Have You Heard About PEA: Palmitoylethanolamide?

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What Is Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)?

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is both considered an endogenous compound, being produced naturally in the body, and a food component (see below for what foods it is found in). It has  multiple functions related to metabolic and cellular homeostasis. PEA was identified back in the 1950s as a therapeutic substance with “potent anti-inflammatory properties”. Since then, the anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties of PEA have been shown in a number of placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trials on influenza and common cold.

So, could PEA be considered as an option for COVID-19??

The Institute For Functional Medicine think so and recommend dosing, based on the clinical studies that have been done on the common cold and influenza, up to 600 mg three times daily for up to three weeks (to treat an infection).

PEA should be reconsidered by clinicians as a new treatment modality for the flu and respiratory infections due to its documented efficacy and more importantly its very benign side effect profile.

What Is Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) Used For?

PEA has been discussed in the research for its potential benefit in:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Other autoimmune disorders
  • Depression
  • Inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Enczema and atopic dermatitis
  • Modulating mast cells and thus perhaps mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), hay fever and histamine issues
  • The common cold and influenza

Just look at these quotes direct from the research (references below):

PEA is under evaluation as a nutraceutical for inflammatory bowel syndrome.

PEA is an interesting anti-inflammatory therapeutic substance and might also hold great promise for the treatment of a number of (auto)immune disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease and inflammatory diseases of the CNS.

Nowadays the efficacy of palmitoylethanolamide in controlling mast cell behaviour, which likely accounts for its many anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and analgesic effects, is well recognized.

PEA may potentially be useful in a wide range of therapeutic areas, including eczema, pain and neuro-degeneration.

PEA treatment ameliorates both cognitive deficits and a range of neuropathological features of Alzheimer’s disease.

To support the possible beneficial effect of PEA in neurodegenerative disorders, a study involving 30 Parkinson’s disease patients receiving levodopa demonstrated that PEA (600 mg for 1 year) slowed down disease progression and disability

How Does Palmitoylethanolamide PEA Work?

There are multiple mechanisms of action associated with PEA, from inhibition of TNF-alpha and NF-kB (inflammatory mediators) to mast cell stabilisation. In influenza, it is thought that PEA works by attenuating the potentially fatal cytokine storm. Scientists are also investigating the effects of PEA on activating the cannabinoid receptors.

PEA shares several important pharmacological effects with endocannabinoids, including potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in several animal models of pathologies. Therefore, it has been suggested that PEA constitutes a “parallel” endocannabinoid signalling system

Where Can I Get Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) From?

As mentioned in the into, we naturally produce PEA. But it can also be found in foods, the highest amounts can be found in soy lecithin, soybeans, egg yolk, peanuts, and alfalfa.

You can also supplement it, which would be needed to experience some of the aforementioned benefits. Amrita Nutrition sell a product produced by Neuro Biologix. They also produce a topical version which, I wonder, if could be even more helpful if trialling its use for conditions such as eczema, and atopic dermatitis (although both may help with all the above conditions).

Resources

You may also like my blog post on histamine intolerance and mast cells.

To dive deeper in to the topic this blog post will be helpful.

References

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