During my 30 years in the complementary healthcare industry there has obviously been many products come onto the market. This week I’m writing about a new supplement known as PEA which has recently become available in health food stores and which I believe is one of the most exciting supplements I have seen in those 30 years. Why? Because I believe PEA may help so many people, especially those suffering from chronic and neuropathic pain as well as inflammation.
This powerful compound known as palmitoylethanolamide, or PEA is a natural fat-soluble molecule which is produced by humans and can also be found in foods such as meat, eggs yolks, peanuts and soy. It has been used in Europe for decades for treatment of these health conditions, however, has only recently become available in Australia.
PEA has been researched for some time and it has been found our body actually produces this fatty molecule known as PEA, when it is required to respond to pain or inflammation in our body. The problem arises however when our body doesn’t produce sufficient PEA to control the effects of pain and inflammation. It is believed when pain becomes chronic, our body struggles to produce sufficient PEA and in fact, it has been found those suffering from chronic pain sometimes have lower levels of PEA in their body. This is when supplementing with PEA may be helpful.
PEA has been found to act in different ways to reduce pain and inflammation in our bodies. One of the important functions of PEA is its role in binding to specific sites within our cells reducing this inflammatory activity. As well, PEA is believed to lessen the action of certain immune cells which are a part of our nervous system and which may help with diminishing the intensity of pain signals. Obviously when these two actions are combined, PEA may well be helpful in treating many conditions connected to chronic pain and inflammation including –
- Arthritis - osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Lower back pain
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Chronic pelvic pain including endometriosis
- Peripheral neuropathies - diabetic neuropathy and chemotherapy induced neuropathy
- Inflammatory bowel disease
PEA is non-addictive and can generally be well tolerated and can be taken with other medications. It can be taken together with other pain medications or alone. In fact, it is believed to enhance the effects of other pain medications and may help reduce reliance on stronger pain medications which can cause unwanted side effects.
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of PEA had been known for decades but were originally quite misunderstood. However, in the 1990’s Nobel Prize laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini identified PEA may well control overactive inflammatory cells, noting its value in treating chronic infections and pain. Following this discovery many scientific studies have been undertaken. PEA has been researched through a number of placebo-controlled randomised clinical trials. These trials have indicated PEA may be helpful in a number of health conditions related to chronic pain.
For more information contact Bev and the team at Go Vita, your health shop at 5 North St, Batemans Bay or phone 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on 2EC every Wednesday on Go Get Healthy at 12.30pm.
Artukoglu BB, Beyer C, Zuloff-Shani A, et al. Efficacy of palmitoylethanomide for pain: a meta-analysis. Pain Physician 2017;20(5):353-362.
Keppel Hasselink JM. Evolution in pharmacologic thinking around the natural analgesic palmitoylethanolamide: from nonspecific resistance to PPARα_agonist and effective nutraceutical. J Pain Res 2013;6:625-634.
Keppel Hasselink JM, de Boer T, Witkamp RF. Palmitoylethanolamide: a natural body-own anti-inflammatory agent, effective and safe against influenza and common cold. Int J Inflam 2013;2013:151028.
Keppel Hasselink JM, Hekker TA. Therapeutic utility of palmitoylethanolamide in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with various pathological conditions: a case series. J Pain Res 2012;5:437-442.
Keppel Hasselink JM, Kopsky DJ. The role of palmitoylethanolamide, an autacoid, in the symptomatic treatment of muscle cramps: three case reports and review of literature. J Clin Case Rep 2016;6(3).
Keppel Hasselink JM, Kopsky DJ. Palmitoylethanolamide, a nutraceutical, in nerve compression syndromes: efficacy and safety in sciatic pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. J Pain Res 2015;8:729-734.
Marini I, Bartolucci ML, Bortolotti F, et al. Palmitoylethanolamide versus nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug in the treatment of temporomandibular joint inflammatory pain. J Orofac Pain 2012;26(2):99-104.
Paladini A, Fusco M, Cenacci T, et al. Palmitoylethanolamide, a special food for medicinal purposes, in the treatment of chronic pain: a pooled data meta-analysis. Pain Physician 2016;19:11-24.
Petrosino S, Di Marzo V. The pharmacology of palmitoylethanolamide and first data on therapeutic efficacy of some of its new formulations. Br J Pharmacol 2017;174(11):1349-1365.
Pollack AJ, Harrison C, Henderson J, et al. Neuropathic pain. Aus Fam Physician 2013;42(1-2):91.
Schifilliti C, Cucinotta L, Fedele V, et al. Micronised palmitoylethanomide reduces the symptoms of neuropathic pain in diabetic patients. Pain Res Treat 2014;2014:849623.
Skaper SD, Facci L, Barbierato M, et al. N-Palmitoylethanolamide and neuroinflammation: a novel therapeutic strategy of resolution. Mol Neurobiol 2015;52(2):1034-1042