Is There a Natural Treatment?


Palmitoethanolamide (PEA)

Current treatments for chronic pain all carry significant adverse consequences. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) can cause liver damage, GI bleeding, kidney damage, major cardiovascular events, and stroke1, leading to over 16,000 deaths and more than 100,00 hospitalizations2. In addition there are a number of significant side-effects, including: Gas, Feeling bloated, Heartburn, Stomach pain, Nausea and vomiting, Diarrhea, Constipation, Headache, Drowsiness, Dizziness, and Allergic reactions.

More dangerous yet are narcotic/opioid drugs. The numbers of deaths, hospitalizations, and severe side effects are appalling. In 20213

  • About 17,000 people died from prescribed opioids
  • More than 9,000 died from heroin
  • 71,000 died from synthetic opioids (fentanyl and its derivatives)

Countless millions are addicted to these medications and illicit drugs causing untold morbidity (damage to your health from a disease or condition). According to a study published in 2020 Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)-related costs to the U.S. in 2018 were $786.8 billion to society, $93 billion to taxpayers, and $89.1 billion to the healthcare sector4.

If there were a safe, cost-effective, natural alternative that was research-proven to reduce chronic pain, would you be interested? If so, read on.

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid amide, that is useful in the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain. It is a compound naturally found in the body. It was first used effectively to prevent respiratory infections. Test subjects also reported reductions in pain levels. It may act by affecting pain receptors via an indirect route.

A systematic review of the literature showed 253 relevant articles. Of those, 11 were selected for a Meta-Analysis (Meta-analysis is a research process used to systematically synthesize or merge the findings of single, independent studies, using statistical methods to calculate an overall or ‘absolute’ effect)5. All studies were double-blind, randomized, controlled trials, the gold standard. A total of 774 patients were included for study. 

The primary outcome was to determine if PEA reduced pain. The secondary outcome was to see if quality of life improved and functional impairment was reduced. Included studies focused on different types of pain, including those from: chronic gynecological conditions, neurological diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome. Doses between 300-1200mg/day were used, and study duration ranged from 8-12 weeks. At minimum, 4 weeks of use was considered necessary to achieve pain reduction.

The outcome across all studies was an average pain score reduction of 1.68 points, deemed by the researchers to be significant. Significant functional improvement and quality of life was also found in these studies. They concluded that PEA was favored over either a placebo, or in the case of 2 studies, a NSAID to reduce pain and improve function and quality of life, with negligible side effects.

Douglas L Weed, D.C.

  1. Fine, Quantifying the Impact of NSAID-Associated Adverse Events. AJMC. Nov20, 2013, Vol19
  2. Singh. Gastrointestinal Complications of Prescription and Over-the Counter Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.Am J Ther. 2000 Mar. 7(2)115-21.
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/deaths/opioid-overdose.html#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20drug%20overdose,times%20the%20number%20in%201999.&text=In%202021%2C%2045%20people%20died,overdose%2C%20totaling%20nearly%2017%2C000%20deaths.&text=Prescription%20opioids%20were%20involved%20in,opioid%20overdose%20deaths%20in%202021.
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/eutils/elink.fcgi?dbfrom=pubmed&retmode=ref&cmd=prlinks&id=33183909
  5. Illievich. Palmitoethanolamide in the Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2023,15,1350.

About the Author: Dr. Douglas L. Weed

Dr. Weed practices Functional Nutrition, Chiropractic care, and offers weight loss solutions in Napa, CA at Heun Chiropractic, Inc. He has a doctorate in Chiropractic care and he has received certifications in physical rehabilitation and as a Qualified Medical Examiner. With a post-graduate certification in Functional Medicine, focusing on functional endocrinology, digestive disorders and Peripheral Neuropathy, he is committed to lifelong education and helping patience transform their health.