Recently, there has been a surge in searches for Myocarditis as awareness and prevalence of the disease grows rapidly.
With this surge comes the question, are there any natural substances that can help with myocarditis?
Palmitoylethanolamide, or PEA for short, is one such compound that may be of use. Let’s see why that is.
What is myocarditis?
If we break down the word myocarditis, we get
Myocard = Myocardium. The muscle of the heart
Itis = inflammation
Put them together and we have inflammation of the heart muscle.
Myocarditis is commonly associated with immune dysfunction, whether that be due to infections, autoimmunity or a combination of the 2. These factors (and many more) can lead to the inflammation that can contribute to the development of myocarditis [R].
Myocarditis can be a life threatening condition, so it’s important to know what signs and symptoms to look out for;
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Fluid build up in the legs, ankles and/or feet
You might recognise that the symptoms of Myocarditis are similar to the symptoms of a Heart Attack. Another important point to note is that Myocarditis doesn’t always present with symptoms [R].
What causes Myocarditis?
As stated above, it is usually immune dysregulation that causes Myocarditis to develop.
This can be due to, but not limited to, the following;
- Viruses and other microbes
- Certain medications
- Exposure to certain chemicals or radiation
- Diseases such as Lupus and other autoimmune conditions
PEA for Myocarditis
Thankfully, there are compounds that can be used to protect us and reduce our chances of developing conditions such as Myocarditis. PEA being one of them.
A 2021 study highlights the potential therapeutic benefits of PEA for patients with that virus that everybody is speaking about. This is due to its broad range of actions (immune modulating, anti-inflammatory, stress-reducing and more) and its protective effect against some of the organs affected by it, including the heart [R].
What is PEA?
Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a fatty acid that we produce within our body that interacts with our endo-cannabinoid system, specifically the Cb-1, Cb-2 and GPR55 receptors. Now, this doesn’t mean PEA will get you feeling like you’ve had Cannabis (fortunately or unfortunately, you be the judge). In fact there are many compounds that interact with this system, including PEA, Echinacea and Cacao.
If we produce PEA in our body, why would we need a supplement?
Because sometimes the demand exceeds the supply.
This is true of many other nutrients such as the amino acids taurine and glycine, that we produce within the body, yet can benefit from extra dietary or supplemental intake
How can PEA help with Myocarditis?
PEA regulates the immune system and inflammation
PEA reduces the release of histamine, COX-2 and other inflammatory compounds within the body. One of the main ways it does this is by stabilising mast cells, the cells that produce and release histamine. By doing this, PEA prevents excessive amounts of histamine and other compounds being released into the bloodstream.
This is especially useful due to the fact that Myocarditis is rooted in inflammation.
PEA protects the heart
PEA supplementation has shown protective effects on the heart directly.
Rat studies have shown that PEA protects against cardiac issues from the loss of blood flow due to heart attacks [R].
PEA has also shown benefit in widening blood vessels (vasodilation), which is needed to enhance blood flow around the body. Narrower blood vessels increase the workload on the heart muscle, thus by widening them we can protect the heart via another mechanism [R].
Interestingly, a 2016 study suggests that PEA levels within the human body could be used as a biomarker to determine how likely someone is to develop heart complications, the lower the PEA the more chance of developing heart complications. This suggests that it may have use as a preventative strategy [R].
How to use PEA?
As PEA is fatty acid, it can build up in the system, this is a good thing. Typically a loading dose of 600-1200mg is used daily for the first 2-4 weeks then 300-600mg doses. This is of course generalising, everybody is unique and it may be worth consulting a health practitioner to see what works best for you.
PEA can be taken with or without a meal, whatever works best in your schedule.
Wrapping it up
PEA is but one strategy to protect the body from Myocarditis and other inflammatory/immune based issues. Whilst it has a broad range of effects, it is by no means a cure or a standalone treatment for Myocarditis.
There are many other strategies that can be implemented to improve your body’s defence against this (More to come in a larger article soon).
Have you ever thought to use PEA before?