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Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a natural substance that has many health benefits. It stops pain and inflammation, protects the heart, and improves brain function. Read more below to learn about its effects.



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 in Italy and Spain 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 (R).

PEA reduced pain levels in patients with back pain better than in patients not given PEA (R).

In women with pelvic pain, PEA improved the pain and sexual function symptoms in 6 months (R).

PEA decreased pain intensities in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (R).

In chemotherapy-caused pain, PEA can help treat nerve pain in cancer patients (R).

In animals, adelmidrol, a PEA equivalent, reduced acute and chronic inflammation (R).

PEA-treated mice had less inflammation and lung damage than those treated without PEA (R).

PEA has an anti-inflammatory effect on mice with collagen-induced arthritis (R).

In mice, PEA helped reduced spinal cord injury-induced inflammation (R).

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 (R).

PEA improved cognitive and social behaviors in autistic children (R).

In mice, PEA helps preserve brain cells and reduces the expression of pro-inflammatory enzymes. PEA may reduce brain inflammation and brain cell death (R).

Mice given PEA had improved results in neuron regeneration after spinal cord injury (R).

In rats, a pre-treatment of PEA reduced seizure duration, indicating PEA may also have anti-epileptic properties (R).

In mice injected with neurotoxins, PEA reduced some of the neurotoxic and neuroinflammatory effects (R).

3) PEA Benefits the Heart

In mice with induced heart attacks, PEA reduced heart tissue injury, levels of inflammatory cytokines, and cell death (R).

Rats treated with PEA for 5 weeks had lower blood pressure than rats not treated with PEA (R).

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 (R).

Additionally, PEA counteracted eye pressure that occurred after eye surgery (R).

In human patients with normal tension glaucoma, PEA treatment improved the visual field (R).

In diabetic rats, PEA reduced inflammation in eye cells but preserved the blood-retinal barrier (R).

Also, PEA reduced inflammation in rats’ eyes and reduced damage (R).

5) PEA Helps Gut Function

Adelmidrol, a PEA equivalent, is anti-inflammatory and can help manage inflammatory bowel disease (R).

In rats, PEA lowered blood pressure and helped protected against kidney injury (R).

PEA also normalized intestinal movement in mice with irritable bowel syndrome (R).


  • The magnitude of reduction equals 1.04 points every 2 weeks with a 35% response variance explained by the linear model. The Kaplan-Meier estimator showed a pain score = 3 in 81% of Palmitoylethanolamide-treated patients compared to only 40.9% in control patients by day 60 of treatment (R).
  • CAR-induced paw edema, hyperalgesia and the activation of pro-inflammatory NF-κB pathway were markedly reduced by treatment with adelmidrol (R).
  • 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).

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  • Jim

    I found that one too while looking for ways to make it more powerful, but also read this about luteolin.
    Makes it less appealing for long-term use for me. Liposomal PEA gave me the extra power

  • Debi Smith

    I have been using PEA for CRPS and it has really helped with the pain and stiffness. I switched to a brand that contains luteolin and it is working even better! It has pharmaceutical grade PEA from the Netherlands and luteolin which also reduces pain and inflammation. They seem to work better together. I get it through amazon. It’s called mirica.

  • Debi Smith

    I have been using PEA for CRPS and it has really helped with the pain and stiffness. I switched to Mirica and it is working even better! It has pharmaceutical grade PEA from the Netherlands and luteolin which also reduces pain and inflammation. They seem to work better together.

  • Nate

    Does this compound have something to do with phosphatidylserine? It says that in the image at the top of the page.

  • Jim

    I just have to say that I’ve tried a new version from peaCURE. It’s Liposomal peaCURE and it’s beyond belief. So much more powerful. They explained that it’s because of the ‘liposomal delivery system’ and sent me several links to read about them. If I hadn’t tried before reading the links, I’d think the claims were too good to be true, having experienced the difference previously… WOW

  • Lily

    Hello Susan,

    I very much recognize your situation. Have you tried PeaPlex from

  • Jim

    I’m ordering from peacure. They are from the Netherlands, but they have a distributor in the US. I get my orders within 5 days, usually

  • W

    Hi Barbra, thanks for suggesting the brand you trust. I just looked it up and appears to be an European product. Do you know of any that is accessible and trusted for us in the USA/Canada?

  • Barbara

    I am very satisfied with this brand (ergomax) because they have actual analytical reports posted and their PEA is synthesized in the Netherlands and not in China. I had a few questions about PEA and e-mailed with the optipea folks. Their reply was helpful and fast.

  • Susan Brown

    Can you recommend a reputable brand? Which brand is safe to take?
    Beware of the fake ones from China at Amazon!

  • sjeran

    Very interesting, I found more info

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