Pain Management has long been an issue that researchers want to help address. When it comes to pain, there are many kinds of physical pain. Different age groups, genders, and occupations have their own pain troubles. For example, menstrual pain in women, joint pain in the elderly, muscle pain in athletes, etc. Can ingredients help people relieve all kinds of pain in their bodies?
A recent study by Austrian researchers was published in a special issue of the journal Nutrition, titled “Frontiers in Diet and Chronic Disease: New Advances in Inflammation and Pain in Fibrotic Diseases.” This study shows that Palmitoylethanolamide reduces pain sensitivity and increases pain modulation in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
The researchers said the study used an established pain model in healthy volunteers to investigate the mode of action of PEA. Provides a deeper understanding of the relevant mechanisms, which is crucial for differentiating treatments and establishing mechanism-based approaches.
This study used PEA as an alternative to commonly used analgesics (e.g., NSAIDs and opioids).
What is PEA?
The full name of PEA is palmitoylethanolamide. Originally isolated in soy, egg yolk, and peanut flour, it is naturally produced as a cannabinoid-like compound in the body and is used to handle injury and stress.
According to the researchers, the broad-spectrum analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects make PEA an interesting substance in pain management. A recent analysis of studies using PEA to treat neuropathic or chronic pain demonstrates the clinical efficacy of PEA. However, potential analgesic mechanisms have not been studied in humans.
To explore PEA’s mode of action, the researchers distinguished three key mechanisms:
- peripheral sensitization
- Central sensitization
- pain regulation
How Can It Be Demonstrated That PEA Has Analgesic Properties?
The trial was conducted in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover format. For four weeks, 14 healthy volunteers received either 400 mg of PEA or a placebo three times a day. Following the 28-day test period, the researchers measured the effects on conditioned pain modulation, pain pressure thresholds, and cold pain tolerance based on initial baseline measurements. A validated “repeated phasic heat application” pain model is used to induce short-term peripheral and central sensitization. And this model is also used to study analgesic and antihyperalgesic effects. After an 8-week washout period, new baseline measurements were taken before participants crossed 28 days of other study interventions.
Healthy volunteers in the PEA group showed significantly lower mean distances for repetitive thermal pain, clockwork rates, and allodynia (which can be understood as pain caused by normally painless stimuli). Cold pain tolerance was significantly prolonged. Pressure pain and thermal pain increase pain tolerance.
The above can be summarized as the current study can show that PEA has clinically relevant analgesic properties, acting on peripheral and central mechanisms and pain modulation.
Next PEA-Related Research Plan
This study recommends further trials to explore how the efficacy of PEA differs in different settings. For example,
- populations with reduced conditioned pain modulation
- people with depression
- fibromyalgia, etc., with the development of central sensitization
The Austrian researchers also said the study data also showed the effectiveness of PEA as a preventive analgesic treatment. This effectiveness may be further explored in future trials, such as in managing and preventing persistent postoperative pain.
What Other Supplements Are Available For Pain Management?
- It may reduce breast pain experienced by women during their menstrual cycle.
The research by Dr. David Ingram, director of the Breast Centre at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia, and colleagues was published in the online journal Breast. The team suspects that the phytoestrogens in red clover counteract the breast pain observed during hormonal fluctuations in the menstrual cycle. Phytoestrogens, including isoflavones, are compounds found in plants. They exhibit mild estrogen-like and estrogen-opposite effects, depending on whether the current hormonal status is high or low. They are rich in soybeans and other legumes. Some isoflavones found in red clover are not present in soybeans. Numerous studies have shown that isoflavones can affect the metabolism and activity of estrogen in women, suggesting that they can alter their effects on breast tissue.
The study was conducted on 18 women over five months. In this study, because breast pain varies widely among women, women with recurrent breast pain first entered a 2-month placebo “run-in” phase, which Women who get significant pain relief. Those women whose breast pain did not decrease by more than 30 percent after taking the placebo were assigned to a double-blind phase of receiving either a 40 or 80 mg daily red clover isoflavone supplement or a placebo. The study found that women who received red clover extract reported significantly less pain.
Jerry Cott, Ph.D., is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the PsychoFarmacology Advisory Service and the Relay Education Coalition for Dietetics. He commented: “Future research on isoflavones found in soy and other legumes is needed to explore how these compounds may play a role in improving women’s health in many different possibilities.”
