Supplement, sleep, repeat: Gencor expanding PEA’s uses following new clinical findings

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Gencor is expanding the use of its PEA ingredient trademarked Levagen+ for improving sleep quality. ©Getty Images
Gencor is expanding the use of its PEA ingredient trademarked Levagen+ for improving sleep quality. ©Getty Images

Related tags Gencor sleep supplements sports recovery

Hong Kong-based Gencor is expanding the use of its proprietary palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) ingredient to sleep aid supplements, on top of its existing use in joint health and sports recovery.

In its first study conducting on Levagen+, the name of the company’s proprietary PEA ingredient, it was found that supplementation of the ingredient could reduce sleep onset latency.

This means that a person would be able to fall asleep significantly quicker – by about 19 minutes faster, which was three times faster than the placebo – in eight weeks’ time.

The study involved 103 adults who were randomised to the intervention or placebo group for eight weeks, with the intervention group taking 350mg of Levagen+ daily.

Published in Sleep Science and Practice, ​the trial also showed that the intervention group took 11 minutes lesser than the placebo to feel fully awake on awakening.

Aside from its clinical effectiveness, the company believes that PEA’s other advantage is it being a naturally occurring substance in the body. 

“PEA is the body’s first mechanism for any ache, pain, injury, inflammation, stressor, external infection with bacteria. It also helps to calm a person down and gives a good sleep as seen in scientific literature.  

“Also, as a person grows older, the body’s production of PEA gradually decreases.

“What we are doing is to provide the body with a highly bioavailable PEA so that it does what it does and supplying the body with what it is already naturally producing, instead of supplying the body with external substances,” ​R.V. Venkatesh, CEO of Gencor, told NutraIngredients-Asia.

Prior to this clinical study, the company had mostly conducted human clinical study on PEA use in alleviating joint pain.

In fact, the firm had taken home the Nutrition Research Project of The Year for its study of PEA in reducing joint pain in adults during the recent NutraIngredients-Asia Awards 2021.

Venkatesh added that the clinical results on PEA were timely, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic causing sleep and stress problems.

We decided to conduct the trial way back in 2019, before COVID-19 was known to the world. [The results are] very timely and useful, because during COVID-19, people are stressed and nervous and stress increases inflammation.”

Sleeping problems

Venkatesh pointed out that the common sleep-related problems include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty to wake up refreshed, and the difficulty to stay awake throughout the day.

PEA is said to reduce the time required to fall asleep by acting on the endocannabinoid system and reducing pain sensitivity which in turn promotes faster sleep.

Since its ingredient trademarked Levagen+ was launched in early 2020, sales volume had increased by more than 100 percent.

At the moment, a number of nutraceutical brands have also incorporated the ingredient in their products for improving sleep.

Examples include GNC’s Beyond Raw – Anabolic Sleep tablet, Mind Nutrition’s Levagen+ PEA capsules and Misfits’ Sweet Dreamz sleep capsules. 

Venkatesh added that the ingredient could be made into various formats, including tablets, capsules, shots, powder, RTD mixes, gummies, and effervescent tablet as in the case of Holland and Barrett’s VitaBoost.

More benefits

Aside from joint pain, sports recovery, and sleep aid, the company is exploring PEA’s potential in more areas based on existing data, such as neuropathic pain and menstrual pain.

Other areas include how PEA could address the inflammation of intestines by preserving or protecting the integrity of the microbiome, allergies, and even its potential in muscle growth activity.

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