A new study shows that the typical High-fat Western diet increases pain risk, especially in people with diabetes or obesity. Changing the diet may significantly reduce or even reverse the risk of pain.
Chronic pain is a significant cause of disability worldwide. Although experts often recommend that people with diabetes, autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular disease manage their conditions by losing weight, little is known about the relationship between fatty acids in the diet and pain disorders.
Chronic pain may be linked to High-fat diet
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and other institutions have used a variety of methods to study the role of fatty acids in various pain disorders in laboratory rats and humans.
They found that a typical Western diet rich in omega-6 fatty acids was a significant risk factor for inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain.
Omega-6 is found primarily in foods containing vegetable oils, which are beneficial in their own right. Western diets that tend to cause obesity contain too much omega-6, such as fried tortilla chips, fried onion rings, refined snacks, fast foods, cakes, fatty meats, and cured meats.
The healthier omega-3 fatty acids are found primarily in foods such as fish, flaxseeds and walnuts.
The researchers found that changing the high-fat Western diet, particularly by lowering omega-6 and increasing omega-3 intake, could significantly reduce pain levels.
The researchers said this new study could help provide new ideas for treating patients with chronic pain by changing their diet or developing drugs that block the release of certain fatty acids in the body.