Two months of PEA supplementation relieves chronic pain better than one month: Meta-analysis

The researchers, who pooled data from nine previous studies, found that patients given PEA in this time frame saw their mean pain intensity significantly decrease by 1.36 points on the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) or the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) โ€“ scales that are measures of pain intensity ranging between 0 and 10.

โ€œThese results confirm the clinically relevant and time-dependent pain-relieving effect of micron-size PEA and, therefore, the advantage of extended treatment, especially in patients with incomplete pain management,โ€ write authors Vittorio Schweiger, associate professor at Verona University Hospital, Italy, and colleagues in Nutrientsโ€‹.

PEA potential in chronic painโ€‹

Between one-third and half of the global population suffer from chronic pain, which is classed as recurring or persistent pain for longer than three months, says the study, adding that it is โ€œunrealisticโ€ to provide complete relief for chronic pain, with management typically limited to approaches such as exercise, physical therapy and massage. Painkillers such as opioids can also be used but their benefits can vary, and risk causing side effects, it says.

PEA is an endogenous lipid molecule that is also naturally present in foods such as egg yolks and peanuts. The compound is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can control pain intensity, making it a potential method for tackling chronic pain, Schweiger et al say. However, โ€œthe optimal timing and treatment duration have not been clearly elucidated or explored in detail until now,โ€ they write.

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