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A nutraceutical solution to the opioid crisis?

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A nutraceutical solution to the opioid crisis?

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With OptiPEA (Palmitoylethanolamide), Innexus Nutraceuticals offers companies the opportunity to benefit from the current world wide interest for the endocannabinoid system, the rising demand for a safe solution for chronic pain and the consumer trend toward branded, transparent and sustainable ingredients.

Pain relief in crisis

Chronic pain management presents a complex challenge for health professionals. It has a huge impact on the lives of hundreds millions of individuals worldwide. Relying on the safety and effectiveness of opioids does not help. In fact it has led to an opioid addiction epidemic with a myriad of negative individual and social ramifications (1,2).

Confidence in the safety and effectiveness of long-term opioid use has been drastically decreasing and the demand for nutraceutical solutions for pain relief has been increasing accordingly. Interest in alternative methods of pain relief, including pain reduction through the cannabinoid system, has seen a correspondingly increase.

However, many companies are reluctant to include CBD and hemp-based solutions in their products as they do not meet the criteria set in quality, regulatory and research and development departments.

Now there is an opportunity to innovate and extend in this product category with palmitoylethanolamide (PEA). To some, PEA as a cannabimimetic can even be considered a better alternative to hemp cannabinoid products. For instance it is easier to dose, it is less complex and has a longer track record (3). PEA offers a proven solution that is immediately available for the market.


PEA pioneers

Sixty five years ago the American physician Alvin Coburn discovered PEA when he was studying whole egg yolk and certain fractions of egg yolk as supplements to the normal diet.(4) During the 1990s, Italian Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini provided the impulse for PEA’s clinical revival by unraveling some of PEA’s key mechanisms of action. Soon after PEA became commercially available again as a mainstay product by the Italian company Epitech. Three years ago Innexus Nutraceuticals was the first company to launch a branded PEA bulk material as OptiPEA; completing the maturation of PEA as a nutraceutical ingredient by setting the standard and opening new markets.

Transparency, quality and sustainability

Suppliers as well as consumers are demanding more from product suppliers. Branding, sustainability and transparency are guiding principles for future development and growth. Innexus Nutraceuticals has always embraced these principles, apart from its core focus on quality. With a patented all-European production process, a GMP-certified (Good Manufacturing Practice) production environment and RSPO-certification (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), they demonstrate a clear vision in leading the market based on current trends and demands.

Restoring balance: the effects of PEA

In case of chronic pain and inflammation, the body simply cannot make enough PEA, which is when supplementation can help. Under normal circumstances enough PEA can be produced in almost every cell by on-demand synthesis. When out of balance, however, the body may not be able to synthesize adequate levels locally. PEA, a dietary supplement, increases the amount wherever shortages occur.

Besides a natural solution for pain reduction PEA is also used for a spectrum of other complex disorders often associated with unmet therapeutic needs, including autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative disorders and mood disorders (3,5). PEA is a single compound that can synergistically—directly or indirectly—balance multiple disrupted molecular pathways, thus alleviating various complex clinical disorders.

With more than 60 indications for use, PEA can be used as a stand-alone solution, but also as an ingredient for unique and proprietary formulations. Besides regular OptiPEA, Innexus Nutraceuticals also has a water-soluble version available with a clean label profile.

In conclusion

Chronic pain requires worldwide attention and the opioid crisis is escalating. Nutraceutical and clinical applications have been under examination, and various modalities have made their way to the international literature. The 2019 International Conference on Opioids (ICOO '19) at Harvard Medical School Boston illustratively features the following contribution: "Palmitoylethanolamide: A Cannabimimetic Nutraceutical Analgesic Which is Morphine Sparing" (6). With OptiPEA, Innexus Nutraceuticals is offering an ethical, innovative and effective answer to one of the most pressing questions about chronic pain management.



(1) Mark R. Jones, Omar Viswanath, Jacquelin Peck, Alan D. KayeJatinder S. Gill, Thomas T. Simopoulos.  'A Brief History of the Opioid Epidemic and Strategies for Pain Medicine'. Pain and Therapy: June 2018, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 13–21

(2) Mark D Neuman, Brian T Bateman, Hannah Wunsch. 'Inappropriate opioid prescription after surgery'. The Lancet: April 13, 2019, Vol. 393, No. 10180, p1547–1557

(3 )Artukoglu BB, Beyer C, Zuloff-Shani A, Brener E, Bloch MH. 'Efficacy of Palmitoylethanolamide for Pain: A Meta-Analysis'. Pain Physician: 2017 Jul;20(5):353-362.

(4) Ganley OH, Graeseli E, Robinson HJ. Anti-inflammatory activity on compounds obtained from egg yolk, peanut oil, and soybean lecithin. J Lab Clin Med. 1958;57:709–723.

(5) De Gregorio D, Manchia M, Carpiniello B, Valtorta F, Nobile M, Gobbi G, Comai S. 'Role of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) in depression: Translational evidence'. J Affect Disord. 2018 Oct 25. pii: S0165-0327(18)31599-4.

(6) 2019 International Conference on Opioids (ICOO 2019)