Phenylethylamine for A Happier You! (Antidepressant Alternative?)

Article by: David Gracey
phenethylamine pea - mood supplement

Give yourself an instant shot of happiness and pleasure with this absolute banger of a happy pill known as phenylethylamine!

It’s perfect for anyone seeking a safer alternative to dangerous prescription drugs to balance their mood.

Have you found yourself moping around and feeling down in the dumps lately?

Life never stops throwing challenges at you, does it?

They can be personal challenges, challenges at work, or just global issues that you can’t seem to get out of your head.

Under the mounting pressure of overworking, stress, and dissatisfaction, one can feel emotionally overwhelmed.

With the ongoing pandemic, all of us are dealing with a lot. Exhaustion and trauma can take a toll on you.

We’ve all been there, and let’s face it, it’s a terrible place to be.

Do you feel like you could really benefit from a quick pick-me-up right now?

You’re in luck!

There’s a little-known supplement that can balance your mood in no time and with almost zero to no side effects.

It is considered a natural and safe alternative to antidepressants such as amphetamine or methylphenidate.

Phenylethylamine is an alkaloid and a monoamine that functions in our body as a neuromodulator.

Our brain converts an amino acid called L-phenylalanine to phenylethylamine through enzymatic decarboxylation.

Phenylethylamine is naturally present in our bodies in trace amounts.

What foods contain phenylethylamine?

foods - buffet


If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll be pleased to learn that most cocoa-rich foods contain generous amounts of phenylethylamine.

Chocolate is one of the most delicious dietary sources of PEA, and now we know why it’s called the ‘happy drug’!

Protein-rich foods.

Foods with a high protein content are also rich in phenylalanine. Protein is the primary ingredient required for synthesizing

PEA in our body. A few examples are listed below;

  • Beans
  • Nuts (almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts)
  • Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans, and kidney beans)
  • Seeds (squash seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds)

Meat, Poultry, and Seafood

Italian salami tops the list of meat that’s high in phenylalanine.

Beef also contains significant quantities of phenylalanine.

Poultry, including chicken, duck, turkey, and goose, are high in this amino acid.

Seafood rich in phenylalanine consists of mackerel, salmon, tuna, trout, lobster, and shrimp.

Dairy foods

Eggs, cheese, yogurt, and milk are all rich sources of phenylalanine. Egg whites have this essential amino acid abundant in their structure.

Whole grains

Examples of whole grains include oat, wheat, barley, rye, and quinoa.

It is noteworthy to mention that any PEA you consume through dietary sources is metabolized so quickly that almost none of it makes it to your brain to bring about any notable effects.

Supplementing with PEA is more beneficial if you’re looking for actual results.

What are the benefits of taking PEA supplements?

Research suggests that supplementing with PEA can help treat the following conditions:

  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Fatigue and lack of motivation

How does phenylethylamine work?

happy mood outdoors

In the treatment of depression:

Phenylethylamine functions to enhance the release of serotonin and dopamine in our bodies.

PEA activates the TAAR1 and TAAR2 receptors. Activation of these receptors has the following effects:

  • It halts the uptakes of serotonin and dopamine
  • It enhances the release of these neurotransmitters

An increase in the concentration of these ‘happy hormones’ has many effects. It boosts motivation, improves mood, and enhances memory and learning skills.

Serotonin helps regulate your mood, memory, and learning abilities, whereas dopamine enables you to experience feelings of happiness and joy.

Together, they work hand in hand to help you beat those occasional blues!

In the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s:

Low dopamine levels are believed to cause Parkinson’s disease. Supplementing with PEA can help individuals suffering from this disorder.

Phenylethylamine functions to increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain and can thus alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s.


In the treatment of ADHD:

PEA supplements enhance dopamine and norepinephrine levels by inhibiting their reuptake and transport.

This mechanism is also employed by the medication used to treat ADHD.

Taking PEA in conjunction with ADHD medication can work in synergy and help combat the symptoms of this disorder.

It has been shown that people suffering from depressive disorders have low levels of PEA and its derivatives in their system.

It has aided in establishing that low levels of PEA are related to depression and other mood disorders.