- Pycnogenol has the potential for pain management/relief.
According to research published in Immunopharmacology International, it can be concluded that Pycnogenol, extracted from French maritime pine bark, inhibits the production of the pro-inflammatory COX-5 and 5-LOX enzymes.
Dr. Canali and her colleagues recruited six healthy volunteers between the ages of 35-50 who consumed 150 mg of Pycnogenol daily. Before and after the five days of supplementation, blood samples were taken, and certain gene expression in white blood cells was measured. The main mediators of inflammation studied are COX and LOX enzymes. The researchers noted that pine bark extract blocked the pathways of COX-2 and 5-LOX. By blocking these two pathways, the formation of prostaglandins and leukotrienes is inhibited. According to Horphag, Pycnogenol is not a specific inhibitor of COX-2 but a blocker of the enzyme that produces COX-2 only during inflammation.
Therefore, the mechanism of action of pine bark extract differs from that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as NSAIDs, which are a less validated drug alternative.
This result explains positive previously observed results linking pine bark extract to benefits in various conditions, including asthma and osteoarthritis.
Chronic inflammation is caused by overexpression or lack of control of normal protective mechanisms. It is associated with a range of diseases, such as:
- heart disease
- Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s
- type 2 diabetes
- arthritis, etc.
Taken together, Pycnogenol can reduce pain and inflammation by shutting down the production of specific enzymes involved in inflammation. The study may ultimately support the claims of supplement manufacturers, especially in the joint health market – that combining ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate with Pycnogenol to reduce validation is ideal.
- It may help manage three major pain problems in combination with good sleep liking.
A new review of existing research on the relationship between vitamin D levels, sleep and pain management reports that vitamin D levels combined with quality sleep can help manage pain-related conditions, including chronic pain, menstrual cramps, and arthritis.
The research review by Dr. Monica Levy Andersen of the Federal University of São Paulo and colleagues was the first to bring together previous research. These previous studies have addressed the role of vitamin D in pain-related disorders or sleep disorders, finding that vitamin D supplementation in combination with good sleep quality can improve the effectiveness of pain management treatments for various conditions. It is hypothesized that appropriate vitamin D supplementation, combined with sleep hygiene, could optimize the therapeutic management of pain-related conditions, such as fibromyalgia, Andersen said. It is necessary to understand the possible mechanisms involved in the relationship between vitamin D and sleep. It includes immune and neurobiological pathways related to the interrelationship between three things:
- vitamin D
- and pain
The team noted that the role of vitamin D in bone mineral metabolism had attracted a lot of attention and research focus. However, several studies have also suggested that the sunlight vitamin may have a role in different biological mechanisms, including pain (nociceptive sensitivity) and sleep (wake cycle regulation).
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate
- It can relieve moderate to severe osteoarthritis pain.
Glucosamine is extracted from crab, lobster, and shrimp shells. Chondroitin sulfate is extracted from animal cartilage, as you can extract from shark cartilage. These two are the most commonly used supplements for osteoarthritis. The glucosamine/chondroitin arthritis intervention Trial, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, studied the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements in 1,538 patients with osteoarthritis. Sixty-four percent are women. People participating in the trial were randomly assigned to one of five test groups:
- Placebo (Control Group)
- Glucosamine only (1500 mg per day)
- Chondroitin sulfate only (1200 mg per day)
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Together
- Celecoxib, a common prescription drug (200 mg per day)
After the six-week intervention, the researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine analysis of the primary outcome measure showed that response rates to glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, either alone or in combination, were not significantly higher than the response rate to placebo.
However, when glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate were combined, the effect was greater in the moderate to severe pain layer. In the study trial, only 348 participants in the moderate-to-severe category experienced a 25 percent reduction in pain on the Osteoarthritis Index compared to the placebo.
But here is one thing that you need to worth noting the study was conducted under drug rather than dietary supplement regulations, suggesting that similar formulations may not be readily available to the public. If you have some ideas, you need to know more about policies and regulations before taking action.
About Ingredients and Pain Management
Many other ingredients are also effective for pain management. After reading this article, if you or your company have an idea to research pain management supplements, you can visit Nutri Avenue’s official website to find the ingredients you need.
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