Phenylethylamine for Weight Loss

Fact Checked

iJupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity happens when a person has a body mass index of 30 or greater. Obesity causes a greater likelihood of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. A dramatic increase in obesity has been recorded in the U.S. in the last 20 years. One chosen approach to weight loss is the use of diet pills, most of which contain the compound known as phenylethylamine.


Over the past 70 years, Americans have turned to a variety of remedies in an attempt to lose excess weight. In the 1970s, the trend moved to miracle diet pills. Some claimed to inhibit the body's ability to absorb carbohydrates, while most simply served as appetite suppressants. One such appetite suppressant was marketed under the name brand Dexatrim, and contained phenylypropanolamine. It was removed from the market in 2000, and phenylpropanolamine was banned by the FDA in 2002. Today's diet pills usually contain Phenylethylamine, or PEA.

What Is Phenylethylamine?

Phenylethylamine, also known as PEA, is both the name of a stand alone product and an ingredient in many weight loss supplements. PEA is a stimulatory transmitter, that improves the mood of the user and increases alertness. It is derived from the amino acid phenylalanine. The supplement company PrimaForce markets Phenylethylamine as a dietary supplement that aids in concentration and focus and enhances mood.


A study published in the "Journal of Neuropsychiatry Clinical Neuroscience" in 1996 showed that phenylethylamine is effective in treating depression. The tolerance developed from amphetamine use, which leads to a need for increasing dosage, doesn't occur with phenylehtylamine. By stimulating the release of dopamine, PEA reduces appetite while improving mood.

Drawbacks and Dangers

Phenylethylamine's value as a weight loss supplement has not be substantiated by recorded studies. While the chemical occurs naturally in chocolate, it is also the brain altering ingredient in LSD and morphine. Excessive amounts of phenylethylamine could lead to psychoactive effects, such as hallucinations. In extreme cases, PEA can be lethal.


Phenylethylamine is available in bulk powder form from Pure Bulk. They offer 100 gram bags for around $9 up to 1,000 or more kilogram bags that require direct company contact for a quote.