Individuals who can’t make enough PEA naturally can benefit by taking it as supplements.

Dosage Recommendations

taking pills dosage - pill box

There is not much scientific information available at the moment to determine appropriate doses.

Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting this supplement.

Phenylethylamine supplements are available in the form of powders and capsules. For easier digestion, some PEA supplements contain added HCL.

PEA dosage depends on your health status, body weight, and age.

If you experience any side effects, such as agitation, anxiety, or increased heart rate, it is best to lower the dosage.

It is better to start with a low dose and then gradually work your way up to higher doses to experience noticeable effects.

Taking it at mealtimes is known to cause fewer side effects.

The recommended dosage for PEA as a dietary supplement is 100mg-500mg daily (1/8th teaspoon of powder).

For depression:

It is advisable to take 10-60mg of PEA orally every day for four weeks along with 5mg of the antidepressant selegiline twice a day to treat the symptoms of depression.

What are the side effects of phenylethylamine?

PEA supplements are considered safe when taken in moderation.

Taking this supplement in high doses can cause the same adverse effects as those caused by taking amphetamine.

These include anxiety, agitation, increased heart rate, muscle stiffness, and confusion.

It is dangerous to take PEA supplements for long periods.

Long-term consumption can actually pose a risk for impairment of cognitive function.

Are there any precautions I should be taking while consuming phenylethylamine supplements?

Pregnancy and breast-feeding:

Due to the insufficient amount of reliable information available on the safety of this supplement for use by pregnant and lactating women, they should steer clear of PEA usage.

Bipolar disorder:

Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder should refrain from taking this supplement as it can aggravate their symptoms and often lead to mania (manic episodes).


If you’re scheduled to undergo surgery, you should discontinue the use of this supplement two weeks before surgery. PEA affects the central nervous system and can interfere with surgery.


If you’re suffering from a disorder like PKU that causes an excess build-up of the amino acid phenylalanine, you should avoid taking this supplement.

Are there any drug interactions of phenylethylamine?


Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs).

Certain drugs intended to treat depression, such as the MAOIs (that include phenelzine, tranylcypromine, etc.), increase serotonin levels in our brains.

PEA supplements also work to increase serotonin levels. Supplementing with PEA while also taking this medication might cause a dangerous increase in serotonin.

It can lead to severe side effects such as anxiety, confusion, heartache, shivering, and heart problems.

Serotonergic drugs.

These drugs include fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, amitriptyline, imipramine, clomipramine, zolmitriptan, sumatriptan, methadone, rizatriptan, and tramadol, among many others.

Since these medications work in the same way as phenylethylamine, that is, to increase serotonin levels in the brain, taking them alongside PEA can lead to too much serotonin.

The FAQ Section

What are the benefits of taking PEA supplements?

PEA supplements provide the following benefits:

  • Improved mood
  • Sharpened ability to focus
  • Used to treat depression
  • Used to treat ADHD

What supplements can you stack with phenylethylamine?

Here are some top picks that you can stack with PEA to extract the most out of it:

  • Improves mood
  • Speeds up body metabolism
  • Improves cognitive abilities
  • Improves alertness
  • May increase thyroid hormones

How long does it take for PEA to kick in?

According to customer reviews, most people experience a peak in energy levels within 15 minutes. Sustained energy levels last from anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

What should I never take with PEA supplements?

Combining the following medications with phenylethylamine could be potentially dangerous for you:

  • Serotonergic drugs
  • Monoamine Oxidase drugs

The Bottom Line

If you’re someone who’s struggling with fatigue, brain fog, lack of motivation, or just feeling low in general, phenylethylamine could be a life-changer for you!

Before you turn to antidepressant medications like amphetamine to give you a little lift, be aware of their many side effects.

Since PEA works similar to many antidepressant drugs, but without the side effects, be wise and choose the safer option!

But as always, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements, even if they are generally considered safe.

About David:

Hey! I’m so glad you’re here. My name is David Gracey. I am a cognitive brain function researcher, avid biohacker, and self-proclaimed nootropic junkie of sorts! (And, yes, a bit of a nerd as well...) I created this website as an outlet to share my passion for self improvement and cognitive brain enhancement. Got questions? Shoot me a message!










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