Palmitoylethanolamide. What now?


Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA, not to be confused with phenylethylamine).

It does all the things in mice (alleviates pain, inflammation, anxiety, etc.), but now that it is widely available in supplement form, what is the evidence in humans?

It's specific targets are largely unknown. PPARa? Endocannabinoid system? CB1? Others?

[doesn't look like much, does it]

A few case studies and a clinic that pushes it HERE. Most start with 300 - 600 mg once or twice a day

Histamine intolerance? 

Remember when people used to joke about marijuana for eye health? Well, that might be partially true and argues for either: 1) a common endocannabinoid target of PEA and something in marijuana; or 2) cannabis has an extensive & complicated profile of bioactive compounds and PEA has nothing to do with the cannabinoid system (Costagliola et al., 2014 & Pescosolido et al., 2011).

Much has been done on neuropathic pain. Dose-dependent (600 - 1200 mg/d) effects of PEA on carpal tunnel symptoms (Conigliaro et al., 2011).

Effective topically for eczema! (reduced symptoms, improved sleep & quality of life) (Eberlein et al., 2008).

I understand endometriosis to be hell-on-Earth, and this small (n=4) study showed pain relief and reduced need for other analgesic medications (Indraccolo et al., 2010).

However, endogenous PEA levels were almost two-fold higher in people with IBS than healthy controls, which could be interpreted a couple of ways (Darmani et al., 2005).

Reduced chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain in this study (Truini et al., 2011). The authors suggested mediation via mast cells, which supports a theoretical role for PEA in histamine intolerance. Also coulda been a placebo effect as there was no control group in this study.

Reduced pain and anxiety but no effect on sleep in this study on people with osteoarthritis (Steels et al., 2019).

And lastly, no effect of PEA on sleep or pain in people with spinal cord injury-induced neuropathic pain (Andresen et al., 2016).

Mechanism? Again, unknown, but seems more cannabinoid(ish) than PPARa.

Is anyone gonna try PEA? Let me know.

That's all for now!

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