Study explores whether Gencor’s PEA relieves allergy symptoms

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Imgorthand / Getty Images
© Imgorthand / Getty Images

Related tags palmitoylethanolamide Allergies Gencor

A new study suggests that Gencor Pacific’s Levagen+ Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) ingredient may alleviate symptoms of seasonal allergies as shown by a reduction in histamine and inflammatory markers despite a strong placebo effect.

Writing in the journal Nutrients,​ researchers from the University of Queensland, Brisbane ​noted that standard pharmacological allergy treatments rely on the use of intranasal corticosteroids and oral antihistamines, both of which work to reduce inflammation by preventing histamine release.  

They suggested that PEA—a cannabimimetic compound produced in the human body and widely researched for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity—also inhibits the histamine stimulation that leads to allergy symptoms ranging from nasal congestion to sneezing. 

“Under continued cellular stress, PEA is upregulated and recruited to the inflammatory site in response,” they explained. “This profound protective role suggests that PEA at higher concentrations can be advantageous for treating inflammatory and allergic conditions.”

Gencor Pacific, which funded the study, currently markets Levagen+ as a CBD alternative that is clinically proven to support joint health, sleep, sports performance and recovery, immune health, and discomfort and inflammation.    

Study details

To evaluate the effects on allergies, the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial recruited 108 participants with mild to moderate symptoms and administered either 350 mg of PEA or a maldodextrin placebo a day for two weeks.

Symptom scores were recorded using the reflective total nasal symptom score (rTNSS) in the morning and evening during the test period, and blood was taken at baseline and at week 2.  A total of 101 participants completed the study, but only 36 participants had full sets of blood taken due to COVID-19. 

“In patients with mild to moderate allergies, there was a significant reduction in allergy symptoms, like a blocked nose, suggesting that it helps mitigate symptoms of seasonal allergies,” said R.V. Venkatesh, co-founder and managing director of Gencor. 

He added that findings were consistent with PEA’s published mechanism of action, pointing to a significant decrease in plasma inflammatory markers including histamine, IL-4, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α in the Levagen+ group as compared to placebo.

Christopher Bailey, director of scientific affairs at Gencor, said that Levagen+ likely exerts most of its benefits through the activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-a).  

“In this case, however, the investigators pointed to previous in vitro​ research done by other scientists​ that suggests PEA interacts with the endocannabinoid system to block the release of histamine from mast cells,” he said.

A strong placebo effect

Despite the differences detected at the plasma level, the study acknowledged that the placebo effect may have had a strong influence as there were no significant differences in allergy symptoms scores (rTNSS) between groups throughout the two weeks. 

“The fact that both groups showed improvements in symptom scores suggests that psychological factors, such as participants expectations, may have played a substantial role in symptom relief,” the researchers wrote. “This highlights the importance of using a robust control group to differentiate the effects of a treatment from those of a placebo.”

To resolve some of the study limitations, they called for longer-terms studies to help account for placebo effect and the natural variation in allergy symptoms. 

Source: Nutrients
“The Effect of Levagen+ (Palmitoylethanolamide) Supplementation on Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis—A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial”
Authors: David Briskey et al.

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