Articles

S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe)

Introduction

SAMe is an amino acid that is produced in the body from the essential amino acid, methionine. It is important for the proper function of a number of chemical interactions in the body. Researchers think SAMe supplementation can benefit a wide range of conditions.

SAMe does not occur in foods to any appreciable degree.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

200-1,600mg daily.

Most Common Dosage

400mg daily.

Dosage Forms

Tablets, capsules, and intravenous solution.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Depletions

Reported Uses

SAMe is involved in many interactions in the body. It contributes to the production of DNA, proteins neurotransmitters, and an important antioxidant, glutathione. What’s more, SAMe is important for liver detoxification and health of cellular membranes. It also supports the health of nerve structures in the brain.

In addition to these general functions, SAMe has a number of targeted clinical applications. Alzheimer’s patients have been found to have low SAMe levels and scientists think supplementation may improve cognitive function and reduce depression associated with the disease. (1) , (2)

SAMe has become well known as a safe and effective natural anti-depressant agent. Although it’s been found ineffective for treating manic depression, SAMe’s effectiveness for other types of depression in people of all ages may rival some prescription anti-depressant drugs. (3) Additionally, according to new research, SAMe may support normal sleep patterns and help people with insomnia. (4)

Studies suggest that patients with fibromyalgia may experience improvement in mood and lessening of pain, stiffness and fatigue when taking SAMe. (5) Studies also report that SAMe frequently reduces pain and depression in patients suffering from osteoarthritis. (6) , (7)

The important role SAMe plays in liver health may offer benefit for patients with a variety of liver diseases. (8) , (9) , (10) What’s more, SAMe may be an effective treatment for impairment or blockage of normal bile function in the liver. (11) SAMe may also be effective in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced liver injury. (12)

Patients with severe inflammatory bowel disease had low concentrations of SAMe. (13) Lastly, studies suggest that SAMe may control homocysteine levels in the body, which are a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. (14) , (15)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

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General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Health Conditions

SAMe studies involving people with bipolar mood disorder have caused some of the individuals to have excessive mood swings from depression to mania. If you have a bipolar mood disorder, talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement. (16)

Side Effects

Occasional side effects reported with the use of this dietary supplement include dry mouth, nausea, (17) and restlessness. Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

This supplement should not be used in children unless recommended by your physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Bottiglieri T, et al. Cerebrospinal Fluid S-adenosylmethionine in Depression and Dementia: Effects of Treatment with Parenteral and Oral S-adenosylmethionine. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry.(Eng). Dec1990;53(12):1096-98.
  2. Fontanari D, et al. Effects of S-adenosyl-L-methionine on Cognitive and Vigilance Functions in the Elderly. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp.(USA). 1994;55(6):682-689.
  3. View Abstract: Bressa GM, et al. S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) as Antidepressant: Meta-analysis of Clinical Studies. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 1994;154:7-14.
  4. View Abstract: Sitaram BR, et al. Nyctohemeral Rhythm in the Levels of S-adenosylmethionine in the Rat Pineal Gland and Its Relationship to Melatonin Biosynthesis. J Neurochem. Oct1995;65(4):1887-94.
  5. View Abstract: Jacobsen S, et al. Oral S-adenosylmethionine in Primary Fibromyalgia. Double-blind Clinical Evaluation. Scand J Rheumatol. 1991;20(4):294-302.
  6. View Abstract: Konig B. A Long-term (two years) Clinical Trial with S-adenosylmethionine for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis. Am J Med. Nov1987;83(5A):89-94.
  7. View Abstract: Najm WI, Reinsch S, Hoehler F, Tobis JS, Harvey PW. S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) versus celecoxib for the treatment of osteoarthritis symptoms: a double-blind cross-over trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. Feb2004;5(1):6.
  8. View Abstract: Mato JM, et al. S-adenosylmethionine in Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis: A Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Double-blind, Multicenter Clinical Trial. J Hepatol. Jun1999;30(6):1081-89.
  9. View Abstract: Chawla RK, et al. Biochemistry of Pharmacology of S-adenosyl-L-methionine and Rationale for Its Use in Liver Disease. Drugs. 1990;40(Sup. 3):98-110.
  10. View Abstract: Friedel HA, et al. S-Adenosyl-L-methionine. A review of Its Pharmacological Properties and Therapeutic Potential in Liver Dysfunction and Affective Disorders in Relation to Its Physiological Role in Cell Metabolism. Drugs. 1989;38(3):389-416.
  11. View Abstract: Frezza M, Pozzato G, et al. Reversal of Inrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy in Women after High Dose S-adenosyl-L-methionine Administration. Hepatol. 1984;4(2):274-78.
  12. View Abstract: Santini D, Vincenzi B, Massacesi C, et al. S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) supplementation for treatment of chemotherapy-induced liver injury. Anticancer Res. Nov2003;23(6D):5173-9.
  13. View Abstract: Schmedes A, Nielsen JN, Hey H, Brandslund I. Low S-adenosylmethionine concentrations found in patients with severe inflammatory bowel disease. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2004;42(6):648-53.
  14. View Abstract: Loehrer FM, et al. Low Whole-blood S-adenosylmethionine and Correlation Between 5-methyltetrahydrofolate and Homocysteine in Coronary Artery Disease. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. Jun1996;16(6):727-33.
  15. View Abstract: Becker A, Henry RM, Kostense PJ, et al. Plasma homocysteine and S-adenosylmethionine in erythrocytes as determinants of carotid intima-media thickness: different effects in diabetic and non-diabetic individuals. The Hoorn Study. Atherosclerosis. Aug2003;169(2):323-30.
  16. View Abstract: Carney MW, Chary TK, Bottiglieri T, Reynolds EH. The switch mechanism and the bipolar/unipolar dichotomy. Br J Psychiatry. Jan1989;154:48-51.
  17. View Abstract: Di Rocco A, et al. S-Adenosyl-Methionine improves depression in patients with Parkinson's disease in an open-label clinical trial. Mov Disord. Nov2000;15(6):1225-9.