PEA is the abbreviation for palmitoylethanolamide. It is a fatty acid which can be made by the body itself. This often occurs as a reaction to a negative impulse, such as accidental damage to tissue or during an infection. PEA acts as a pain reliever and restores the body's balance. Not only humans, but practically all life forms have the ability to make this substance if the body is out of balance. The compound was discovered in 1957 but it took until 1993 for research to be done into its effect. Italian neurologist Prof. Rita Levi-Montalcini deciphered the exact effect of PEA on the body. It was an important discovery once it became clear how useful the substance was.
As PEA is found in practically all life forms, it is available in our regular food. We find PEA specifically in meat, but also in eggs, soy and peanuts.
Naturally it is important to treat the cause of pain. But the first priority is often to reduce the pain, before the cause has been identified. We then reach for the available pain medicines, offered in large numbers by the pharmaceutical industry. But such pain killers are not always as harmless as some would have us believe. PEA is a natural substance in the body and so offers interesting possibilities. PEA curbs infections and promotes natural healing. It works on the basis of self-healing.
PEA was first described in 1957. It was already clear then, that this natural substance had an impact on curbing infection. PEA was suggested as a pain medication for the first time in 1975. Thanks to the groundbreaking work by Prof. Rita Levi-Montalcini in 1993, we now know much more about PEA. She discovered what PEA does in the body so we now know exactly why it is beneficial as a nutritional supplement. Since then, dozens of studies have been carried out, on the effects of PEA across the world,
However, most of these studies were published in Italy and Spain and there was very little English documentation. When PEA became available as a nutritional supplement in 2010, more documented records of this substance could be found. Today there are hundreds of scientific articles on PEA, which document the effect of this substance. Among these was a large study of 636 people with severe chronic pain. In 2011 PEA reached a 'number needed to treat' (NNT) of 1.5. This number describes the number of people who use a certain substance and achieve the desired result with it. An NNT of 1.5 means every second person.
Virtually every organism is able to produce PEA itself, in the body cells. This even applies to single cell organisms. In the same way it is just as easy to break down the substance again, depending on requirements. The PEA molecule consists of palmitic acid and diethanolamide. These fatty acids which make up PEA are part of the cell membrane and, with the help of FAAH enzyme, are broken down into these parts again and absorbed through the cell membrane. Normally our cells produce PEA if required. The cells are activated if there is infection, clot or damage to the nerves. Once PEA is generated, the problem improves. It curbs infection molecules and, in addition, renders free radicals harmless. Free radicals can cause damage to the body.
PEA is available as a cream and as a nutritional supplement. In nutritional supplement form, one should ensure that the purest possible form of the substance is taken. That means that the substance must not be mixed with other materials. PEA in its purest form is the most effective. More than a million people have already used PEA as a pain killer. They report positive results, which are sometimes better than with conventional pain killers (Analgesics).
In addition, because PEA is a bodily substance, there are no side effects. PEA can also be taken with other medications without a problem. As a pain medication for chronic pain, it is best to take PEA in divided doses throughout the day. 400mg Three times a day is recommended. Normally the effect is already noticeable within a few days.
If the pain has not notably subsided after a few weeks, the dose can be increased to 6 x 400mg. If, after three to four months, there is still no result, then the causes lie somewhere else. Occasionally the body does not metabolise the substance.
There are many different pain medications. People who suffer great pain through a chronic illness or disability, tend to reach for any remedy, regardless of whether it will do more damage or not. So it is advisable to be careful about the remedies offered. Some remedies reduce the pain but damage the body, especially if they are taken regularly for a long time.
As an example, more than three quarters of all Dutch people take pain medication sometimes. Headache, back aches and joint pain are the most often cited reasons. Sometimes the pain medication produces the opposite effect. Once the body is accustomed to the medication, a lack thereof can lead to headaches.
The headache is then caused not by the headache itself but by a lack of pain medication. Pain medications are also often the cause of stomach/gut complaints. They damage the membranes of the digestive tract. This causes a series of damaging consequences. Because PEA is a bodily substance, all these complications do not occur.