Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is an endogenous fatty acid amide, belonging to the class of nuclear factor agonists. PEA has been demonstrated to bind to a receptor in the cell-nucleus (a nuclear receptor) and exerts a great variety of biological functions related to chronic pain and inflammation. The main target is thought to be the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-α).PEA also has affinity to -like G-coupled receptors GPR55 and GPR119. PEA cannot strictly be considered a classic endo because it lacks affinity for the receptors CB1 and CB2. However, the presence of PEA (and other structurally related N-acylethanolamines) has been known to enhance anandamide activity by an "entourage effect".
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Palmitoylethanolamide/PEA has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive, neuroprotective, and anticonvulsant properties.
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