PEA supplements may reduce joint discomfort: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

 © lovelyday12 / Getty Images
© lovelyday12 / Getty Images

Related tags palmitoylethanolamide endocannabinoid Joint health pain management

Two weeks of supplementation with palmitoylethanolamide, an endocannabinoid-like molecule with potent anti-inflammatory properties, may reduce joint discomfort and improving quality of life in adults, says a new study.

Daily supplementation with 350 mg of Gencor’s branded PEA ingredient Levagen+ was associated with reductions in joint pain in the morning and the evening in healthy adults, according to data published in the International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences​.

“The safety profile of PEA has been well researched for over 50 years and evidence suggests that doses up to 1,200 mg/day have no harmful effects,”​ wrote researchers from University of Queensland, RDC Clinical, and the University of Sydney.

“Our study supports these findings demonstrating a good tolerability to PEA with no adverse effects reported from daily supplementation of 350 mg/day for 2 weeks. However, although our study used a lower dose of PEA the findings are consistent to that of other studies that dosed between 600-800 mg/day.

“The primary reason for the lower dose of PEA used in this study compared to previous literature is the addition of the dispersion technology, LipiSperse (sold as Levagen+). Previous research on Levagen+ found that it increases plasma PEA concentrations by 1.75 times that of the standard PEA formulation, allowing PEA to be supplemented at a lower dose for the same absorption.”

The LipiSperse cold water dispersion technology was developed by Gencor’s sister company Pharmako Biotechnologies.


Interest in the endocannabinoid system has grown significantly in recent years. For companies seeking a way to impact the endocannabinoid system beyond CBD and hemp, an option is palmitoylethanolamide (PEA).

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at Expo West 2019​, R.V. Venkatesh, CEO of Gencor, explained that palmitoylethanolamide was first discovered in 1957 as a component in egg yolk, when egg yolk was being researched for its anti-inflammatory properties.

PEA is produced by our body as a first responder to pain, stress, inflammation and is used up locally in all tissues, he said.

Commenting on the new study’s findings, Chase Shryoc, VP of sales and business development for Gencor, said: “We are thrilled with the results of this study that further validates the potent effects of Levagen+ and suggests that PEA may be a safe and beneficial treatment for individuals with joint health related concerns.

“With its anti-inflammatory and analgesic proprieties, along with its ability to influence the endocannabinoid system, Levagen+ PEA can play a critical role in supporting joint function.”

Study details

The randomized, double-blind study included 74 healthy adults aged between 25 and 70. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or 350 mg of Levagen+ per day for two weeks.

Results showed that both groups experienced improvements in VAS (visual analog scale) pain scores compared to baseline values until approximately day 10, which showed a significant placebo effect. However, beyond day 10 the placebo group experienced increasing pain scores while the PEA group continued to report decreases.

The researchers noted that the pattern for VAS score reduction in the PEA group was similar to that reported in an earlier study that used a higher (600 mg) dose of PEA.

The result suggest that “PEA may be a safe and beneficial treatment in joint pain management”,​ they wrote.

“Limitations to the study included a short study duration, and interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further research would benefit from a duration of at least 4 weeks.”

Source: International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Volume 10, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages: 9-13
“The Effect of a Dispersible Palmitoylethanolamide (Levagen+) Compared to a Placebo for Reducing Joint Pain in an Adult Population – A Randomised, Double-Blind Study”
Authors: D. Briskey et al.

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