Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) – An Option for Chronic Pain Relief

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There are few things in this world more debilitating than long term chronic pain, and the search for relief is never-ending for many. One of the newer options available is palmitoylethanolamide, known as PEA.

First discovered in 1957 by a group of researchers in Czechoslovakia, palmitoylethanolamide is a natural pain killer for chronic and neuropathic pain. It is a naturally occurring, protective fatty molecule found in animals, plants, not to mention the human body itself. It is, in fact, still classed as a food substance!

How does it work?

Reviewed in hundreds of studies since first extracted, it has been found to have anti-inflammatory[1], anti-nociceptive,[2] neuroprotective,[3] and anticonvulsant properties.[4]

Technically speaking, palmitoylethanolamide acts by binding to the peroxisome receptor in the nucleus of a cell, and may function as an effective painkiller due to the aspect of endogenous modulation.

As found in many studies, including the ones mentioned above, it was found that chronic pain sufferers had low PEA levels, and that supplementing to increase the body’s level of palmitoylethanolamide may be beneficial in the treatment of both chronic and neuropathic pain.

Who Should Take PEA?

Anyone with a painful or chronic health disorder, even if you are taking medication for these complaints, as it has been shown to enhance the effects of medication. People who react to or find no benefit with anti-neuropathic or anti-convulsant drugs for nerve pain may benefit from PEA.

Here is a list of chronic and neuropathic pain disorders that may be receptive to palmitoylethanolamide supplements.

Chronic Pain

  • Arthrosis and Arthritis
  • MigraineMenstruation
  • Pelvic disorders
  • Prostate disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Chronic unexplained abdominal symptoms
  • Neck pain and whiplash injuries
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pain after tooth extraction
  • Visceral pain syndromes

Neuropathic Pain

  • Hernia
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve entrapment syndromes
  • Shingles
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pains and Spasm after a stroke
  • Chronic Idiopathic axonal neuropathy
  • Diabetes type 1 and 2
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation treatments for cancer
  • Complex regional pain syndrome or Sudeck pains
  • Neuralgic pains

Are there any side effects?

PEA is quite well tolerated and there have been no significant side effects reported.

How to take PEA?

PEA is encapsulated by Mckenzies Chemist into up to 300mg vegetable capsules. Suggested dose is one 300mg capsule in the morning with food and one 300mg capsules in the evening with food and then increasing up to two 300mg capsules twice a day. Once a reduction in pain is experience you can begin to reduce the daily number of capsules back to one twice a day.

Do I need a prescription?

PEA is available without a prescription but we recommend that you see your doctor to ensure that they correctly access your needs and review the available information.

That’s all we have time for today folks, thanks for reading our latest blog on palmitoylethanolamide and how it could work for you. Remember to give us a call on 08 9271 6870 or an email to at [email protected] for all your compounding needs.


[1] – Lo Verme, J.; Fu, J.; Astarita, G.; La Rana, G.; Russo, R.; Calignano, A.; Piomelli, D. (2005). “The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha mediates the anti-inflammatory actions of palmitoylethanolamide”. Molecular Pharmacology. 67 (1): 15–19. PMID 15465922. doi:10.1124/mol.104.006353.

[2] Calignano a, L. R. G. (2001). “Antinociceptive activity of the endogenous fatty acid amide, palmitylethanolamide”. Eur J Pharmacol. 419 (2–3): 191–198. PMID 11426841. doi:10.1016/S0014-2999(01)00988-8.

[3] Koch, M.; Kreutz, S.; Böttger, C.; Benz, A.; Maronde, E.; Ghadban, C.; Korf, H. W.; Dehghani, F. (2010). “Palmitoylethanolamide Protects Dentate Gyrus Granule Cells via Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-Alpha”. Neurotoxicity Research. 19 (2): 330–340. PMID 20221904. doi:10.1007/s12640-010-9166-2.

[4] Lambert DM, Vandevoorde S, Diependaele G, Govaerts SJ, Robert AR (2001). “Anticonvulsant activity of N-palmitoylethanolamide, a putative endocannabinoid, in mice.”. Epilepsia. 42 (3): 321–7. PMID 11442148. doi:10.1046/j.1528-1157.2001.41499.x.