A natural substance commonly taken to ease chronic pain is now being shown to help strengthen aging muscles.
Researchers have also found that this compound can help the body defend against certain viruses, including COVID-19.
This natural anti-inflammatory isn’t fish oil or turmeric; it’s a hard to pronounce compound called palmitoylethanolamide (PEA). Like fish oil, PEA is a fatty acid that reduces inflammation.
Helps Numerous Painful Conditions
PEA’s capacity for protecting neurons from painful inflammation offers promise in the treatment of a whole host of health issues linked to neuron damage and pain. For example, PEA might help ease some of the movement problems caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Research on laboratory animals in Spain found that PEA can reduce “motor disability” caused by multiple sclerosis inflicting nerve damage throughout the body.1
PEA has also been found to reduce the pain of migraine headaches. A European study reported that when people who suffer periodic migraines take PEA, it reduces their head pain by about a third, according to the pain-ratings recorded by the subjects in the research.2
PEA is also effective at lowering pelvic pain caused by endometriosis. In research performed in Greece and Italy, three months of taking PEA reduced pain and discomfort in women between the ages of 18 and 48 with endometriosis, while improving their quality of life and psychological well-being.3
But while these health benefits might not affect you, there’s another one that’s critical for anyone over the age of 50.
Strengthens Muscles that Weaken with Age
In addition to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, PEA can help older people keep more muscle tissue as they age and avoid the frailty that comes from muscle weakness that often shortens people’s lives.
An investigation performed in Italy demonstrates that PEA shows promise in helping offset sarcopenia – the technical name for the loss of muscle tissue as we get older. These Italian scientists point out that PEA’s knack for preserving muscle tissue is linked to its ability to lower inflammation. It restricts the actions of immune cells that would otherwise interfere with protein synthesis in muscle cells.4
This is great news when you consider studies that show after middle age the average adult loses three percent of muscle mass and strength every year.
Then, there’s PEA’s antiviral qualities…
In one of the latest studies on PEA, researchers in Australia, India and Italy worked together to examine how this natural compound can support the body in resisting RNA viruses such as influenza, hepatitis C, Ebola, and COVID-19.
As these researchers explain, because PEA is a fatty substance it can bind to the virus and interfere with the way the virus tries to get inside the body’s cells. Added to that, PEA stops the virus from absorbing the parts of human cells that the virus uses to fuel its growth. And then, PEA facilitates the cellular defenses that can kill off the virus.5
What’s more, the research shows that when you combine PEA with luteolin, you can help restore the sense of smell lost to COVID-19. The research performed in Italy found that by taking a combination of PEA with luteolin and engaging in what’s called olfactory training, people who lost their sense of smell to COVID can restore their ability to detect odors.6
PEA is proving to be one of those all-around helpful natural substances that the body uses in many different, impressive ways to combat the problems of aging – even sleeplessness! A study in Australia, for instance, shows taking PEA can help you sleep better.7
If you decide to try PEA, there are numerous PEA supplements available. You can also eat more foods that have the highest levels of PEA including soy, peanuts, coffee, walnuts, and black peas.