It was my hope to find an effective alternative to Cannabidiol (CBD) that wouldn’t land me in jail when I travel; so is PEA the new CBD?
PEA stands for Palmitoylethanolamide. It is a fatty acid that is found in Eggs, Cheese, Meats and Peanuts. We also make PEA during stress, infections, inflammation, trauma, allergies, pain, cardiac disease, kidney disease and obesity. Much like our endocannabinoids, PEA is responsible for maintaining cellular homeostasis.
While PEA does not have a direct effect on Cannabinoid receptor (CB1 and CB2) it does have similar mechanisms of action to our endocannabinoids and cannabidiol (CBD). PEA looks very similar to our body’s own endocannabinoids (AEA and 2-AG). These similarities allow PEA to exert effects similar to our AEA and 2-AG.
PEA down regulates mast cells, which are responsible for the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators. PEA can therefore be a powerful molecule for immune heath, inflammation, pain, neuro-protection and allergies. PEA has direct action on receptors GPCR55 and GPR119, which produce effects similar to activation of CB1 and CB2 by endocannabinoids, THC and CBD. PEA also acts similarly to CBD by affecting the breakdown of endocannabinoids via inhibition of the enzymes FAAH and MAGL.
Several studies have shown that when PEA is used with opioid type drugs for low back pain, the dose of the opioids could be reduced significantly. PEA was found to exert pain relief animal models of inflammation and neuropathic pain. These analgesic effects are thought to be due to increasing endocannabinoid levels similarly to how CBD works. All in all many studies have revealed that PEA exerts similar effects to CBD. So I thought I would give this supplement a whirl, as a alternative to CBD (especially for travel) would be an important option for patients using CBD.
I took the supplement P.E.A. Activate from AOR , which contains 600mg PEA per lozenge. My daily dose was two lozenges per day and I did that for 5 days. I noticed a strange light-headed feeling about 5 minutes after chewing my first lozenge. The feeling lasted for a bout 30min. I was excited that I actually felt a bit different after that fist dose by unfortunately each dose produced a similar effect (a light relaxing feeling) that only lasted between 30-60min. There didn’t seem to be much carry over from one dose to another. The effects were always pretty fast acting but short-lived. Furthermore I had a return of some muscle soreness that was absent for most of the time that I was taking my CBD supplement. So, it seemed like, for me, the PEA was not having the same effect that I had experienced while on CBD.
In summary, the effects that I experienced during my PEA trial were fast acting but short-lived. PEA may therefore be a useful tool for acute episodes of anxiety, pain etc… but it did not have the same accumulative and long term effects that I experienced with CBD. The research on PEA is compelling and it is possible that this supplement warrants a more long-term trial. According to the research PEA seems to be a potential alternative to CBD but from my experience it falls a bit short. Check out my video review of PEA here.
Do you give your kids probiotics?
Every year it seems like the back to school commercials start to pop up earlier and
earlier in the summer months. Although these commercials are aimed at bringing
parents into office supply and clothing stores in prep for their kids returning to
school, as parents we can also use this time to implement nutritional strategies to
help our kids excel during the school year.
Besides the obvious beneficial lifestyle approaches like eating a balanced nutrient
rich diet and daily exercise, there are a few specific recommendations that may help
your kids have the edge when it comes to starting school.
Probiotics are live bacteria cultures that seem to have varying health benefits when
introduced into our gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics are naturally found in many
fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut and kombucha. It is
believed that as a species, fermented foods played a larger role in our diet as we
evolved and our bodies have grown to rely on these bacterial cultures for optimal
health and wellbeing. Our modern “western” diet has been relatively low in these
fermented foods and there have been hypothesis relating many chronic diseases of
the gastrointestinal tract and immune system back to imbalanced gut bacteria.
Subsequently we have witnessed a surge in probiotics being offered in supplemental
form as a way to help restore this balance. It is important that I stress the fact that
probiotics alone are not the complete picture with regard to a healthy
gastrointestinal and immune system but research has suggested that they do play a
Probiotics help boost the immune system – with kids heading back indoors and
spending large amounts of time in classrooms with each other (including daycare),
there is a dramatic increase in germ exposure and potential for kids to fall prey to
illness. In one study, 326 children aged 3-5 years were randomly assigned to
receive, in double-blind fashion, probiotic supplementation. Treatments were given
twice per day in divided doses for 6 months, including the winter season. Compared
with placebo, the probiotic group had the following results; fever reduction 53-73%,
cough reduction 41-62%, decreased runny nose 28-59%, decreased need for
antibiotics 68-82%, reduced absence from school 28-32%.
Probiotics help with allergies – Heading back indoors can trigger many kids who
are especially allergic to dusts and molds. With regard to asthmatic children with
allergic rhinitis, studies have shown the use of probiotics resulted in a significant
reduction in the inflammatory immune chemistry produced by peripheral blood
mononuclear cells. Further studies have shown specific down-regulation of T cells
(immune cells), which beneficially alter the balance of pollen specific antibodies in
seasonal allergic rhinitis. In short – probiotics lower the allergic load and decrease
Probiotics help with mood – Recent research is showing new gut-brain
connections as happy gut ecology seems to make for happier brains. In one
particular study, anxious mice dosed with probiotics showed lower levels of anxiety,
decreased stress hormones, and even increased brain receptors for
neurotransmitters vital in curbing worry, anxiety and fear. With better mood comes
greater ease and ability to learn in school settings and beyond.
Stay tuned for part 2 which will focus on cold/flu prevention and treatment.
Book a consultation with our Naturopathic Doctor Shawn Meirovici for
more information on child-friendly probiotic strains and dosages.
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Leyer, GJ et al. Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence
and duration in children. Pediatrics 2009; 124-179.
Walker, WA. Mechanisms of action of probiotics. Clin Infect Dis. 2008; 46 (Suppl
Yang, G et al. Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis with Probiotics: An alternative
approach. N Am J Med Sci. Aug 2013; 5 (8): 465-68.
Javier, AB, Forsytthe, P & Cryan, J. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates
emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in mice via the vagus
nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. Sep 20, 2011; 108(38): 16050-55.