Should you take PeaPure (PEA or palmitoylethanolamide) to protect your eyes?

Reblogged from Tumblr:

Since we began offering PeaPure in the FitEyes estore yesterday I have spoken to a number of FitEyes members who asked some good questions about it.
I cannot offer medical advice and anything you do that is related to treating glaucoma needs to be discussed with your ophthalmologist / glaucoma specialist. But we can think through the logic of some different scenarios. These situations are not mean to apply to any individual, but can serve as a starting point for discussions with your health care professionals. I hope you find these “thought experiments” helpful:

1. You are taking one or more glaucoma eye drops and your eye pressure is well-managed: If PeaPure allows you to eliminate even one glaucoma eye drop (or even reduce the frequency of one eye drop, say from multiple times per day to once a day; or from daily to every other day), the decision is very simple: try PeaPure! Compared to the risks and side effects of glaucoma eye drops, I can find no indication that PeaPure has anywhere close to that level of risks and side effects. I am sure we will learn more if PeaPure explodes into a mainstream glaucoma treatment, but given that it has been around since 1957 and virtually no side effects have been reported in the literature to date, I would swap PeaPure for a glaucoma medication without a moment’s hesitation! Of course, any change in your glaucoma medication should be discussed with your doctor. I am not attempting to offer anyone medical advice. Remember that I’m not a medical doctor.

2. You are taking one or more glaucoma eye drops and your eye pressure is NOT well-managed: If PeaPure helps you control your intraocular pressure when available glaucoma medications are not enough (or your eyes won’t tolerate the required level of glaucoma drops), my personal opinion is that the risk of poorly managed IOP is greater than the risk of PEA. So I would begin taking PeaPurewithout hesitation in an effort to achieve better IOP management. Of course, again, everything related to your IOP management needs to be coordinated with your ophthalmologist / glaucoma specialist. It will be even better if you are also doing self-tonometry. I would love to coordinate a FitEyes in-house study of PeaPure among our tonometer owners. Let’s discuss this. Remember, I am not telling any one individual that you should take PeaPure to manage your IOP. I am giving scenarios for you to consider and discuss with your health care professionals.

3. You are experiencing glaucoma progression (e.g., loss of visual field) in spite of all current medical treatments available: The 2013 study I summarized yesterday showed that PEA slowed the rate of glaucoma progression. Read yesterday’s post for more details. Based on this, the decision is fairly simple. If what you and your doctor are doing now is not enough to sufficiently slow or halt your glaucoma progression, try PeaPure! I would try it for at least 24 months, as described in the study, and have visual field test at least every six months and follow your glaucoma progression as recommended by your glaucoma specialist. If you are in this situation, you do have a fellowship-trained glaucoma specialist, right? You should!

4. You are not interested in IOP management, you are not having glaucoma progression, but you are seeking a systemic treatment for chronic inflammation: Now we have the most difficult case scenario. This is really the one I had in mind when I wrote yesterday’s summary. In this case, I would ask, have you done everything possible to reduce chronic systemic inflammation through diet, exercise, meditation and superfoods? If not, why not try those options first, before you try PeaPure? Do you know your omega3:6 ratio? Is is approaching 1:1? Are you consuming fresh vegetables and fruits in the recommended (or better, the optimal) amounts each day? Are you meditating each day? Remember, some research indicates that meditation can reduce systemic inflammation.

If you are already doing everything you can in terms of diet, exercise, meditation and superfoods and you now want to make the decision regarding PeaPure, here is the logic as I see it. Compared to diet, exercise, meditation and superfoods, PEA entails more risk. It is not a food. If you can heal with foods and meditation first, do that!

But what risk are we talking about? As far as I can tell, it is about the level of risk from taking a dietary supplement such as coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinol or citicoline or melatonin. Most of us have already decided to take one or more of those supplements or a similar type of non-superfood supplement. Each of those supplements involves some risk. I try to minimize the nutraceuticals I use, but I still take several. There are clear reasons for doing so. For example, read the pages about supplements for glaucoma on and you will see the strong arguments in favor of many nutrients in this category. In an ideal world and if I did not have a condition like glaucoma, I might not take any of these nutraceuticals. I would use only diet, meditation, superfoods and 100% natural approaches.

However, almost all of us have already decided to take dietary supplements that contain ingredients synthesized in a laboratory. The label on the bottle will often call such products 100% natural. If you are taking almost any multi-vitamin on the market or any B-Complex vitamin or almost any of the more commonly sold vitamin supplements then you are already taking chemicals synthesized in a laboratory. I make a big point of trying to educate people about this. I continue to think we should shift to products like HealthForce superfoods and Vibrant Health products as much as possible. If you are doing that already and you are getting good results and you want to focus on a 100% natural approach, and you don’t fall into the other scenarios of our “thought experiment”, then deciding to use PeaPure would be a very difficult decision and one that you should consider carefully.

On the other hand, if you take any commercial vitamin or standardized potency herb (which I consider nutraceuticals) or molecularly distilled fish oil (a pharmaceutical product in my opinion) or melatonin (a hormone) or astaxanthin or lutein or a supplement like alpha lipoic acid, then taking PeaPure seems about the same to me.

For example, compare it to  coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) or ubiquinol. Both are naturally occurring compounds. Both are made in the human body. Both are found in foods we commonly eat. Both are available as dietary supplements in the USA. Both are marketed as 100% natural. But both are synthesized in a laboratory. Both seem to be mostly free of side effects. Both have been around for a while.  Both have legitimate uses as a dietary supplement. Both seem to be relevant to glaucoma care.
If you are comfortable with taking coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) or ubiquinol, the decision seems similar: I do not see how PeaPure is any greater risk or any less natural than a nutraceutical like CoQ10.
5. You have severe pain such as neuropathic pain, sciatic pain, prostate pain, pain after stroke,diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, failed back surgery syndrome, dental pains, neuropathic pain from multiple sclerosis, chronic pelvic pain, postherpetic neuralgia, vaginal pains  or a number of other chronic diseases for which there is good evidence that PEA is effective: I’ll paste an abstract at the very end of this email. Along with it I am pasting a link to a YouTube video. This case scenario is outside the scope of FitEyes, but there is very strong evidence in favor of PEA. Many decisions will very logically go in favor of using PeaPure. I won’t go into further detail, however.

In summary, there are three situations related to glaucoma where the decision in favor of using PeaPureis very, very clear. I neglected to consider those in yesterday’s post. I was mainly focused on scenario #4 above where the decision should be weighed against diet, meditation, superfoods, etc. In scenario #4 there are two different decisions depending on how strongly you feel about the 100% natural approach. I hope the extra information above helps you in your own thought processes.

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