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How Does PEA Influence Mood?


Low Mood and Quality of Life

We all experience the blues on occasion. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 17.3 million American adults experienced at least one episode of notable sadness as of 2017.1 By the year 2030, it is predicted to be the biggest cause of disability.2,3 Feelings of sadness can have a substantial impact on the quality of life and are something most people are familiar with. However, you may not be familiar with PEA—a naturally-occurring substance in your body that has an important role in mood.

What is PEA?

“PEA” stands for phenylethylamine. It is a hormone-like substance that is naturally produced in the brain and body. PEA has stimulating effects. It can improve mood, increase attention and energy, and promote a feeling of well-being.3 PEA is made from the amino acid l-phenylalanine, which is naturally found in food.4 Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are other brain chemicals that relate to mood. PEA can partially control and influence these neurotransmitters.3,4 However, PEA has its own impact on mood as well.

How Does PEA Influence Mood? 1

PEA and Its Role in Mood

Studies show that patients who suffer from bouts of sadness have lower levels of PEA (and substances that are produced from the break-down of PEA) in their blood and other bodily fluids.2,3,5 This observation led some researchers to believe that low PEA in the brain and body can lead to low mood.4 Supporting PEA levels may help boost people’s spirits.

PEA and It’s Uplifting Benefits

One study found that giving PEA (as well as a low dose of a medication that prevents its break-down), rapidly enhanced the mood in 68% of the patients studied.6 Another study also found that around 60% of individuals with low mood reported mood improvements when they took PEA.6 Evidence shows that giving patients phenylalanine (the amino acid that is later transformed into PEA) can also help improve mood.4 PEA may even be the reason why working out makes us feel happier!

PEA: The Secret Behind Why Exercise Bolsters Mood

Scientists and doctors agree that exercise has a positive effect on mood. In fact, it is often suggested for patients with mood issues.5 One study measured PEA by-products (as a measure of overall PEA concentrations) in the urine of patients before and after exercise. The researchers found that after high-intensity aerobic exercise, patients had significantly increased PEA by-products in their urine.5 We know PEA has mood-boosting effects and it is increased after exercise. Therefore, PEA release during exercise could be the reason why exercise makes us feel so good!5

Measuring PEA Could Help to Find Targeted Therapies to Improve Your Mood and Quality of Life!

Find out more about measuring PEA.
Find a provider in your area who works with Sanesco.
Become a provider if you are a healthcare provider who is ready to help your patients find HPA balance.


  1. National Institute of Mental Health. (2019, February). Major Depression. Retrieved June 21, 2019, from
  2. Kaur N & Kumari B. World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2016;5(4):743-750.
  3. Irsfeld, M., Spadafore, M., & Prüß, B. M. β-phenylethylamine, a small molecule with a large impact. WebmedCentral, 4(9), 4409.
  4. Sabelli, H. (2002). Phenylethylamine deficit and replacement in depressive illness IN D Mischoulon & JF Rosenbaum (Eds.), Natural Medications for Psychiatric Disorders (pp. 83-99). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  5. Szabo A, Billett E, & Turner J. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2001;35:342–343.
  6. Sabelli H, Fink P, Fawcett J, et. al. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 1996;8(2): 168-171. doi:10.1176/jnp.8.2.168

Clinical Contributor

Marina Braine

Clinical Support Specialist at Sanesco International, Inc.

Marina Braine is a Clinical Support Specialist at Sanesco. She graduated from UNC-Asheville with her Bachelors of Science in Biology with a minor in French. She likes to keep active by hiking, running, and contra dancing around Asheville.

Ramona Richard, MS, NC

Ramona Richard, MS, NC

Ramona Richard graduated with honors from the University of California with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Health and Nutrition Education. She also holds a Standard Designated Teaching Credential from the State of California, is a California state-certified Nutrition Consultant and a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Ramona has participated in nutrition education in both public and private venues, including high school and college presentations, radio and public speaking for the past 20 years. She is the owner of Radiance, a nutrition consulting company, the Director of Education for Sanesco International, and a medical technical writer.

Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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