches?

Many things can cause frequent headaches, ranging from stress and dehydration to underlying medical conditions. But one of the most common causes of headaches is not getting enough sleep.

When we don’t get enough rest, our bodies become tense, and our muscles start to ache, which can lead to a headache. Another common cause of headaches is stress. When we’re under a lot of pressure, our bodies produce extra adrenaline and cortisol, which can constrict blood vessels and lead to headaches.

Dehydration can also trigger headaches, as can skipping meals or eating too much sugar. So make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and eating regular, healthy meals if you’re looking to reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches.

In some cases, however, frequent headaches may be caused by an underlying medical condition such as migraines, cluster headaches, or temporomandibular joint disorder. If you’re experiencing frequent headaches, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any serious underlying causes.

Can You Reduce Headaches with Omega 3 Supplements?

Yes, it’s possible that taking omega-3 supplements can help reduce headaches because of their excellent anti-inflammatory properties. If you find that omega-3 supplements help relieve your headaches, then it’s essential to ensure you’re taking a high-quality supplement from a reputable brand.

It’s also worth considering changing your diet to include more omega-3-rich foods such as oily fish, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. This, combined with a good omega-3 supplement, can help to optimize your omega-3 levels and reduce the likelihood of headaches.

And don’t forget to consume your omega-6 fats! Although omega-6 fats can promote inflammation, they’re also essential for our health. So ensure you include plenty of good-quality omega-6 fats in your diet, such as those found in nuts and seeds, to help balance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.

The Bottom Line: Can Omega 3 Cause Headaches?

Getting frequent headaches is the last thing you want when trying to improve your health with omega-3 supplements. But if you find that taking omega-3 is causing you headaches, then it’s important to speak to a doctor or healthcare professional to see if it’s the right supplement for you.

The good news is that balancing your omega-3 and omega-6 levels can help reduce the likelihood of headaches. So make sure you include plenty of omega-3-rich foods in your diet, and consider taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement to help optimize your intake.

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