Does chocolate make you feel good? Does it reduce pain and improve mood, memory, and energy? Could chocolate provide some nutrients that may be deficient in your diet?

The answer may surprise you.

When given a balance of the right nutrients and when functioning optimally, your body makes important feel-good compounds. One of these is called palmitoylethanolamide or PEA. PEA is a compound we make to reduce inflammation and pain, especially at the site of injury.

PEA is synthesized from palmitic acid, a fat found in some plant and animal foods, such as palm and coconut oils, butter, meat, egg yolk, cheese, and cocoa butter. To reduce pain; improve brain health, eye function, gut health; ease allergies and eczema; and increase relaxation, you may want to increase production of PEA in your body. Conditions of illness that involve low levels of PEA include those with chronic pain (including arthritis), diabetes, depression, and anxiety, and even convulsions. PEA also prevents the breakdown of cartilage and bone, so it may help head off joint replacement. Because PEA is short-lived in your blood, you must be able to make your own when needed.

Applied Kinesiologist Dr. Richard Belli of Sacramento, who I refer to as my brain doctor, has observed that upon ingestion of the needed cofactors for proper conversion of palmitic acid to PEA, symptom relief occurs in two or three days. It is Dr. Belli who provided me with much of the information for this blog. He adds that in many cases, a high quality multi vitamin/multi mineral in combination with high activity B-complex vitamins will assure conversion of palmitic acid to PEA. If PEA synthesis is inhibited for genetic or metabolic reasons, or if you consume sugar and trans fats, a build up of palmitic acid can be damaging to the cardiovascular system. Therefore it makes sense to assure your proper conversion with the correct balance of PEA cofactors.

Since palmitic acid is found in cocoa butter, you could boost PEA by eating a little cocoa butter, but you may want to see if you have what it takes to convert palmitic acid to PEA. In my practice I have been using Dr. Belli’s protocol to muscle test my patients for PEA function and identify what is needed to increase your PEA production. We then identify and provide individually specific cofactors so you can make enough PEA to feel much better. I might even suggest small amounts of high quality cacao.