PEA may boost lower-body power for athletes, support exercise performance

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© skynesher / Getty Images
© skynesher / Getty Images

Related tags palmitoylethanolamide endocannabinoid

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) combined with resistance training may lead to greater improvements in lower body power without interfering with muscle benefits, compared to placebo, says a new study.

Eight weeks of supplementation 350 milligrams per day of Gencor’s PEA ingredient, Levagen+, did not, however, lead to any improvements in upper body strength and power, according to findings published in Sports Medicine - Open

“The practical implications of these novel findings indicate that, unlike NSAIDs and other analgesics that have been shown to inhibit strength training adaptations, moderate doses of Levagen+ PEA do not negatively affect hypertrophy or power adaptations and may improve lower body power in recreationally active individuals,” wrote researchers from Deakin University in Australia.


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 PEA. It 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.

Levagen+, from Gencor Pacific Limited, is a specialized form of PEA formulated using a proprietary delivery system (LipiSperse, Pharmako) that has been shown in previous studies​ to significantly increase PEA bioavailability.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the effects of PEA on the adaptive responses to strength training,” said R.V. Venkatesh, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Gencor. “This is our second study investigating Levagen+ for active nutrition, and it continues to show great promise in this category.”

Study details

For the new study, the Deakin University researchers recruited 52 untrained, recreationally active men and women aged between 18 and 35 to participate in their randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial. The subjects were randomly assigned to received either 350 mg per day of Levagen+ (providing a 300 mg per day dose of PEA) or placebo for eight weeks in combination with a resistance training regimen.

Results showed that PEA did not impact lean mass gains, but it was associated with significant improvements in lower body power, as measured by the countermovement jump height test. Specifically, an increase of 17% was observed in the PEA group, compared to only 5% in the placebo group.

On the other hand, there were slightly greater improvements in upper body strength and power (bench press) for the placebo group (2.7% greater improvement for placebo), but the researchers dismissed this result as “likely not meaningful”.

The researchers concluded: “PEA may fill the gap for athletes and the active population as an alternative method of pain management.”

Source: Sports Medicine - Open
2024, 10​, 66, doi: 10.1186/s40798-024-00732-6
“The Effect of Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy, Strength, and Power in Response to Resistance Training in Healthy Active Adults: A Double-Blind Randomized Control Trial”
Authors: Z. Huschtscha, et al..


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