Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a natural substance that has many health benefits. It stops pain and inflammation, protects the heart, and improves brain function.
Palmitoylethanolamide, or PEA, is a substance produced in the body naturally to combat inflammation. Outside the body, it can be found in soybean lecithin, egg yolk, peanut meal and other foods (R).
In addition, PEA is available as a supplement in tablet, capsule, and powder form to help with chronic and neuropathic pain relief. It is commonly used as a food supplement.
Since its discovery in the 1950’s, it has been widely researched as a pain suppressant and anti-inflammatory. It has found to have little to no known side effects (R).

Health Benefits of Palmitoylethanolamide

1) PEA Reduces Pain and Inflammation

In humans, PEA reduced the pain intensity in patients given a PEA supplement than those without a PEA supplement .
PEA reduced pain levels in patients with back pain better than in patients not given PEA .
In women with pelvic pain, PEA improved the pain and sexual function symptoms in 6 months .
PEA decreased pain intensities in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome .
In chemotherapy-caused pain, PEA can help treat nerve pain in cancer patients .
In animals, adelmidrol, a PEA equivalent, reduced acute and chronic inflammation .
PEA-treated mice had less inflammation and lung damage than those treated without PEA .
PEA has an anti-inflammatory effect on mice with collagen-induced arthritis .
In mice, PEA helped reduced spinal cord injury-induced inflammation .

2) PEA Protects the Brain

In stroke patients given PEA, recovery outcomes, such as cognitive skills and brain status, improved compared to stroke patients not given PEA .
PEA improved cognitive and social behaviors in autistic children .
In mice, PEA helps preserve brain cells and reduces the expression of pro-inflammatory enzymes. PEA may reduce brain inflammation and brain cell death .
Mice given PEA had improved results in neuron regeneration after spinal cord injury .
In rats, a pre-treatment of PEA reduced seizure duration, indicating PEA may also have anti-epileptic properties .
In mice injected with neurotoxins, PEA reduced some of the neurotoxic and neuroinflammatory effects .

3) PEA Benefits the Heart

In mice with induced heart attacks, PEA reduced heart tissue injury, levels of inflammatory cytokines, and cell death .
Rats treated with PEA for 5 weeks had lower blood pressure than rats not treated with PEA .

4) PEA is Good for Eye Health
In patients with eye diseases, PEA has anti-inflammatory benefits in eye cells and may be used as a treatment supplement, especially for those with glaucoma and diabetic nerve damage .

Additionally, PEA counteracted eye pressure that occurred after eye surgery .
In human patients with normal tension glaucoma, PEA treatment improved the visual field .
In diabetic rats, PEA reduced inflammation in eye cells but preserved the blood-retinal barrier .
Also, PEA reduced inflammation in rats’ eyes and reduced damage .

5) PEA Helps Gut Function

Adelmidrol, a PEA equivalent, is anti-inflammatory and can help manage inflammatory bowel disease
In rats, PEA lowered blood pressure and helped protected against kidney injury .
PEA also normalized intestinal movement in mice with irritable bowel syndrome .


  • Palmitoylethanolamide exerts neuroprotection and reduces inflammatory secondary events associated with brain ischemia-reperfusion injury (middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo)) (R).
  • In one pivotal, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 636 sciatic pain patients, the number needed to treat to reach 50% pain reduction compared to baseline was 1.5 after 3 weeks of treatment (R).
  • Interestingly, Palmitoylethanolamide also showed protective scavenging effect, through superoxide dismutase induction, and dampened unfolding protein response, interfering with glucose-regulated protein 78 expression and PERK-eIF2α pathway (R).
  • Palmitoylethanolamide treatment reduces myocardial tissue injury, neutrophil infiltration, adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, P-selectin) expression, proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β) production, nitrotyrosine and PAR formation, nuclear factor kB expression, and apoptosis (Fas-L, Bcl-2) activation (R).