Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a fatty substance produced in the human body and found in animal organs, egg yolk, olive oil, saffron, soy lecithin, peanuts, and other foods. Technically, PEA is known as a "lipid signaling molecule for resolution promotion." This means that PEA can affect central control mechanisms within cells to resolve inflammation and cellular stress. Over 600 scientific investigations have demonstrated its extremely beneficial effects.
PEA has a wide range of potential clinical applications, but its research and popular uses are mainly focused on preventing inflammation and providing analgesic effects in disorders such as back pain, sciatica, and osteoarthritis. Preclinical and human studies have also investigated its effects on depression, enhancing mental function and memory, autism spectrum disorder, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. PEA has many properties comparable to cannabidiol (CBD), but its use has better scientific support, which is its advantage.
The benefits of PEA to health include its effect on immune cells (particularly in the brain) that regulate inflammation. PEA may help reduce the production of inflammatory substances. However, PEA primarily acts on receptors on cells, which control various aspects of cell function. These receptors are called PPARs. PEA and other compounds that help activate PPARs can reduce pain, promote metabolism by burning fat, lower serum triglycerides, increase serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, improve blood sugar control, and help with weight loss.
Since palmitoylethanolamide may help alleviate brain inflammation, can it also work on other brain-related issues? Yes, PEA plays a critical role in the mechanisms involved in chronic pain, mental function, and depression. There is considerable evidence showing that PEA significantly alleviates depression caused by cognitive decline and chronic pain. Both animal models of depression and double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in humans have demonstrated its anti-depressant effect. Research has also shown that PEA helps alleviate stress responses, providing important protective effects against stress and anxiety.